The family that owns the Boardwalk Pub has threatened to sue front-runner Rob Ford if he refuses to apologize for calling them corrupt.

At a Thursday morning press conference, owner George Foulidis said his family has become a “political football” and Ford has been exploiting them for political gain.

Ford’s campaign was served with a libel notice Thursday, said Foulidis’ lawyer Brian Shiller, in connection to comments the mayoral candidate made in the Toronto Sun.

The crusading conservative was quoted as saying the contract “smacks of civic corruption” and “stinks to high heaven.” Ford is quoted as having said: “It’s confidential and I wish you guys knew what happened behind closed doors.”

The notice of libel accuses Ford of insinuating Foulidis bribed a local politician to help his family secure a 20-year exclusive vending rights contract near the foot of Woodbine Avenue.

The fact that he does not directly accuse Foulidis, the restaurant or the family’s business — Tuggs Inc. — of corruption is irrelevant, said Shiller.

Ford’s campaign did not respond to an interview request from the Toronto Star, but he has told other media he does not plan to apologize.