A $6-million libel trial involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and a local restaurant owner continued on Wednesday, with the man behind the lawsuit crying on the stand.
Boardwalk Cafe owner George Foulidis broke down in court, saying he felt “terrible” when his 10-year-old daughter asked about protesters surrounding his east-end restaurant.
Foulidis claims Ford made “false” and “defamatory” comments about how Foulidis won a renewed deal with the city during his successful 2010 election campaign.
On Wednesday, Foulidis testified that protesters showed up at the restaurant wearing T-shirts that read “bribe” and “illegal.”
His daughter later asked him if he had done anything wrong.
“Rob Ford was willing to sacrifice my good name and my reputation for political gain,” he testified.
Lawyers for Rob Ford, who appeared in court along with the mayor’s brother Doug Ford, questioned Foulidis about his “good name.”
Foulidis admitted his family had been involved in a “fraudulent conveyance” several years ago. Foulidis’s parents changed the name on the deed of their family home, so that only George’s father was listed.
While on the campaign trail in 2010, Ford told the Toronto Sun the Boardwalk Cafe deal “stinks to high heaven.” The article, written by Jonathan Jenkins, suggested Ford had described the deal as corrupt.
On Tuesday, Ford’s lawyer Gavin Tighe said Ford never made those comments. He argued that because Foulidis’s deal was successful, Ford’s alleged comments could not have hurt the business. Tighe also argued that Ford was criticizing council, not Foulidis personally.
The Boardwalk Cafe at Woodbine Beach is the only establishment allowed to sell food and drinks in the busy eastern beaches.
The city renewed the restaurant’s 20-year lease in 2006 in an untendered process that the local councillor at the time, Sandra Bussin, defended as a way to keep fast food chains out of the area.
Foulidis is also suing Bruce Baker for $100,000. Baker ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2010 in Ward 32. In a letter to councillors, Baker said he would ask police to investigate the untendered deal.
Below is live coverage by CityNews and 680News reporters covering the trial.