Toronto Mayor Allegedly Had Prostitutes in His OfficeGerrit De Vynck
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who admits smoking crack cocaine, faced new allegations in police documents released yesterday that he brought prostitutes to his office, guzzled vodka in his car and made a racial slur to a taxi driver.
The allegations, part of documents released by an Ontario court, were made in interviews by police with former Ford staff members. None of the allegations have been proven in court and police have said there isn’t enough evidence to warrant charges against the mayor.
Ford responded today saying he would take legal action against three of his former staffers and a waiter who told police he thought Ford was using cocaine at his Bier Markt restaurant. Ford said one of the women named in the report who came back to his office after a St. Patrick’s Day party last year wasn’t a prostitute.
“She’s a friend, and it makes me sick how people are saying this,” Ford told reporters outside his city hall office. “I’ve never had a prostitute here.”
He also denied making sexual comments to a former staffer on the night of St. Patrick’s Day. “I would never do that, I’m happily married,” he said. “I’ve had enough.”
The documents were released the same day that Ford said for the first time he had bought illegal drugs within the past two years. Ford made the statement amid questioning at a city hall meeting in which a majority of city councilors passed a non-binding motion asking him to take a leave of absence to address his “personal issues.” Ford has refused to resign.
According to the police documents released yesterday, women who may have been prostitutes were in Ford’s office on St. Patrick’s Day, according to two former staff members.
On the same night, Ford called a taxi driver a “Paki,” and made “mocking fake language sounds,” one of the staff members said, according to the documents. Later, Ford made sexual comments to a woman, who now works for Toronto Hydro and used to be an adviser, and claimed to have slept with her.
In another incident last year, a former staff member told police that Ford pulled over his car, drank an 11- or 12-ounce bottle of vodka in two minutes and then drove away. Another staffer told police she bought Ford a bottle of vodka that size twice a week. Iceberg was his preferred brand, according to the documents.
“Drinking and driving is completely unacceptable,” Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong said today. “This mayor needs to resign.”
In an interview with police, Mark Towhey, Ford’s former chief of staff, said he believed the mayor was an alcoholic and that he had consumed alcohol while at city hall, though he’d never seen him drink himself, according to the police documents.
Towhey was fired after recommending the mayor seek treatment, according to the documents.
Federal prosecutor Tom Andreopoulos sent the 500-page document to media yesterday in an e-mail.
Before the latest allegations were released, 30 members of the 44-person council in Canada’s largest city presented a letter asking the mayor to step aside as Toronto’s reputation has been “damaged” and it has become difficult to focus on city business.
Council has become “increasingly concerned by the seemingly endless cycle of allegations, denials and belated admissions about your behavior,” the letter said.
The non-binding motion, backed by Councilor Minnan-Wong, comes as Ford, 44, vowed to remain in office after saying last week he smoked crack likely in one of his “drunken stupors.” Ford, who has been mayor since 2010, admitted to using the drug after Toronto police said on Oct. 29 they had found a video showing him inhaling from a glass crack pipe.
The Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker first reported they had seen the video six months ago. Ford had subsequently questioned its existence and denied he was a crack addict.
The mayor’s statement that he bought drugs in the past two years has been passed onto police investigators, Constable Victor Kwong, a spokesman for Toronto Police Service, said yesterday by phone. He declined to say whether police have made any decisions in light of the new information.
While Ford said he was “humiliated” by his recent actions, he again refused yesterday to step aside and said he would run in municipal elections next year.
“There is no need for me to take a leave of absence,” Ford said in city council. He said he used drugs “out of sheer stupidity” and had been “inebriated” a number of times.
“Apologizing and saying sorry, you can only say that so many times,” Ford said later. “There’s nothing else to say guys, I really effed up.”
Councilor Doug Ford jumped to his brother’s defense during deliberations in the morning.
“Councilor Minnan-Wong, everyone in this chamber is coming across as holier-than-thou, lily-white,” Doug Ford said. “None of you have ever done anything wrong, have you? Never, never. The question is, have you ever smoked marijuana?”
Doug Ford continued loudly demanding an answer from Minnan-Wong about his drug use until his microphone was switched off and Nunziata called a recess.
The motion is symbolic because there’s nothing city council can do to force a sitting mayor from office, according to municipal rules.
A mayor can only be thrown out of office under the municipal act if he’s tried, convicted and sentenced for a crime, Clayton Ruby, a partner at Toronto-based law firm Ruby Shiller Chan Hasan Barristers, said last week.
Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, said yesterday it will protect its Ford script and oval logo from use by the mayor’s supporters.
At an event on Nov. 12, Ford signed shirts emblazoned with “Ford Nation” incorporating the automaker’s logo at a United Way charity event, the National Post newspaper reported.
“Ford did not grant permission for use of its logo,” Jay Cooney, a company spokesman, said yesterday by telephone. “We view it as an unauthorized use of our trademark and have asked it to be stopped.”