Six years later, sole-source contract stinks even worse
How would you like exclusive rights to provide food, drinks and merchandise on prime city-owned waterfront at Ashbridge’s Bay Beach in the east end? But wait, there’s more, you’ll get a cut of the revenues from a nearby city-owned parking lot, sponsorships, a say in which groups get permits, and you’ll get it all, guaranteed, for 20 years. If you think it’ll cost a fortune you’re wrong. It’s a steal, and the deal’s yours if you decide you want it!
If that sounds like a license to print money, you’re probably right. If you want to know for sure, just ask George Foulidis, owner of Tuggs Inc., the “mom and pop” shop that runs the Boardwalk Café. Now six years in to a 20 year contract signed in 2010, the business man has once again angered local residents.
One of Foulidis’ dubious arguments for why the city should bestow upon him a lucrative sole-source contract (which are prohibited by city policy) was that it would keep big chains like Burger King out of the spot. Now, he’s turned around and opened a Tim Hortons – a franchise which is now part of the American Burger King corporate conglomerate.
Jim Morrison, president of Not So Pro Sports, believes that Foulidis’ sweet-heart deal may also have cost him his own business running a recreational beach volleyball league next door.
His latest contract with the City included a clause which stipulated that no sponsorship be allowed within 100 feet of the 85 volleyball courts at Ashbridge's Bay beach.
Morrison claims that only after his contract with its no sponsorship clause was finally spiked at City Council on March 31, 2010, was the City suddenly able to come to terms with Tuggs Inc. in April, 2010.
No wonder then that local residents continue to be incensed about the deal, which many suspect was only approved by council because of the efforts of former councilor Sandra Buusin, to whom Foulidis and his family and friends have donated generously.
When former mayor Rob Ford made comment raising concerns about “corruption” during the 2010 mayoral Foulidis sued him to the tune of $6 million for defamation. Foulidis lost the suit and was ordered to pay $200,000 in trial costs to Ford.
"An incredible injustice is being perpetrated here," said Morrison, back in 2010. "And we're just starting to scratch the surface."