Update: Although the Fords have not sued the people listed below, yesterday Police Chief Bill Blair served Councillor Doug Ford with notice of defamation. According to the Globe and Mail, Blair wants Ford to retract his statement that the chief leaked news about plans to subpoena Rob Ford to testify in an upcoming hearing for Sandro Lisi.
The Ford brothers love to sue people. Or at least, they love to talk about suing people.
Their latest target is the Globe and Mail, which recently reported that Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford may have improperly used their influence to lobby city staff on behalf of a client of their label company.
Doug Ford said last month he would sue the paper, and reiterated Monday that he is 100 per cent serious about taking the Globe to court. Given the Fords' track record on this kind of thing, however, one imagines the paper hasn't exactly put its lawyers on red alert.
Over the past four years, the Fords have vowed to take legal action against a lot of people. Would-be defendants range from the media, to fellow council members, to the city itself, and even the creators of anti-Ford Twitter parody accounts. Somehow, the Ford brothers never get around to taking these people to court.
Here is a (probably incomplete) list of everyone and everything the Fords have threatened to sue, said they would like to sue, or publicly mused about having the pleasure of suing. None of them were ever sued.
The Globe and Mail and former Deco workers
Last month, the Globe reported that the Fords arranged meetings between city staff and RR Donnelley and Sons, a client of the Ford label company, Deco Labels and Tags. The meetings could have led to a potentially lucrative city contract for RR Donnelley and the Fords' actions may have broken council's code of conduct.
On July 28 Doug promised to take legal action "this week" against the Globe and its sources, former Deco employees whom the councillor accused of "stealing information, confidential information off Deco's database." On Monday, Doug told the Sun's Don Peat that "lawyers have been in touch with the Globe."
In late March, Doug took aim at people who impersonate him on Twitter. "I feel people are cowards that hide behind Twitter (and) falsify myself," Ford said, according to the Toronto Sun. "I would sue ‘em if I found out who it was." The Fords are no stranger to fake Twitter accounts, of course: in 2010, the mayor's campaign team created a fake Twitter user named Queens Quay Karen in order to obtain a recording of Rob promising to help a man score OxyContin.
Doug casually threatened to sue American gossip outlet TMZ in March after the site posted a story claiming the mayor "[threw] down big money to party with hot chicks" at a $2,500 Hollywood cabana on the night of the Academy Awards. "If I wasn't too busy sitting here with you, I'd be suing their ass off right now," Doug told the mayor during a March 14 episode of the Ford Nation YouTube show.
The City of Toronto and city council
As council stripped the mayor of his powers over the course of three special council meetings in November, Rob and Doug vowed to take both councillors and the city to court for executing what the mayor described as a "coup d'état" against him. Oddly, the mayor lamented the fact that "taxpayers are going to have to pay a fortune" for a lawsuit he himself was threatening to initiate.
Although he never did take formal legal action, it does appear that he seriously considered his options; he hired renowned municipal lawyer George Rust-D'Eye days before the fateful council meetings.
Three former staffers and a Bier Markt employee
On November 14, 2013, Mayor Ford told reporters that "litigation is starting shortly" against three of his former employees and a restaurant worker, all of whom cooperated with a police investigation into his office. Court documents released the day before revealed that former Ford aides Isaac Ransom, George Christopolous and Mark Towhey had recounted the mayor's intoxicated behaviour to the police, while Bier Markt employee Leonardo Navarro told officers he thought he saw Rob do drugs at the bar on St. Patrick's Day 2012.
Police interviews are protected by privilege and any attempt to sue the four men would likely have been unsuccessful.
The Globe and Mail, again
On May 25, 2013, the Globe published a long-awaited investigation alleging that Doug was a high-volume hash dealer in the 1980s. Councillor Ford denied the allegations and said he wanted to sue the paper, but claimed he couldn't match the financial resources of the Globe's owners. According to then-editor-in-chief John Stackhouse, prior to publication Doug also "aggressively threatened legal action" when approached about the story by a senior Globe editor.
The Toronto Star, sort of
Rob could hardly respond to the March 26, 2013, Star story about him being intoxicated at the Garrison Ball by threatening to sue the paper for printing something untrue, because the story was completely true. Instead, he made a clumsy attempt to libel the Star and dared it to respond by taking him to court. "It's just lies after lies and lies, and I've called you pathological liars and you are, so why don't you take me to court?" he taunted.
The Toronto Star, again
In July 2010 the Star published a story alleging that in 2001 Rob got into a physical altercation with one of his players while coaching football at Newtonbrook Secondary School. He threatened to sue the paper for libel and actually went so far as to file a notice of intent, but he appears to have decided to let the matter drop. He still refuses to talk to the Star, however.