Taxpayers foot $74,850 bill for 30 chairs at Toronto City Hall


You might want to sit down for this.

Toronto taxpayers shelled out $74,850 to buy 30 new chairs for a lounge inside City Hall, the Toronto Sun has learned.

The chairs now sit in the members’ lounge — a room tucked behind the city council chamber that often hosts city functions and is the spot where councillors hold private meetings during council meetings.

Despite belt-tightening at City Hall and Mayor Rob Ford’s penny-pinching ways, city officials decided to buy the new replica chairs in late 2012 at a cost of around $2,495 each because the original Warren Platner chairs were in a “bad state of disrepair.” Those chairs are now in storage.

“The original Warren Platner chairs were replaced with new, replica chairs, matching as close to the original as possible,” city official Natasha Hinds Fitzsimmins said Thursday.

The new chairs cost $2,495 each. According to the city, the total cost for 30 chairs was $74,850.

“Due to the age of the original chairs and the wear and tear of day-to-day use, the chairs were in a bad state of disrepair. The chairs have been reupholstered/refurbished twice over their life span,” Hinds Fitzsimmins said. “The upholstery fabric was worn and has pulled away from the wire mesh form exposing the foam.

“In addition, the original moulds are cracked and some wires are broken, disconnected or bent, causing instability in the base and the structural shell.”

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was shocked to hear the price tag for the chairs.

“Seriously?” he said. “Has anyone heard of Ikea?

“That’s outrageous.”

Minnan-Wong said the furniture purchase was surprising given the current cost-cutting mantra at City Hall.

“That’s certainly not in keeping with running a tight financial ship,” he said.

After the Sun broke the story on Thursday night, the Toronto Taxpayers Coalition issued a press release accusing the city of playing “musical chairs” with taxpayers’ cash.

“This is completely unacceptable,” coalition spokesman Matthew McGuire stated.

“Surely, the City of Toronto can find a better deal on 30 chairs than $75,000. This is exactly what voters wanted to stop in the last election.”

The group demanded whoever approved the purchase be held accountable.

“Rob Ford said he’s derailed the gravy train, but it’s clearly still chugging along,” McGuire said.

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