November 4, 2011
Taxpayers won’t be on the hook for the cost of Mayor Rob Ford’s gold-letter business cards.
The cost of the cards, printed by Ford’s family business Deco Labels, showed up in the mayor’s office budget expenses last week.
But Adrienne Batra, Ford’s press secretary, told the Toronto Sun Monday that the mayor will be writing the city a cheque for the $1,579.15 expense along with $1,573.95 his office spent in newspaper subscriptions.
“As he always has done in the past, the mayor will pay for the expenses on his own,” Batra said.
Back in March, Deco invoiced Ford’s office for 5,600 Mayor Rob Ford cards at around 6 cents a card and 15,000 City of Toronto business cards at around 7 cents a card. The city paid the expense in September.
In the wake of the receipt appearing as part of the office budget disclosure last week, Ford has been criticized for using tax dollars to buy from his family company and paying more than what the city would charge councillors to print a simpler version of a business card.
Batra said the expenses were included in Ford’s office budget due to the city’s expense policy rules.
“The mayor is required to show an invoice, which he has done,” she said.
She noted Ford got three bids on the business card printing job before going with Deco.
“He always intended to pay for the cost of the business cards,” Batra said. “The mayor never had any intention of billing the taxpayers for it.”
His office couldn’t say how soon he would be cutting a cheque to the city.
Ford is expected to return from the Pan-Am Games in Mexico in time for Tuesday’s executive committee meeting. The mayor has also vowed to pay for that trip — where he represented Toronto at the closing ceremonies — out of his own pocket.
Councillor Josh Matlow said it is up to Ford if he wants to reimburse the city for the business cards.
“If he pays it back, I think that’s a fine move on the mayor’s part,” said Councillor Josh Matlow.
But he added that even if Ford pays back the money, it raises questions about why he contracted out work to his family firm.
As a penny-pinching city councillor Ford routinely filed no office expenses.
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