Mayor Rob Ford admits to smoking crack cocaine
ABOVE: Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine. Could he be charged? Sean Mallen reports.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford has smoked crack cocaine.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” he told a crush of reporters outside his office.
I asked the mayor if he has ever smoked crack cocaine. He said yes.
— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) November 5, 2013
Ford said he used crack cocaine close to a year ago, suggesting it might have been while he was drunk.
“[It was] probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago,” he said. “All I can do now is apologize and move on.”
Toronto Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said investigators are aware of the mayor’s admission but wouldn’t say whether it could lead to charges.
Last fall would have been almost two years into Ford’s mayoralty, and several months after he showed up visibly inebriated at city hall at 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, according to a security guard’s email.
WATCH: Wynne says Ford can make his own decision to stay or go. Alan Carter reports.
The revelation comes after days of dodging questions – Ford made a blanket apology on his radio show Sunday and made reference to a pair of drunken episodes but wouldn’t address any other suggestions of substance abuse.
Allegations of crack cocaine use have dogged the mayor since May, when Gawker and the Toronto Star reported on a video showing the mayor smoking what looked like crack cocaine.
The issue made headlines again last week when Police Chief Bill Blair acknowledged that he had seen the alleged video.
Until Tuesday morning the mayor had refused to address crack use or the video, saying he can’t comment on a video he has not seen.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” Ford said in a statement in May – the closest he had come to addressing the issue.
It isn’t clear why he decided to speak to reporters about this Tuesday – or why he appeared to prompt them to ask him.
“You asked me a question back in May. You can repeat that question,” he said, later suggesting that he would have told them earlier, had they phrased their query differently.
“You ask the question properly, I’ll answer it. … I wasn’t lying. You didn’t ask the correct questions. I am not an addict, nor do I do drugs. I’ve made mistakes in the past.”
WATCH: Councillors Paula Fletcher and John Filion react to Rob Ford’s bombshell that he used crack cocaine
Less than an hour after the mayor’s admission, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a longtime ally of Ford’s, put forward a motion urging the mayor to step aside.
“We as a Council believe the Mayor’s conduct is unacceptable and must stop,” the motion reads. “He is hurting himself. He is hurting the City of Toronto.”
Karen Stintz said in a statement posted on her website that the mayor’s admission was “a betrayal to many in our city, and likely to many of his supporters.”
Ford renewed his call for the video to be made public. Police have said they can’t do that as it’s being used as evidence in the case of Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi, who faces an extortion charge in relation to the video. Lisi’s accused of using extortion to get the video in the days immediately following the Toronto Star and Gawker reports.
In calling for Blair to release the video, the mayor’s lawyer Dennis Morris said on AM640 last week that Ford “said this from day one. He does not smoke crack cocaine and there’s no video showing him smoking crack cocaine.”
Councillor Jaye Robinson, who was booted from the mayor’s executive committee after she suggested he step down in May, renewed her call for the mayor’s resignation Tuesday.
“Clearly today and through the course of the last few days we’ve learned he has personal issues that are affecting his ability to conduct himself in his position as mayor of Toronto,” she said. “He does not have a shred of credibility.”
Council will vote on a motion next week to strip the mayor of his power to appoint people to committees.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also weighed in while at Queen’s Park shortly after the mayor’s admission.
“My concern is that what’s happening at city hall it makes it very difficult for the business of city hall to carry on in a normal way and that is my biggest concern as a citizen of this city and as the premier,” she said. “We want municipalities to be able to function.”
She wouldn’t say if or when the province would step in but said it’s up to the police and judicial system to “take action.”
WATCH: Peter Mackay says it’s a “sad day for the city of Toronto.”
Peter Mackay said Ford’s admission marks a “sad day” Toronto.
“You know where I stand on the use of illegal drugs,” he said. “As a human being I think that the mayor of Toronto needs to get help.”
But the Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment on the mayor’s admission.
More to come.