Ford being sued over Tuggs comments

George Foulidis claims that comments made by Rob Ford and Bruce Baker have embarrassed him and his family

The plot thickens.

George Foulidis, proprietor of Tuggs Inc., which was awarded an exclusive contract from the city for the operation of the Boardwalk Pub and the sale of food, alcohol and merchandise throughout Woodbine Beach and Ashbridges Bay Park, has announced he plans to sue city councillor and mayoral candidate Rob Ford for defamation.

“I will not sit idly by while a very public figure makes false allegations against me and accuses me of being a criminal,” Foulidis said. “I am a hard-working businessman and a member of my community. Mr. Ford’s false allegations have damaged my reputation and my business and I am going to fight back.”

Ford is the second person being sued by Foulidis over comments made surrounding the deal. He’s also suing Ward 32 candidate Bruce Baker, who says he never libeled Foulidis and only requested the city investigate the deal. he’s looking forward to meeting in court.

“I’m thrilled that he’s suing, and not many people can say that,” Baker said. “I’m thrilled to have a judge listen to the information and let him decide … That’s all I’m asking for, is transparency.”

That’s part of Baker’s issue — he says the standards set by city council for procurement were not followed in the Tuggs Inc. deal.

“The three key principles of procurement in the city of Toronto are transparency, fairness, and the best value for the taxpayer,” he said. “None of these were applied.”

Opponents have claimed that Foulidis donated thousands of dollars to Ward 32 councillor Sandra Bussin[/url]’s reelection campaigns through intermediaries in an alleged attempt to influence her to support the deal.

In a statement released late Thursday, Bussin said that she has done nothing wrong and that it is not up to her to identify if one of her donors may be linked to someone trying to do business with the city. She also pointed out that she stopped taking part in discussions on the contract after a Feb. 2007 vote by council to continue negotiations with Tuggs.

“I wished to reduce the tension being brought to bear on our community and decided to step back when the sole-source contract came forward,” she wrote in a letter to her constituents. “City council had before it a set of recommendations from the city negotiating team which recommended adoption of the new lease. Council voted to approve the lease.”

However, in a Town Crier editorial board Ford raised concerns about the council discussion leading up to that vote.
“The Tuggs deal stinks to high heaven,” he said on Aug. 24. “I wish I could tell you what happened behind closed doors, but I can’t.”

Foulidis said his family has been embarrassed by the “false and defamatory statements” made by Baker and Ford, and that they have been made predominantly for the purpose of political gain in the upcoming election.

“I have to do everything I can to stop this political opportunism and restore the faith of my community in my business and demonstrate my integrity,” Foulidis said. “And that is what I am going to do.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Sep 16 2010 6:58 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto