Alleged libel victim cries at Toronto mayor's trial

George Foulidis enters the Canada Life building. George Foulidis is suing Mayor Rob Ford for libel....

George Foulidis enters the Canada Life building. George Foulidis is suing Mayor Rob Ford for libel. (QMI Agency/CRAIG ROBERTSON)

SHAWN JEFFORDS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:59 PM ET

TORONTO - Choking back tears, the man suing Toronto's mayor for $6 million said even his 10-year-old daughter asked if he had done something wrong after Rob Ford smeared his name.

A red-faced George Foulidis paused for a moment to hold back tears as he recounted the story about his daughter during the ongoing libel trial at the Canada Life building courthouse.

"My daughter," he said, pausing, “was 10. She asked me if I had done anything wrong."

"How did that make you feel?" asked his lawyer Brian Shiller.

"Worse than I feel right now," he said.

Foulidis, owner of the Boardwalk Cafe — located in Toronto's Beaches neighbourhood — is suing over comments Ford made at a Toronto Sun editorial board meeting in 2010.

Ford criticized a sole-sourced agreement that city council awarded Foulidis' company, Tuggs Inc., to operate the cafe for 20 years.

Foulidis swung from teary to stubborn during his day-long testimony and cross-examination at the hands of Ford's lawyer Gavin Tighe.

Foulidis said his reputation was damaged by Ford's comments. In the days after the story appeared, he was set upon by protesters and complete strangers who now viewed him with suspicion, he said.

"I was humiliated," he testified. "I was upset."

Early in the day, he asked Justice John Macdonald to help him repair his reputation.

Foulidis asked the court to “denounce Ford's allegations” and restore his “good name."

But Tighe spent most of his cross-examination trying to poke holes in Foulidis' story and reputation.

Tighe asked Foulidis, why, if he wanted to "clear the air" had he not also encouraged calls for a police investigation, instead of launching a separate libel suit against former council candidate Bruce Baker. Baker called for a police investigation into the sole-sourced deal and was slapped with a libel lawsuit, which is being heard at the same time as the Ford case.

"Wouldn't an investigation clear the air?" Tighe asked. "But then you wouldn't get any money."

Tighe also raised a civil case that found Foulidis' relatives guilty of a fraudulent transaction and was upheld by an appeal court in 2005.

While Foulidis was not a party to the case, the documents describe him as the manager of his family's finances. Foulidis' reputation may not have been "sterling" before Ford's alleged remarks, Tighe said.

"The Court of Appeal of this province found, as fact, that you and your family participated in a fraudulent transaction," Tighe said.

Lawyers from both sides were eager to get their hands on an audio tape of the Toronto Sun editorial board meeting, which was turned over to the newspaper earlier this week. The recording may be heard in court as early as tomorrow.

Ford is expected to testify Friday. The case is set to wrap up Monday.

shawn.jeffords@sunmedia.ca


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