Photo by Jonathan Goldsbie.
Rob Ford's misadventure in a hotel elevator last week has proved costly for the Economic Club of Canada.
The organization has decided to refund all guests who attended the mayor's lunchtime address at the Toronto Hilton last Thursday, after the event was delayed for over an hour when Ford became stranded in a freight elevator.
The mayor was eventually freed and delivered his speech, but not before some guests had left in frustration.
"I just decided on my own that it was the right thing to do considering that people waited for an hour without any information about what was happening, or food," said ECC President Rhiannon Traill in a phone interview.
Although some observers criticized Ford's campaign-style remarks as misleading and full of distortions about his economic record, Traill stresses that the decision to offer refunds is not a comment on the content of his speech.
"This has nothing to do with the mayor, it has everything to do with the extraordinary circumstance," said Traill, who was also stuck in the elevator with Ford and his entourage.
"Time is of the essence at these events and unfortunately people were waiting. And most were gracious and stayed and ended up still hearing his speech and having lunch. But I still feel as president of the organization I needed to refund these guests because they're busy professionals who don't have time to sit around for hours on end."
According to Traill, between 190 and 200 people attended the event. Tickets cost $89 plus taxes, bringing the full cost of the refund to at least $19,100.
Ford's office did not immediately return a request for comment.