TORONTO, Ont. – Mayor Rob Ford hung on to the city’s top spot after Ontario’s Divisional Court overturned a previous decision that ordered Ford removed from office for violating conflict of interest rules.
A Divisional Court released its decision at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Shortly after the ruling was released, Ford returned to the mayor’s office and was greeted by cheering staff members. He didn’t say anything on his way in, but had a huge smile on his face.
In an address to the media at around 11:30 a.m., Ford said the legal battle was a “very, very humbling experience.”
“I have an enormous respect for the judicial system. And I’m very, very thankful for the decision it made today,” he said.
He also stressed that despite his turbulent two years in office, he has fulfilled his promises to Torontonians.
“I am proud of how much we’ve done so far. Promises made, promises kept. And it is my plan to continue fighting for the great people of this city.”
Ford thanked his legal team and his family and citizens for their support.
“Your kind words have inspired me to continue fighting on. The people of this city have given me phenomenal support.”
He also noted that the experience was taxing on his family.
“This has been a very, very challenging time for all of us.”
The three-judge panel agreed with Ford’s lawyers, who had argued the previous ruling was legally flawed.
In November, an Ontario Superior justice ordered Ford removed as mayor for taking part in a council vote that he repay $3,150 raised for his private football foundation.
The ruling was put on hold pending Friday’s decision.
Despite the legal win, Ford’s woes are not done. A forensic audit of Ford’s 2010 campaign expenses is expected to be released next month.
“We also need to know what happened with the campaign finances,” Coun. Adam Vaughan said earlier this week. “There are allegations out there that he cheated during the last election.”
If Ford is found to have violated the Municipal Elections Act he could face further charges, which could lead to a fine or removal from office.