Robert Deluce, the founder, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, broke the city by-law on campaign funding in the last municipal election.
The rules passed by council in 2009 state clearly that no corporate or union donations are allowed in City of Toronto elections, and yet Deluce and his family donated at total of $11,100 to 17 candidates. This is the reference to the Star article followed by an excerpt.
In 2014, Robert Deluce, president and CEO of Porter Airlines, and his family — including his wife, daughter Justine Deluce, and son and fellow Porter executive Michael Deluce — donated a total of $11,100 to 17 city hall candidates.
Those receiving cheques from the Deluce clan were candidates who had openly supported or were still undecided on lucrative island airport expansion plans pre-2015, before they were scrapped by the new federal Liberal government.
In an interview, Deluce said there was no concerted effort to support candidates who backed his interests or sway decision-making.
But when asked if his donations were purely personal or represented his corporate interests in the airport he said: “A little bit of both.”
“Where they stood on it who even knows, because they never really got to vote on the issue,” Deluce said of councillor support, pointing out that a crucial vote on allowing jets at Billy Bishop Airport never took place.
Deluce, who used to cut cheques clearly marked “Porter Airlines,” agreed that, “In some ways the corporate contributions . . . is a little more transparent.” But he said he understands the rationale behind banning them.
Deluce, who gave more than $6,500 in his own name, was one of 13 donors who broke election rules that limit the total donations from one individual to $5,000, according to the Star’s analysis.
The city has no investigative or enforcement powers to penalize donors who over-contribute, the elections office said in an email. Any eligible voter can complain to the compliance audit committee about a candidate who may have broken the rules, but the committee has no power to deal with complaints about donors.
Deluce says he is always conscious of the cap, but in 2014 an accounting error saw a $1,500 cheque from his wife drawn on their joint account mistakenly made in his name.