Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti used to really, really hate each other. They’re best friends now, or, to put it less kindly, a little more than a year into a marriage of political convenience. In 2002, Ford called Mammoliti a ”Gino-boy” and a “scammer,” comments that were widely reported then, and have been widely reported since, but their history goes further—and is nastier, and funnier—than just that.
I spent a lazy Saturday evening digging through newspaper archives, originally trying to trace the genesis of a mind-boggling statement Ford apparently made about suicide back in 2000, which was described in this old National Post column. I couldn’t find it, but I did find a decade’s worth of animosity between the councillors.
Take it away, boys.
FORD ON MAMMOLITI
"I never have and I never will support a tax increase down here at city council. George, you’re one of the reasons why, all right? … No you’re the fool. You shouldn’t even be in council, George Mammoliti. All you do is scam the taxpayers, that’s all you do. And you should be out of here, okay. No, you’re outright ignorant … I do not interrupt you, okay?… I won’t have to deal with you in two more years because you’re going to be out, George Mammoliti. You are just a scammer, that’s what you are, an outright scammer. That’s all you are."
—Quoted in the Star, on March 9, 2002. This, as with many other arguments, took place on the floor of council.
"He’s just abusing taxpayers, that’s all it is…he has no consideration for the taxpayer at all….We get a bad name because of those people."
—The Star, August 18, 2001. “Mammoliti charged taxpayers $43,150 for office expenses in the first six months of 2001 for things like newsletters to constituents and rent for his expensive constituency office,” the paper reported. “Ford submitted a bill for $10 for stamps.”
"If they [councillors] accuse me of saying that … yeah, they are liars because I’m not a racist and I feel deeply offended to sit here and have to defend my position."
—The Star, March 7, 2002. Ford was defending himself, claiming he didn’t call Mammoliti “Gino-boy.” He did.
"A snake" and "a weasel"
—The Star, February 28, 2003, after Ford “arrived at the [budget] meeting to discover the zoo budget had passed even though he had asked that the item be held.” Mammoliti was chair of the zoo board. The animal insults seem to have been unintentional.
"I don’t know why he hates me so much."
—The Star, from a August 2011 editorial, referring back to something Ford looks to have said around August 2001.
MAMMOLITI ON FORD
"Well I think that that’s an easy way to get rid of Rob Ford out of the council chambers…We should endorse his candidacy and get it out of the way."
—The Scarborough Mirror, March 2, 2005. Ford had started musing publicly about making a run for mayor.
"I think he thinks that God put him on this Earth to embarrass city council."
—The National Post, February 26, 2009.
An “idiot” and a “goon.”
—The Globe, March 6, 2002. The Globe’s John Barber called Mammoliti and Ford, who had been trading insults, “rude but honest.”
"If you want a city run for and by the rich, vote Rob Ford."
—The Grid, August 24, 2011. The quote is what Mammoliti “reportedly told the crowd” at a 2010 debate.
"It’s no secret we don’t like each other … and we don’t like each other’s politics."
—The Star, March 7, 2002.
"They stand up continually at budget time and criticize everybody else about their expenditures and about not being upfront with the public. Well, who’s not being upfront with the public now?"
—The Star, March 21, 2007. Mammoliti’s talking about Ford and Doug Holyday, after they “refus[ed] to pay $1,123 each for their use of city-owned office space at the Etobicoke Civic Centre.”
"If we witness racism and if we hear racism, we should not wait for a year to deal with those comments."
—The Star, April 15, 2003. After “Deputy Mayor Case Ootes ruled yesterday that the privilege of Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti…was violated last year when Councillor Rob Ford…called him a ‘Gino-boy.’”
"I’m getting all the calls to represent his constituents because he’s not doing anything…I have had to go into his ward actually a couple of times and have meetings…I think he should be concentrating on his constituency as opposed to bashing us every time we spend a cent."
—The Star, August 18, 2001.
"He went with his tail in-between his legs…I wish that every community he tries to move into, every ward that he tries to move into …would send him the same message."
—The National Post, August 8, 2007. Mammoliti’s recounting how Ford acted after being met with a small protest at the Humber-Sheppard Community Centre, in Mammoliti’s ward, demanding that he leave. Mammoliti claimed he didn’t organize the protest, which saw protesters “carrying cardboard signs with the slogans: ‘Get out of our ward, Rob Ford’ and ‘Mind your own business, Rob Ford.’”
"I’m sorry for calling him a big goon."
—The Star, March 9, 2002. Mammoliti seems to have added the “big” to the apology—no accounts have it as part of the original dig.
Mammoliti’s son, Michael, even plotted a run against Ford in Ford’s ward in the 2003 municipal election, but dropped out that September, before voting took place. Mammoliti dropped out of the 2010 mayor’s race after a poll showed he had just 5.2% support, against Ford’s 30.3%. He shoulda seen it coming. Two-thirds of the way down a November 12, 2003 Etobicoke Guardian article, after Ford won his ward’s seat with 79.4% of the vote, the mayor showed his hand years before he played it. “You never know in politics,” Ford is quoted as saying. “Of course I expected to win but I didn’t expect this large a victory.” Next line: “Ford also expressed interest in running for mayor in the next municipal election.”
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