Toronto's embattled Mayor Rob Ford frequents Chicago

November 19, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Even though Chicago and Toronto re-upped their sister city agreement a year ago, you won't find Mayor Rahm Emanuel giving Mayor Rob Ford any sibling advice. The men did meet at a podium 14 months ago as they signed a renewed agreement to be sister cities, but Chicago has that arrangement with 28 cities around the world. Only one though-- Toronto-- is known to have a mayor with as much personal turmoil as Ford, and such deep business connections to metro Chicago.

The cameras were whirring a year ago as Mayor Ford and Mayor Emanuel met for the signing ceremony, a time when no one at Chicago City Hall could have known the Canadian firestorm that was about to hit.

Mayor Ford, who has since admitted to smoking crack cocaine and this week had most of his power stripped by the Toronto City Council, doesn't need a GPS to find his way around Chicago.

His father founded a printing business in northwest suburban Wooddale in 1962.

Deco Labels & Tags says it has grown to become one of North America's leading label and tag manufacturing and sales companies in the industry. Sales in 2010 for the family business have been reported at $100 million.

After Ford was elected mayor he left his position as Chief Financial Officer of the Deco printing company, but continues to make regular visits to the company in suburban Chicago-- as late as last month the I-Team has learned. But according to Mayor Emanuel's office, Ford didn't meet with him then, nor request a meeting. The last time they saw each other was at a ceremony more than a year ago.

A spokesperson for Mayor Emanuel told the I-Team on Tuesday that Chicago's mayor is focused on Chicago, "and has not given Rob Ford a lot of thought."

The same cannot be said for the press in Toronto. In addition to Ford's thoroughly-reported personal problems, the Toronto Star has uncovered potential conflicts between the Deco printing business and city contracts, and the printing business and Mayor Ford's campaign.

Additional information:
Mayor Ford's family printing business
Toronto Star report on Mayor Ford's family printing business
Chicago Sister City/Toronto
Toronto mayor's office

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