Maclean's magazine offers the best explanation yet of the judicial decision that declared Toronto's mayoralty vacated:
Ultimately, Toronto’s mayor got sacked for breaking a simple yet unforgiving Ontario law: If you vote on or discuss an issue in which you have a financial interest and you can’t prove that it was a mistake you made in good faith, you get removed from office. The law is too crude an implement and deserves to be revisited. Yet it’s still the law, and Ford ultimately had no excuse for breaking it.
Rob Ford runs a football foundation. He tirelessly fundraises for it from people he meets, including developers and lobbyists, and lately he did it with city resources. This is against the rules. The city’s integrity commissioner entreated him over and over to follow these rules–another person telling him he can’t do this, can’t to that—but to no avail. And after years of breaking rules that merely put him on the hook for financial penalties, Ford finally broke the rule that cost him his job: He got up in council and argued that he shouldn’t have to pay just such a penalty. Then he voted against parting with the money. That’s a conflict of interest, and some of the finest lawyers in town weren’t able to convince the judge otherwise.
This was no technicality that went unnoticed by all but vigilant Ford enemies who were waiting to pounce. It was a small-beans issue Ford willingly escalated into a giant hill of beans, which he proceeded to die on. It could have been defused and de-escalated at any number of junctures. But Ford’s unwillingness to follow anything but his own increasingly erratic lights turned it into a court case. As the judge noted, Ford’s defence relied “essentially on a stubborn sense of entitlement (concerning his football foundation) and a dismissive and confrontational attitude” to the rules and those who’d enforce them.