The expensive, lighted umbrellas at Sugar Beach — which Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, say are a waste of taxpayer dollars — were supplied by a company close to the Ford family business, CBC News has learned.
The umbrellas were supplied by renowned manufacturer Soheil Mosun, which is located right beside the Ford-owned Deco Labels & Tags, on Greensboro Drive in Etobicoke.
Soheil Mosun is owned by Darius Mosun who, with the Fords’ blessing, was appointed to the board of the Toronto Parking Authority in 2011. Mosun gets paid $500 to attend each of the city agency's board meetings.
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Since the mayor's return from rehab the Fords have criticized the umbrellas — which cost $12,000 each and were installed in June 2010, during the last mayoral election — as a waste of taxpayer money.
They have suggested it wouldn’t have happened on their watch, and turned the umbrellas into a rallying cry for Ford Nation as the mayor seeks re-election this fall.
“That is the gravy train going full steam down the tracks,” Coun. Ford said of the umbrellas during a recent city council meeting.
During that same meeting the mayor asked which company had supplied the umbrellas.
Doug Ford responds
Doug Ford told CBC News he and his brother were unaware Mosun had made the umbrellas. Ford said he was criticizing Waterfront Toronto's spending, not Mosun or the quality of its work.
Darius Mosun declined to be interviewed.
The development at Sugar Beach was also supported by late federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, often described by the Fords as a mentor and friend. Ottawa picked up almost the entire tab to build it, according to Waterfront Toronto.
“The total cost of Sugar Beach is $14.2 million, $13.4 [million] is the federal government, and the remaining $700,000 was the City of Toronto,” said James Roche, director of design and construction at Waterfront Toronto.