Rob Ford's office stacked the boards of important city agencies with political allies and contributors to his election campaign.
That's the allegation that several council members made at City Hall Wednesday, where a secret list of the mayor's office preferred appointees was distributed for the first time.
"If this doesn't smack of cronyism, what the hell does?" Councillor Adam Vaughan said in a speech to council.
The now infamous list was first referenced in an ombudsman's report released last month. At the time, Ford's allies denied it existed, but it has since been discovered by a secretary in the city manager's office. Ombudsman Fiona Crean presented it to council Wednesday in a follow-up report.
The list contained the names of 26 residents who applied for positions on the boards of five city agencies in 2011 - the library, police services, parking authority, port authority, and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Witnesses told the ombudsman that the mayor's staff distributed the list at a meeting of the civic appointments committee on July 18, 2011, when selections were made for the five boards. Ford's critics on council say that committee members picked names off the list and appointed them.
Councillors on the committee - including close Ford allies Frances Nunziata, the mayor's brother Doug Ford, and Giorgio Mammoliti - maintain that they never saw the document.
The list has not been made public, but councillors were given copies by the city manager Wednesday. According to Councillor Mike Layton, 24 of its 26 names were shortlisted and selected for interviews.
Thirteen of a possible 18 positions on the boards were given to names on the list, Layton said.
"The fact is, someone from the mayor's office walked into the committee with the list, with the intention of getting those names either shortlisted or on the committees," said the councillor. "And that is troublesome."
Layton also said that different individuals on the list had given a total of $11,000 to Ford's election campaign.
Public records show that several people the committee recommended at the July 18 meeting gave money to Ford in the run-up to the 2010 election.
Andrew Pringle, who was selected for the Toronto Police Services Board, gave $2,500, the maximum allowable amount. Jim Ginou, now on the board of the Port Authority, also gave $2,500. Darius Mosun, who was appointed to the Parking Authority, donated $300 to the mayor. His brother Cyrus Mosun contributed much more, giving $2,500 to Ford's campaign.
Library board appointees Cameron MacKay and Kenneth Stewart gave $250 and $500 respectively.
According to one councillor, at least six of the eight people appointed to the library board last year were on the list from the mayor's office.
A council source confirmed that one of them was Stephen Dulmage, who is no longer on the library board. He stunned his colleagues by suggesting that they close 38 branches and scrap the library's computers before abruptly resigning in May.
According to Councillor Vaughan, one name on the list was that of a former assistant to a member of Ford's executive.
Michael Foderick, vice chair of the library board, previously served as an assistant to Councillor Cesar Palacio, who sits on Ford's executive committee.
After Wednesday's meeting, Mayor Ford said that he had never seen the list until it was distributed at council. He told reporters he only recognized three of the names: Pringle, Mosun, and a third he couldn't immediately recall.
The mayor said allegations that his office interfered with the appointments process were baseless attacks concocted by his political opponents.
"It's ridiculous. It's all politics from the left wing, it's not even worth the time of day," he said.
In her initial report, Crean found no evidence that the mayor was directly involved in interfering with the appointments. She never interviewed him because she is only empowered to investigate civil servants, not politicians.
While some of the mayor's allies continue to deny the list was used to guide the appointments process, others acknowledge it played a role but argue Ford's staff did nothing wrong. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said that the mayor's office may have indicated who it wanted on the boards, but that David Miller and Mel Lastman the did same when they were in office.
The only difference this time is that there is physical proof of the mayor's preferred candidates, Minnan-Wong said.
"Clearly in this case they've found the smoking gun, they've found the hanging chad, or whatever you want to call it," said the councillor. "They've found the piece of paper and god bless them for doing that. But the reality is every single mayor, if you look at the makeup of the important committees, they get their people on."
But other council members are adamant that the appointments were compromised and that unqualified people may be running vital city agencies.
"It's clear that the process has been corrupted to my mind, and that it very well may be that we did not get the best talent on these agencies," Councillor Joe Mihevc said.
He said Dulmage's short-lived and bizarre tenure was a "very strong indicator that we did not get the best people on the library board that we could have and should have."
Council voted unanimously Wednesday to accept the ombudsman's follow-up report, which contained no recommendations for action.
But Mihevc said this isn't the last word on the matter, and speculated someone could refer it to the integrity commissioner for further investigation.
"This has legs," he said. "This goes to the very core to what this administration pretended to be about when it took office."