Toronto mayoral disaster: illegal deletion of staffers' email?

More news from the embattled mayor of Toronto, Rob "Laughable Bumblefuck" Ford: after two of his senior staffers walked out on him following questioning by Toronto homicide detectives, it appears that someone illegally ordered the destruction of their archived city emails and call-records -- as well as the archived electronic communications of Ford's former chief of staff, whom Ford fired under mysterious circumstances.

The Star heard concerns at city hall Wednesday afternoon over the potential destruction or hiding of the records of three staffers who resigned or were fired during the ongoing crack cocaine scandal. Sources told the Star the records were in danger after city employees were directed to delete them.

The Star sent a request late Wednesday to the city asking for email and phone records of the three staffers in question for the time period during which the video at the heart of the scandal has been discussed.

Emails sent by city employees, including political staffers, are automatically preserved by the city, though emails related to “personal” business are exempt from freedom of information requests.

Two people familiar with the system said the emails of specific political staffers cannot be permanently erased from the system.p

Rob Ford video scandal: Concerns raised over safety of email records



      1. No, for some reason Canadian mayors are given the title His/Her Worship. Most are not in fact worshiped by their constituents, though.

    1. I love how she implies it’s the the destruction of documents that erodes the public’s trust and confidence in the City of Toronto… as if we had any trust/confidence to begin with.

    1. Also, check the “deleted item” and “sent items” folders. I can’t tell you how many execs don’t know they need to delete those too.

      1. It’s conceivable that Toronto Municipal IT is packed with Ford cronies, or egregious incompetents; but barring those cases, it is customary for organizations with legal discoverability requirements to have a layer of archiving that goes well beyond what you can easily delete.

        Sometimes it’s handled on the mailserver, with the features provided there, sometimes it will be a separate device that hoovers up all incoming and outgoing mail and dumps it to a retention archive. In such a case, even taking a hammer to the mailserver won’t have much effect.

        1. I work for a public university. Little known fact, students can request for every email on the server that references their personal info. So yeah, the depth of the servers is immense. I would imagine that city hall’s servers are similar.

        2.  what you forget is that they are probably backed up on decades old systems in a cob web infested basement somewhere.

  1. Okay, pardon my general ignorance about all things Canadian here, but is there something analagous to the FBI that is actually investingating him? Why hasn’t this idiot been indicted yet?

    1. The police are investigating a murder… he and his brother may be implicated.

      BTW – two staffers just quit, within the last 20 minutes. The live coverage of city hall right is insane…

  2. My understanding is that all government emails are squirrelled away someplace out of reach of those in power. There’s a standing rule in government to call, or talk face to face if the topic is anything that might be FOI’d some day. (Freedom Of Information’d meaning reporters etc., can force the govt. agency to search and release any paperwork relating to X topic.)  That way, at least on paper (and email) there’s no pesky  quotes that have to be explained – or in practice, very little – on any particular topic.

    If I ws in his office, I would have been committing everything to email because you know this would be coming.

  3. At first I was sad about the cancellation of BOSS about a fictional Chicago mayor and his delusional fits of outrage but now that I have this, I hardly see the difference!

    1. Yes and no. I strongly doubt that the good Mr. Ford could be trusted to actually maintain an IT operation effectively. However, you don’t get places, while being a laughable shitbag, without a certain amount of low cunning. 

      If he were tasked with, say, properly deleting an email trail that had been committed to the system, he would probably fail(to be fair, without insider assistance, most people would. That’s how those systems are designed, and for a reason). However, it would totally fail to surprise me if he has been relatively canny about keeping the really good stuff off the record in the first place, delivering the juiciest directives verbally, or by implication, to minions who are either trusted or powerless.

      That’s the real trick: beating an IT system at its own game is generally fairly difficult without a relevant background in system penetration, or severe incompetence on the IT side. Simply using your people skills(and, however revolting to us, successful politicians can probably be assumed to at least have an inner circle, if not a genuinely charismatic demeanor) to get what you want done without ever writing it down is a great deal simpler. Simply using a different email system(while frequently illegal under the relevant records laws) is also easy, and even if they can slap you for doing that, if you own the system, you can ensure that they never get any specifics on which to hit you further.

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