Anybody with even the slightest interest in Toronto City Council and the workings of this city is aware that City Council failed to tender the contract governing the Boardwalk lease concession – instead awarding the contract to Tuggs Restaurant. (This is part of a disturbing pattern of Toronto city council not tendering contracts that should be tendered.) As might be expected, many Toronto residents felt that the contract should have been sent out to tender. A tender would have ensured that other parties would have been able to bid on contract – a contract that essentially established a monopoly over commercial activity on the Boardwalk.
Why should contracts be tendered at all? The answer is simple:
to ensure that that the residents of Toronto get maximum return on city assets. This answer assumes that the mandate of City Council is to mange the City of Toronto for the benefit of Toronto residents.
That said, its obvious that certain members of City Council don’t think it is necessary to tender at least certain contracts. If a contract is not tendered, then we cannot know what somebody else would have paid for the rights to the contract. Hence, without a tender, City Council cannot be assured that Toronto residents are getting maximum value for Toronto assets. So then, why would Councillors ever fail to put a contract out to tender? It’s hard to resist the conclusion that Toronto City Councillors who vote against putting a contract to tender don’t believe their job is to protect the interests of Toronto taxpayers. Why would a Councillor not want to protect the interests of Toronto taxpayers? What could be more important to a Councillor than the interests of the taxpayers?
Tuggs Restaurant is in Ward 32 – Coucillor Sandra Bussin’s ward. According to the papers, Sandra Bussin did not participate in the vote that awarded the contract to Tuggs without tender. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Councillor Bussin encouraged putting the Tuggs lease out to tender.
Sandra Bussin, as Ward 32 Councillor, should have taken the lead in ensuring that the Tuggs contract went to tender.
At the end of day Toronto City Council did not serve the interests of the taxpayers because of its:
1. Failure to vote against awarding the contract to Tuggs without tender; and
2. Failure to vote in favor of reopening the issue of the Tubbs contract.
Each Councillor who failed to protect the interests of the taxpayers, by allowing the Tuggs contract to be offered with tender, should resign and should not run in the next election.
Council votes not to reopen Boardwalk Pub deal
June 09, 2010
David Rider and Paul Moloney
RICHARD LAUTENS/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
City council voted Wednesday not to revisit Tuggs Inc.’s controversial monopoly on food and vending rights on the eastern beaches, including the Boardwalk Pub.
The vote was 22-19, short of the two-thirds required to reopen the matter, despite concerns it could set a bad precedent if other businesses that lease city land seek similar deals.
City staff had recommended the concession be put up for bids, but council decided in a late-night vote last month to extend Tuggs’ existing lease for another 20 years.
The extension, opposed by some Beach residents, could lead to others asking for the same privilege, said Councillor Doug Holyday, chair of the audit committee. He has asked the city’s integrity commissioner to review the extension in light of city leasing policies.
“We’ve got a lot of real estate assets out there that are leased out,” he said. “I don’t want this to be the way the city does business. It all has to be done above-board.”
The city’s legal department, however, had warned that reopening the deal would risk a lawsuit, even though the city hadn’t yet signed the agreement.
“If council votes to re-open this matter and reject the revised proposal approved May 11 and 12, 2010, there will be legal implications,” states a confidential report obtained by the Star.
The lack of a city signature on the document doesn’t mean there is no agreement, the report says. “Tuggs has done everything required of it to be done and council has expressed its commitment to be bound by virtue of its decision on May 11 and 12. The actual signing of the agreement by the city’s signing officers may be considered a mere formality.”
The Foulidis family, which owns Tuggs, has argued it should get the lease renewal because of the money it spent on the buildings.