Three days ahead of the provincial election, Ontario PC leader Doug Ford has been slapped with a lawsuit by the wife of his late brother and former mayor Rob Ford, in which she accuses him of keeping money from his children and being a “negligent” business manager.The $16 million lawsuit, launched by Renata Ford, also names Rob Ford’s children Douglas and Stephanie as plaintiffs.In it, 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 them, including shares in the business as well as a life insurance policy.
Ford, who has consistently put forward a picture of himself as a successful business owner, and Randy “negligently and improperly mismanaged” the business and destroyed its value, the lawsuit alleges. None of the allegations, which were made public by the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star, have been proven in court.Renata, pictured below, also claims Doug and his brother have continued to “grossly overcompensate” themselves, despite the business suffering steady losses.Doug Ford has "knowingly and deliberately put (Renata and her two children) in a highly stressful and unfair financial position during their period of grief after Rob Ford’s death, and continued to do so for more than two years after Rob Ford’s death," said the statement of claim.In a statement, Ford called the claims related to the business “completely false” and said he and his brother would “strongly refute them in court.”
“I have also stood by my brother and his family through so many of their challenging times, and will always be there for Stephanie and Dougie,” he said.“Renata’s lawyers have been clear to us throughout this campaign, that either we hand over money, or they would go public with these false claims, and that is exactly what they have done, with three days to go until the election,” the statement continued.Doug and Rob Ford’s mother Diane said in a statement that it was “heartbreaking that Renata has chosen to bring forward these false and baseless allegations against our family, right in the middle of the provincial election campaign.”
Sign up for the VICE News Canada Newsletter to get the best of our content delivered to your inbox daily.“As a family, our one goal is to ensure Rob’s children are cared for and their financial futures are secure,” Diane’s statement continued. “Renata has serious struggles with addiction, and our hope is that she will accept help for the sake of herself and my grandchildren.”Rob Ford died in 2016 from cancer, after a scandal-plagued reign as mayor of Toronto in which he admitted to smoking crack cocaine.In her lawsuit, Renata alleges that Doug Ford approached her after Rob’s death and asked that they settle estate affairs without lawyers.“Let’s get rid of the lawyers and settle this on our own,” said Doug Ford, according to Renata. “They will only steal your money. You’re going to lose everything in your savings.”
According the statement of claim, Doug and Randy Ford couldn’t agree on many aspects of running the business, never implemented a business plan, made a series of “ill advised acquisitions,” and their lack of attention resulted in the value of the business being destroyed.“Neither Doug Ford nor Randy Ford have the education and business ability to justify their employment as senior officers of Deco Toronto and Deco Chicago.”Under the brothers, the company saw losses of about $5 million between 2010 and 2017, according to the statement.Renata also claims Doug and Randy hired friends and family to work at the business who weren’t qualified, and that they “negligently mistreated and unreasonably dismissed” who “proposed improvements” to the business.Renata claims Doug and Randy used money from their late father’s estate to prop up the business — $5 million that Rob Ford’s estate has been deprived of, according to the statement of claim — and that Doug “improperly administered Rob’s estate,” withholding a $220,000 insurance policy from Renata and the children, as well as the residual proceeds of his bank account deposits, GICs, RRSPs and TFSAs.Cover image: Ontario PC leader Doug Ford makes a campaign announcement in Toronto on Monday, June 4, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Under the brothers, the company saw losses of about $5 million between 2010 and 2017, according to the statement.