With the clock running down on the provincial election campaign, Ontario PC leader Doug Ford declared he was “floored” by a lawsuit filed by the widow of his brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and flatly denied her claims about him mismanaging the family business.
On June 1, Renata Ford, along with her two kids Stephanie and Douglas, filed a $16.5 million suit, accusing Doug Ford of keeping money from his niece and nephew and being a “negligent” business manager.
The former mayor’s widow accuses the PC leader and his brother Randy of breach of trust, conspiracy, mismanaging the family business, Deco Companies, as well as withholding millions of dollars from her and her children, including shares in the business as well as the proceeds of a $220,000 life insurance policy.
“This is tragic for Stephanie and Dougie,” said Doug Ford in a press conference on Tuesday. “Our family has always stood behind Renata and we never wavered. We’re shocked. That is what it comes down to. We’re floored. With three days before an election, I’ll let you decide the motive.”
Ford repeatedly denied claims Renata had made about the business, saying they were “false and without merit.”
“I can tell you this is going to be proven in court,” he said, calling Deco Companies an “incredible” company.
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He deflected when asked if he would release Deco’s financial records, circling back to Renata and saying the questions about the company would be addressed in court.
Ford called it “heartbreaking” that his sister-in-law had “taken this road,” maintaining that he was floored by the allegations and that they had come out of nowhere, and that he had protected Renata in the “toughest times,” taking care of her both personally and financially.
In a statement on Monday, Ford said throughout the campaign, Renata’s lawyers had threatened to go public with the claims unless they handed over the money.
“I’ll tell you when the lawyers say, ‘Pay up or we’re releasing them, that’s just wrong to put a gun to someone’s head,” Ford said on Tuesday.
Ford was bombarded with questions about the lawsuit after calling a press conference, in which he made no new announcement, but instead spent several minutes explaining how the NDP was floating “radical” candidates.
Cover Image: Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford speaks during an announcement in Toronto on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin)