Rob and Doug Ford in council chambers in January 2014

Mayor Rob Ford and brother Doug in council chambers before the mayor went to rehab. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Rob Ford is currently completing a stint at an addiction rehabilitation centre north of Toronto, but the mayor still attracts controversy at City Hall.

A report in the Globe and Mail alleges the mayor and his councillor brother Doug Ford used their influence to introduce a printing company to city officials while they were doing private business with same company. 

The Ford family owns Deco Labels and Tags, a label company with offices in Etobicoke and Chicago. The allegations of using influence at City Hall was made by a former employee.

The printing company, RR Donnelley and Sons, was lobbying municipal staff to take over some city printing business, supposedly with the help of the Fords. There was some benefit to the Fords, it's claimed, with the referral of business.

The CBC has not independently verified any of the claims, and no allegation has been proven.

John Mascarin, a municipal ethics professor at Osgoode Hall and partner at the law firm Aird and Berlis, spoke to CBC Radio's Metro Morning about the accusations.

He said it's not necessarily a conflict of interest within the city's integrity framework.

"Well, I looked at it and I said, if true there is certainly an air of impropriety," he said.

But there is a certain threshold to be met to make it a conflict of interest. "Were they acting in their private interest or their public interest?" Mascarin asked.

Mascarin said it does not look like a violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, as the Fords had no financial interest in a matter before council.

A grey area surrounds the type of referral arrangements the Fords are alleged to have had with the printing firm.

"It appears to be a conflict in the broader sense," said Mascarin.

If the allegations are reported to the city's Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, and she finds that there is a conflict, the consequences are a council reprimand or a suspension of pay for 90 days.