May 1, 2014 10:06 am

‘Doug is away, Rob Ford will play': Kevin Donovan

WATCH: Investigative reporter for the Toronto Star Kevin Donovan discusses Mayor Rob Ford’s substance abuse problems and the latest report that he allegedly did cocaine at a Toronto club.

TORONTO – Rob Ford’s pattern of questionable behaviour is no surprise to journalists who cover the Toronto Mayor on a daily basis.

“I was thinking on Monday morning where is Doug Ford?” questioned Toronto Star reporter Kevin Donovan Thursday on Global Toronto’s The Morning Show.

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“He has not been around for a while. I had a feeling something was going to happen.”

“When Doug is away, as people who watch him say, Rob Ford will play. It seems to be what’s happening,” said Donovan.

Ford’s behaviour has yet again been brought into the spotlight after multiple media reports surfaced allegedly linking the Toronto mayor with drug and alcohol abuse.

READ MORE: A history of Rob Ford denials and admissions

Ford has since taken a leave of absence from his mayoral duties, including his re-election bid, after The Toronto Sun reportedly obtained an audio recording of Ford making offensive remarks in an Etobicoke bar Monday night and The Globe and Mail revealed the existence of a second video of Ford smoking what looks like crack-cocaine.

The Star also published an article Thursday claiming witnesses saw Ford using cocaine at Muzik nightclub on March 15.

“On March 15, there was a video of Ford getting in to a cab outside of city hall,” Donovan said.

“He takes these four people, just complete strangers to him, back to his house in Etobicoke. They order some sort of party bus, head down to Musik nightclub. He’s there for about 5 to 7 hours.”

“There’s cocaine involved that night,” said Donovan.

That same evening Ford had an incident with Justin Bieber when the 20-year-old pop star asked the mayor if he had any crack when the two met.

“Ford gets angry, he goes back to his booth, disappears to a washroom. Does something in there, comes out completely out of it and starts saying things to the party hostesses, ‘My wife and kids hate me’,” explained Donovan.

“The man is a train wreck.”

Ford has denied allegations that he is addicted to drugs or alcohol, though he has admitted having used crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor” during his tenure as mayor of Canada’s largest city.

Donovan said the owner of the Musik nightclub, Zlatko Starkovski, has close ties to Ford and provided free alcohol to public functions in the past.

“Mayor Ford and his brother have this big Ford Fest every year. They had two of them last year and who provided the liquor license and was giving away the booze,” he said.

The Star report said Starkovski, and people who work for him, are listed as registered lobbyists to seek improvements to the nightclub’s deal at Exhibition Place.

“They’ve been lobbying the city so it’s probably improper that the Ford’s are accepting any type of benefit.”

On the night of March 15, Donovan said no video of the evening has ever surfaced “because everybody had their cameras taken away.”

“Security at Exhibition grounds is very tight and Mayor Ford is described to people that see him there as a very important, in fact the most important guest they ever have. So they didn’t want any videos taken.”

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