Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was ordered to resign Monday by a judge who said he had violated a conflict of interest law, Canadian media reported.
Ford, who was elected mayor in 2010, was accused of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act by inappropriately soliciting funds for his high school football team during his decade on the city council. Ford promised to repay the $3,150 he had obtained from donors, but the Toronto Star reported that he ignored six requests for proof that he had done so.
In the 24-page decision, Justice Charles Hackland banned Ford for running for office for up to seven years, the Star said.
“In my opinion, the respondent’s actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to willful blindness,” Hackland wrote, the Globe and Mail reported.
Ford, a conservative, has two weeks to appeal the decision, and vowed to fight "tooth and nail" to keep his job.
“This comes down to left-wing politics," Ford told reporters on Monday. "The left wing wants me out of here and they'll doing anything in their power to. I’m going to fight tooth and nail to hold onto my job. And if they do for some reason get me out, I’ll be running right back at them as soon as the next election hits.
"You just have to roll with the punches. You gotta have skin on you like an alligator,” he said.
If he is forced out of office, Ford also swore his name would be the first on the ballot in a special by-election.
The mayor and his lawyers have two weeks to get a stay on the ruling. Otherwise Ford will have to clean out his office by Dec. 10.
The lawyer for the city, Clayton Ruby, told reporters, "Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford. Today's decision shows that when you break the rules, there’s a price to pay."
Ford is quite the character in political circles; this was not his first scandal, and the online magazine Vice proclaimed him the "Greatest Mayor Of All Time" … for journalists, that is.
"We fell in love with this amiable, clumsy, fat drunk guy early on," they wrote, reminiscing about the times Ford was accused of trying to kidnap his own children; was caught driving with a bag of marijuana; called a reporter a "fat f***" while he was a city councillor; and wandered, purportedly drunk, into a football locker room.