Mayor Rob Ford will square off against one of the brightest legal minds in Canada next month.
According to a press release from lawyer Clayton Ruby, the mayor will be compelled to take the stand at a September 5 hearing to defend himself against a conflict of interest lawsuit that was launched in March.
Ruby is representing Toronto resident Paul Magder in the case, which alleges that the mayor breached the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act at a February council meeting when he spoke to and voted on a motion that waived his obligation to repay funds he had improperly solicited for his football charity.
Magder is asking that Ford be removed from office, be disqualified for running for office for seven years, and repay the $3,150 in donations.
According to the release, Ford's lawyers had filed an affidavit to have the mayor cross-examined outside of court, but Magder and Ruby successfully argued that he should be made to testify in person because "because Mayor Ford's credibility is in issue in this case."
Friday morning, Justice Charles T. Hackland told representatives of both sides via teleconference that Ford will be made to take the stand. Ruby, a storied defence attorney who has represented the likes of the Dionne Quintuplets and wrongly convicted accused murdered Guy Paul Morin, will have the opportunity to cross-examine him.
A brief statement from Ford's office said the mayor was relishing the chance to defend himself in person.
"Mayor Rob Ford is proud of the work that he does with disadvantaged youth across the City of Toronto," the statement read. "The Mayor is looking forward to his day in court. There will be no further comment as the matter is now before the court."
Magder has previously filed complaints with the lobbyist registrar against Councillor Doug Ford, the mayor's brother, and has worked for Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, who is pursuing an audit of Rob Ford's campaign finances.
The conflict of interest case centers around donations solicited by Ford when he was city councillor. Ford solicited contributions to the Rob Ford Football Foundation from lobbyists and others doing business with the city using official city letterhead.
In 2010 the integrity commissioner ordered him to repay the money, but he repeatedly failed to provide proof that he had returned $3,150 in donations. At the February council meeting Ford said the money had already been spent on football equipment. The motion relieving him of the obligation to repay the funds passed 22-12, with the mayor voting in favour.