Toronto pol denies tickling Mayor Rob Ford into a frenzy – New York Daily News

Posted: Saturday, February 01, 2014

Toronto’s Chief Budget Officer Councilor Frank Di Giorgio denies he was tickling Mayor Rob Ford, after a photo emerged showing Di Giorgio’s hands on Ford’s torso, leaving the mayor giddy with laughter.

The photographic evidence of the odd encounter Thursday during a City Hall meeting quickly went viral.

Most suspected the embattled mayor was getting tickled, given the mayor’s red-face and wide grin, but Di Giorgio told the Daily News the photo doesn’t communicate “the full set of circumstances” and that it was more of a manly encounter.

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Both politicians were football players in high school and after tense budget talks, they were just blowing off steam during a break.

“I told him, ‘We’re not going to agree, why don’t we settle it on the football field,’” Di Giorgio said he told Ford, before he darted toward him and pushed him back a little.

Di Giorgio, at a budget meeting at City Hall on January 30, says the pair were reliving their glory days playing football in high school.

Colin Mcconnell/ZUMAPRESS.com

Di Giorgio, at a budget meeting at City Hall on January 30, says the pair were reliving their glory days playing football in high school.

The Mayor and the budget head had just ended a dispute over a tax deal.

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Ford had tasked Di Giorgio, who joined the Toronto City Council in 2000 with Ford, with drafting a budget that would keep tax increases below inflationary rates.

But “dynamics changed” when the Council took certain powers away from the mayor in November, given his drug scandal, and with his diminished influence the Council approved a budget that called for a tax rate higher than Ford would have liked.

Despite the disappointment of not getting his way, Di Giorgio said Ford “doesn’t hold grudges.”

The Toronto pol wanted to alert constituents that the photo isn’t evidence that he doesn’t take his job or the budget seriously.

“They caught us laughing during a break, that’s all,” he said.

llarson@nydailynews.com

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