TORONTO — Toronto Coun. Doug Ford came out swinging Monday against those suing Mayor Rob Ford for libel.
Mayor Ford is facing a $6-million libel suit, brought by George Foulidis, owner of the company that operates the Boardwalk Pub.
The suit follows comments Ford made at a Toronto Sun editorial board about a sole-sourced contract the city awarded to the pub. The civil trial begins Tuesday.
"It's a joke, it's a show — that's all," said Coun. Ford, the mayor's brother.
"It's just a big Hollywood show, in my opinion.
"They're calling everyone but President Obama and I'm surprised he hasn't been called."
Rob Ford was a mayoral candidate in 2010 when he made the controversial comments relating to city council's decision to award Foulidis' company a 21-year contract for food services at his operation in the Beach neighbourhood.
The city received $4.75 million — $1 million less than the previous contract.
Mayor Ford told the editorial board the deal is "corrupt" and "stinks to high heaven."
Coun. Ford was making the comments as a veritable who's who of the Toronto political and media scene was preparing to testify during what is expected to be a four-day court case.
Mayor Ford, a number of city councillors and Toronto Sun writers Jonathan Jenkins and Sue-Ann Levy have been summoned to testify.
Coun. Ford said he hasn't been summoned as a witness in the case. He said the administration won't be distracted by the court case.
"We're going to stay focused on saving the taxpayers' money. That's what it comes down to," he said.
Mayor Ford declined to speak about the case Monday.
In a statement of defence obtained by the Toronto Sun in 2010, Ford called the lawsuit an "abuse of process" brought forward to embarrass him and silence him on the issue.
Foulidis' lawyer Brian Shiller would not comment on the case.
In a separate court proceeding, a ruling on a conflict-of-interest case against Mayor Ford is still pending. Ford spent several days in September testifying in that case.