|Mayor Rob Ford arrives at 361 University Ave. court in Toronto Sept. 5, 2012, for his testimony in his conflict of interest case. (Dave Abel/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO — Rock'em sock'em Rob Ford needs to keep his guard up or he's going to get knocked out — even if he does survive Monday's conflict-of-interest court ruling, deputy mayor Doug Holyday said Friday.
"Stop leading with your chin," Holyday said of his advice for the embattled mayor, currently before the courts on two separate matters and having his campaign finances probed by an auditor.
"You can't open yourself up to these situations because it's too much of a drain on you personally, a drain on you financially. It's a drain on your family and I suggest it's a drain on council."
If the judge rules against him, Ford could face a maximum penalty of removal from office and a seven-year ban from municipal politics.
The case stems from a council meeting in February, when Ford argued and voted on whether to adopt an integrity commissioner's report ordering him to repay $3,000 in donations to his football foundation.
Commissioner Janet Leiper ruled Ford had improperly used his position on council to solicit the funds, but her report was turned down by council, with Ford voting against.
Holyday said he believes Ford will be cleared, but the damage being done to his fiscally conservative agenda is serious, Holyday said, and needs to stop.
"Right from the start with this situation, right or wrong, the mayor has led with his chin," he said. "He's opened the door for someone to take some action that could be inconvenient for him.
Ford is also awaiting a decision in a separate libel trial.