Closing arguments are underway in the $6-million libel suit against Toronto’s mayor.

Local restaurant owner George Foulidis accuses Rob Ford of libelling him two years ago when the mayor suggested a leasing deal between Foulidis’s company Tuggs Inc. and the city was corrupt.

The closing arguments, which both the mayor and his councillor brother attended on Monday, were expected to last only one day, but has been extended to Tuesday.

In the summer of 2010, Toronto city council extended a 20-year lease Foulidis had for his Beach neighbourhood Boardwalk restaurant on public land in a sole-sourced, untendered contract for another two decades. This was during a period when Ford was campaigning to be mayor.

The lawsuit relates to comments by Ford in a Toronto Sun article based on a meeting between him and its editorial board. Foulidis alleges that Ford’s comments about the Tuggs deal defamed him because he is the man behind Tuggs and Boardwalk’s owner/operator.

“These in-camera meetings, there’s more corruption and skulduggery going on in there than I’ve ever seen in my life,” Ford told the editorial board. “And if Tuggs isn’t then I don’t know what is.”

On Monday, Foulidis’s lawyer, Brian Shiller, said in his closing arguments that Ford jumped on brewing controversy around the Tuggs deal to illustrate his main campaign plank — stopping the so-called gravy train at city hall.

Shiller says Ford didn’t have any concrete evidence of corruption by Foulidis, city councillors or city staff, rather it was about “seeking votes and winning elections.”

The mayor is arguing that he was talking about the company, not Foulidis himself, and that companies can’t be defamed.

The mayor’s lawyer said because it was during an election campaign, freedom of expression applies in the case.

The mayor has also suggested the lawsuit is politically motivated since other councillors who levelled similar complaints about the Tuggs deal are not being sued.

Foulidis is also suing Bruce Baker, who ran unsuccessfully in Ward 32 and allegedly wrote a letter to the city requesting a police investigation into the Tuggs deal. He allegedly called Foulidis a crook in the letter.

With files from The Canadian Press