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Independent boardwalk Beach restaurant sublets to food giant Cara

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Sep 7th, 2016

carterslanding

A company that owned a restaurant in the Beach, which was once a hot-button issue at city hall and with former mayor Rob Ford, is subleasing to Cara Operations Ltd.

The Boardwalk Café on Lake Shore Boulevard at Woodbine Avenue, which was owned by George Foulidis, is no longer there.

The location has housed a bakery and a Tim Horton’s and now Foulidis’s company, Tuggs Inc., is subletting the space to Cara, which opened Carter’s Landing in July, without any input from city council or the public.

“I argue any other restaurateur would give their eyeteeth to have this location and it should have gone out to tender,” Coun. Mary-Margaret McMahon said.

And now, there is a petition in the community on how to get rid of the chain restaurant.

Back in 2006, the city renewed the restaurant’s 20-year lease in an untendered process that the local councillor at the time, Sandra Bussin, defended as a way to keep fast food chains out of the area.

However, the issue was in the spotlight again in 2010 when councilors were reviewing the specifics of the contract.

While on the campaign trail for the 2010 mayoral election, Ford suggested to the Toronto Sun that the deal between Tuggs Inc. and the city was corrupt, saying that it “stinks to high heaven.”

A lower-court judge dismissed the $6-million libel suit in December 2012, ruling that Foulidis did not prove the comments were directed at him nor that they were defamatory. Foulidis appealed the decision, but the Court of Appeal for Ontario dismissed it in 2014.

As for the current mayor’s office, they say Tory wouldn’t support the contract.

“This is a contract that was negotiated and signed two administrations ago. This is not a contract the Mayor would support if it were brought forward today,” read a statement from Tory’s office.

We were told the reason that it was going to be sole sourced and no other competitors in that prime beach space was to protect the public from franchises going in, Martin Gladstone, a lawyer in the Beach who initially ran against Bussin in 2010, but ended up stepping aside, explained.

“What we are having now is the exact opposite … the whole process should be a transparent one, based on integrity.”

Tuggs Inc. has been operating the boardwalk restaurant since 1986. There were reports Foulidis’ family and friends donated up to $8,000 to Bussin’s campaign in 2006.

The question is now what? The city Management committee discussed the issue behind closed doors today and it will be debated at council in October. It seems the city has little legal recourse though to stop Cara from subletting or taking over the lease entirely — killing the lease would likely cost millions.

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