Coun. Doug Ford gets defamation notice from Toronto police chief
Toronto police Chief Bill Blair has served Coun. Doug Ford with a notice of defamation for comments made earlier this month that accused the chief of leaking news about an investigation involving Mayor Rob Ford.
- 'Doug Ford is lying,' Toronto police chief says, threatening lawsuit
"The chief said in a statement last week he was prepared to take legal action and he has done that," said Blair spokesman Mark Pugash on Tuesday.
Pugash said the chief is seeking a public apology and a retraction. Pugash also said no public money will be used in Blair's legal action against Ford.
Doug Ford would not say Tuesday whether he would comply with Blair's call for a retraction, saying only "it's with my lawyers."
Earlier this month, details leaked to the media about Rob Ford's possible testimony in an extortion trial of the mayor's friend and former driver, Alexander (Sandro) Lisi.
At the time, Doug Ford said the move was politically motivated "payback" and that the police went to the media before telling the mayor about the subpoena.
"You wonder why we need a change at the top? This is why we need a change at the top," said Doug Ford at the time, referring to Blair, whose contract is not being renewed.
Chief had threatened legal action
Blair immediately threatened legal action and accused the councillor, who is managing his brother's re-election campaign, of lying.
A few days later, Doug Ford tried to back off his earlier comments, saying he never suggested it was Blair who personally leaked the information.
"I get rambunctious and I'm entitled to my opinion,” Ford said. “I never said it was [Blair] personally who leaked the information…. [The leak] had to come from somewhere the police, the Crown attorney or the attorney general."
When asked if he was retracting his previous statements, Ford said he wanted to “move on from what he said about Bill Blair” and that he supports the frontline officers and the police chief.
This isn't the first time Doug Ford has had a public spat with Blair. Last November, he called for Blair to step down, saying he was "the most political police chief we've ever had" and "needs to step down immediately."
Doug Ford refers to 'fishing trip'
Last fall, Doug Ford also accused Blair of conflict of interest for going on a fishing trip with Police Services Board member Andy Pringle.
The police services board provides civilian oversight over Toronto's police force. At the time, board chair Alok Mukherjee told CBC News the board "did not have a concern about the fishing trip."
Doug Ford appeared to reference the fishing trip again on Tuesday. When asked about Blair's call for a retraction and apology, he told CBC's Steven D'Souza: "Maybe we'll bury the hatchet and go fishing together one day."
The Toronto Police Services board last week opted not to grant Blair's request for a third five-year term as chief of Canada's largest municipal force. His term ends in April.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had been served with a subpoena. In fact, he has not been subpoenaed in the Sandro Lisi extortion case.Aug 12, 2014 1:12 PM ET