Rob Ford’s year began with a legal victory and his allies’ hope for an end to “distractions.”
It ends with Ford’s personal “distractions” turned all-consuming as the mayor, sidelined from city business by his council colleagues and facing a defamation lawsuit, wages a mayoral campaign that looks remarkably like his first: that of a bombastic outsider, railing against everyone.
Much of what we've learned in the past year reinforces things that were known or alleged when Toronto elected Ford in 2010; now, we’re left explaining to the rest of the world how exactly that happened.
In depth: The Rob Ford sagaA quick 2013 tally:
Less-than-laudatory videos suggesting inebriation (one yet to be made public)
Refusals to resign
Staff lost (plus Sandro Lisi, Dave Price and 11 transferred to deputy mayor)
Dollars cut from office budget
Pages of one police Information to Obtain
Subway passed (and mostly funded).
Over-elucidated sexual proclivity.
To refresh your memory, a quick look back at 2013 in Ford:
New Year’s Eve levee gives citizens the chance to line up and meet the mayor and several councillors who joined him.
“I’m just hoping there are going to be less distractions this year, then-Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday says.
Ford votes against his own budget and loses his budget chair, Mike Del Grande.
Ford’s victorious in court as the conflict-of-interest case against him is thrown out on what lawyer Clay Ruby calls a “technicality.”
Audit finds Ford spent more than $40,000 over his limit during the election campaign and broke multiple rules. (The audit committee votes not to pursue a probe Feb. 25, which Ford calls “a great day for democracy”)Some time this month, police say, a video is shot of Ford smoking what looks like crack cocaine.
A Toronto Star article reports Ford was asked to leave a military ball the previous month because he was drunk. Ford later denies this, calling the Star reporters “pathological liars.”
Police wiretaps allege a series of conversations between apparent acquaintances of Ford beginning early in the morning of April 20, when Elena Basso allegedly called up people soliciting drugs on Ford’s behalf. Documents allege subsequent wiretapped phone calls report the mayor smoking someone’s “rocks,” followed by a series of exchanges regarding a phone Ford told his staff he misplaced at a community clean-up but which his friend accused dealers of taking from the mayor the night before. The phone is eventually returned, allegedly in exchange for weed, at a Country Style.
Ford policy advisor Brooks Barnett quits.
Another video emerges, purchased by the Toronto Star, showing Ford in an apparent rage. It looks like it was filmed over the summer, during the byelection. In it Ford appears energetic and agitated, vows to kill someone, asks for “10 minutes to make sure he’s dead.” Ford says he was “extremely, extremely inebriated.” And has no plans to resign.
Ford’s mom and sister speak to the media for the first time in months, saying he has a weight problem and is being bullied. “He won’t resign and I don’t want him to,” mom Diane Ford says.
The Ford brothers’ radio show goes off the air.
City council calls on mayor to take a leave of absence and/or resign. (Spoiler: He doesn’t)
Further police documents allege staff saw him inebriated and were dispatched to buy him booze. Ford denies the allegations.
Ford denies police document allegations in colourful terms that reveal more about his sex life than most people wanted to know. He later apologizes for those remarks, claiming he “saw red” when asked to answer accusations he sexually harassed a former staffer. Meanwhile Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’ll intervene only if city council can “clearly indicate” it’s dysfunctional.
City council strips Ford of most of his powers as mayor (there aren’t many). Ford says he’ll sue. Wynne says this vote indicates council is functional and there’s no need for her to step in.
And swears on CNN, then apologizes.
Ford Nation – the Sun News TV show, not the hyper-loyal voting bloc – is kaput after a single episode. And Tory MP Jason Kenney thinks Ford should resign as Norm Kelly takes 11 of his staff and most of his powers.
Ford talks to a business crowd at Casa Loma and allows himself an uncharacteristic moment of self-reflexive levity: “We have reduced councillors’ budgets by $6.4 million in the last three years,” he said. “And even more in the last three days.”
Ford, who pushed hard for a subway funded by a 0.5 per cent tax increase, slams a budget proposal that would raise property taxes by a total 2.5 per cent. Doesn’t say where money should come from instead.
Ford attends another football game. Later says he had no idea he was posing for pictures with Hells Angels.
Newly released court documents allege Ford tried to buy a video of him smoking crack cocaine for $5,000 and a car weeks before media reports of the alleged crack video surfaced. Ford later calls this an “outright lie.”
Rob Ford on the radio: “I don’t believe in all this public-funded health care.” Plus: What we can learn from Nelson Mandela.
In an interview with Conrad Black, refers to “Daniel Dale, in my backyard.” “He’s taking photos of little kids,” Ford said during the interview. “I don’t want to say that word, but you start thinking ‘What’s this guy all about?’” Dale has said he was not in the backyard, was not near the fence, was not taking pictures of the house, yard or anyone’s children.
Daniel Dale serves Ford with a libel notice, asking him and Vision TV to apologize "immediately ‘publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely."
After reluctantly apologizing for for calling his fellow councillors “corrupt,” Ford apologizes to Daniel Dale, kind of: He’s sorry “for the way in which the media has interpreted my statements.” He takes issue “with his bosses at the Toronto Star to put him and I in this situation.” And he wishes “to sincerely apologize again to Mr. Dale if my actual words have caused him any harm or personal offence."
I asked Mayor Ford to 1) retract all of his false claims about my conduct and 2) issue an unreserved, abject, complete apology.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
His statement today didn’t come close. I’m proceeding with a defamation lawsuit.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 17, 2013
Then this happened:
© Global News, 2013