Renata Ford told to pay nearly $300k in legal fees
Renata Ford, the widow of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, has been ordered by a court to pay her lawyers nearly $300,000 in overdue legal fees.
In a brief judgment from April 16, Justice William Chalmers noted that Renata Ford had retained Aird & Berlis LLP in 2018 “in connection with the distribution of her late husband's estate and the business and affairs of her late husband's family business” and had agreed to pay the firm's fees and disbursements.
“The Defendant did not pay the invoices despite request,” Chalmers writes.
The unpaid legal fees arise from Aird & Berlis LLP representing Renata Ford when she launched a lawsuit in 2018 against Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Randal Ford and the Ford family companies, according to the statement of claim.
In that lawsuit, Renata, on behalf of herself and her children, alleged Doug Ford, who was the trustee for Rob Ford's estate, was to have divided up the inheritance between Renata and her two children, Douglas and Stephanie.
The suit alleged that Doug Ford had not done so and instead had reorganized the family businesses to his benefit and used the proceeds from the estate of Doug Sr. — the father of Rob, Randy and Doug — to keep the business afloat, thereby depriving Renata and her children of money by diminishing the value of Rob Ford's estate.
This, the lawsuit said, “knowingly and deliberately put (Renata, Stephanie and Douglas) in a highly stressful and unfair financial position during their period of grief after Rob Ford's death, and continued to do so for more than two years after Rob Ford's death.”
In a 2018 statement to the Toronto Star, Doug Ford said the “claims relating to Deco are completely false and (I) will strongly refute them in court.”
But, by June 2020, Aird & Berlis alleges Renata Ford had not paid them for this legal work and filed court documents seeking the money.
The brief ruling notes that there were three invoices issued, for $30,507.88 on April 4, 2018; $214,633.29 on Dec. 31, 2018, and $36,355.43 on April 17, 2019.
Respectively, each invoice has also accrued $858.82, $3,881.04 and $497.52 in interest, leading to a total $286,733.98 owed by Ford to her lawyers.
“The Defendant has refused or neglected to make any payment,” says the statement of claim from June 2020.
On March 4, 2021, a judge dismissed the motion when the law firm asked for a default judgment — basically, when the other party doesn't do anything, the court makes a decision without hearing their input — because the motion hadn't been served to Ford.
That was done on March 11. Again, Ford did not respond.
The judge ordered Ford to pay $290,551.86, which includes $3,817.88 in interest accrued between Feb. 26, 2020 and Jan. 15, 2021.
The National Post has asked Renata Ford for comment.