TORONTO, Ont. – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is defending himself in a $6-million defamation lawsuit on Tuesday.

The lawsuit was filed against him by the owner of the Boardwalk Cafe at Woodbine Beach Park during the 2010 mayoral election.

George Foulidis, owns Tuggs Inc., which owns the Boardwalk Café on Lake Shore Boulevard near Woodbine Avenue.

The Boardwalk Café 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.

During the 2010 mayoral race, Ford told the Toronto Sun’s editorial board that the sole-sourced contract the city awarded Tuggs was “corrupt” and “stinks to high heaven.” The Sun published his remarks, and the libel suit followed.

Foulidis claims the comments were “false” and “defamatory.”

Foulidis’ lawyer told the court on Tuesday that his client’s reputation has been tarnished by Ford’s “malicious” corruption allegations. Ford’s lawyer reacts saying that there is no basis for this because Foulidis didn’t lose any money and still owns and operates the business.

Mayor Ford said that this is tactical litigation that fails at the threshold; however if it goes ahead, he said freedom of expression applies because canadidates running for office have to let the public know where they stand on the issues.

The mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, called the case a joke.

According to the Toronto Star, former mayor David Miller, Councillor Doug Holyday and a number of journalists have been subpoenaed.

The libel trial, taking place in the Superior Court on University Avenue, is expected to last four days.