December 18, 2013 2:33 pm

2013 review: The year in Rob Ford

Mayor Rob Ford walks away after a press conference with his budget chief Frank DiGiorgio at Toronto City Hall on Dec. 10, 2013.

Canadian Press

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.

Story continues below

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 saga

A 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:

Jan. 1

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.


Jan. 15/16

Ford votes against his own budget and loses his budget chair, Mike Del Grande.

Jan. 24

Ford’s victorious in court as the conflict-of-interest case against him is thrown out on what lawyer Clay Ruby calls a “technicality.”

Feb. 1

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.
March 8
Former mayoral rival Sarah Thomson accuses Ford of groping her during an event for the  Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee. He calls the allegation “completely false.”
March 26

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.”

March 27
Police wiretaps allege two acquaintances of Ford – Mohamed Siad and Siyadin Abdi – discussed the Garrison Ball story and a video they have of the mayor – what police believe is the alleged crack video. According to the police documents, the two recall Ford offering to buy the video for "five thousand and a car." They discuss asking for more – closer to $150,000 – and offering it to media organizations.
siad-abdi1 siad-abdi2
April 20

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.

April 21
Ford offers to explain to women how politics works.
May 16

U.S. website Gawker was first to publish this image of Mayor Rob Ford with three men.

Screenshot / Gawker

May 17

Ford calls the crack video allegations “ridiculous” but doesn’t comment further.
May 22
Ford fired as Don Bosco football coach. Police wiretaps suggest he wanted to use city resources to throw his players a party and staff refused to cooperate.
May 23
May 24
May 25
May 26
Ford says he wants to continue as mayor
May 27
George Christopolous and Isaac Ransom resign. And Ford apologizes for calling reporters maggots. “I sincerely apologize to each and everyone of you. I understand you have a job to do,” he said.
May 30
Kia Nejatian and Brian Johnston resign. Mayor has no plans to do the same.
June 15
June 19
Ford staffer Chris Fickel resigns.
June 26
Ford staffer and close friend of the family David Price is suspended after apparently making misleading phone calls to radio shows and reporters.
New allegation arises in Rob Ford scandal
July 17
July 18
Aug. 9
Sept. 9
The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail defend their journalistic practices when reporting on Rob Ford.
Sept. 13
Charges dropped in Ford juice assault. Oh, and Ford releases a highlight reel:

Sept. 20
Sept. 27
Ford, furious, says he “absolutely” owes Torontonians an apology over $75,000 spent on refurbished heritage chairs at city hall.
Oct. 1

Sandro Lisi, Ford's friend and sometime driver, is arrested on drug-related charges. Ford is “shocked.”

Oct. 8
Oct. 16
Ontario Press Council rejects complaints over Globe, Star Ford coverage.
Oct. 22
Court documents reveal Ford wrote Lisi a reference letter praising his work ethic and calling him a close friend. Ford does not want to talk about it.
Oct. 31
Nov. 1
Nov. 2
Nov. 3
On his radio show Ford apologizes for “a lot of stupid things,” says he "shouldn't have got hammered down at the Danforth" and calls on Chief Blair to release a video Ford previously said did not exist. His deputy mayor wants a council-approved driver to keep an eye on him.
Nov. 4
Ford insists in a radio interview he’s neither an alcoholic or a drug addict. He ignores repeated queries as to whether he’s ever smoked crack.
Nov. 5

Nov. 6

Ford policy advisor Brooks Barnett quits.

Nov. 7

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.

Nov. 8

The Ford brothers’ radio show goes off the air.

Nov. 12

Everyone wants a bobblehead of the mayor.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a Rob Ford bobblehead doll at Toronto city hall on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013.

Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press

Nov. 13

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.


Nov. 14

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.

Explicit language.

Nov. 15

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.

Nov. 17

Rob Ford goes to a football game (despite pleas not to).

And swears on CNN, then apologizes.

Nov. 18

Just another day at city council.

Also this, for which Ford later apologized.

Then, council cut Ford’s budget and stripped more of his powers. "You have just attacked Kuwait," he said.

Nov. 19

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.

Nov. 21

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.”

Nov. 25

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.

Dec. 1

Ford attends another football game. Later says he had no idea he was posing for pictures with Hells Angels.

Rob Ford

Dec. 4

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.”

Dec. 5

Rob Ford on the radio: “I don’t believe in all this public-funded health care.” Plus: What we can learn from Nelson Mandela.

Dec. 9

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.

Dec. 10

Ford refuses to apologize for his insinuation about Daniel Dale. "I stand by every word I said with Conrad Black in my interview."

Dec. 12

Daniel Dale serves Ford with a libel notice, asking him and Vision TV to apologize "immediately ‘publicly, abjectly, unreservedly and completely."

Dec. 15

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is miffed at Jason Kenney’s suggestion Ford should resign. And Ford goes to church.

Dec. 16

Ford wants to contract out garbage collection east of Yonge Street.

Dec. 17

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."

Dale’s suing anyway.

Then this happened:

© Global News, 2013

Report an error