Ward 32 candidate being sued over comments

Bruce Baker faces lawsuit over letter questioning Boardwalk Pub deal

Mayoral candidate Rob Ford isn’t the only person facing a lawsuit from the operator of the now-infamous Boardwalk Pub in Ashbridges Bay.

George Foulidis has also taken aim at Ward 32 council candidate Bruce Baker in an attempt to clear his name regarding the controversial deal involving a sole-source contract with the city.

In a $100,000 lawsuit, Foulidis alleges Baker made “false and defamatory” claims about his expansion plans for the Boardwalk Pub in a May letter distributed to city hall and media.

Foulidis claims Baker damaged his reputation as a businessman when he stated in the letter that Foulidis influenced staff and councillors at city hall in exchange for favours from the city.

In the letter, Baker also requested police conduct an investigation into the process by which Foulidis was able to renew his lease to operate the pub and concession stands in the eastern Beaches until 2028. That deal was approved at city council in the spring.

In the statement of claim, Foulidis contends that as a result of the letter’s distribution, he has received threatening and harassing calls, and confrontations from residents of the Beaches. He also claims it has adversely affected business relationships with municipal and provincial officials. In October, Foulidis filed a $6 million suit against Ford, claiming libel under similar circumstances. In referring to Foulidis’ deal with the city, Ford reportedly suggested people were paid under the table.

At an Oct. 14 interview at the Boardwalk Pub, Foulidis said he had no intention to back down, saying Baker is using the matter as a means of attracting election votes.

“Bruce Baker is not interested in any procurement process, he’s interested in elections. He’s running for office,” he said. “Where (was he) when it was being discussed openly in city hall in 2006?”

Baker denied that he is politically motivated and said his interest started when the issue resurfaced at council in 2009 and he realized the city wasn’t creating the best deal for the taxpayers.

“This is about policy,” he said. “This is about the City of Toronto failing to protect the taxpayer, period. George Foulidis had every right to submit an unsolicited proposal. The City of Toronto had a responsibility to the taxpayer to rescind and to issue a request for proposals.”

But Foulidis says it was too late and had the city rescinded the offer on the table, it would have been at a huge cost to the taxpayers.

As to whether his accusations of libel affecting his business are true, Foulidis pointed out the empty Boardwalk Pub during what he said is a usually busy lunch hour. And while he couldn’t give figures, he compared previous years to this one as an example.

“It’s early to quantify (the losses),” he said. “Last year, we had a terrible summer weather-wise, this year we had a fairly good summer.

“Our sales went down with the better summer.”

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Oct 15 2010 8:49 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto