TORONTO – Mark Towhey is no longer Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff.
“I am no longer the chief of staff. I did not resign,” Towhey said as he was escorted out of City Hall Thursday afternoon followed by a barrage of media.
He briefly quipped that he was not surprised by the action.
It’s currently unclear exactly what led to Towhey’s departure as chief of staff but comes amid allegations that a video exists of Mayor Rob Ford smoking what could be crack cocaine.
Towhey refused to say what kind of advice he had given the mayor regarding the allegations.
“I’ve given the mayor my advice. He can choose to take it or not take it,” Towhey said. “My advice is for him and him alone.”
The mayor has called the allegations “ridiculous.” His brother Doug Ford said they were “untrue.”
Global News has not yet been able to view the video in question and cannot independently verify the contents.
Towhey became the mayor’s chief of staff in August, 2012 after Amir Remtulla left the post to take a job with the 2015 Pan Am Games.
VIDEO: Mark Towhey leaves City Hall after being fired from his position as the mayor’s chief of staff.
Towhey’s firing comes just a day after the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) dropped the mayor as the football coach at Don Bosco Secondary School in Etobicoke.
Ford’s removal, TCDSB officials say, had nothing to do with the recent allegations but instead came at the culmination of a review initiated by the board over remarks the mayor made in an interview.
Councillor Jaye Robinson said she was told Towhey’s departure was related to football and was a “tipping point issue.”
Seven days after the allegations were reported, there has been little comment from the mayor or those close to him.
Late Thursday afternoon, while reporters waited for a glimpse of the mayor, Councillor Doug Ford made a short statement to the media and effectively distracted the crowd of media while the mayor left through the back door of his office.
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Councillors were reluctant to comment on either the allegations or Towhey’s departure but insisted the business of the city will continue despite a supposed crisis in the mayor’s office.
“The committee structure will continue, the business will get done, the business has to get done. The executive committee will meet whether the mayor is there or not,” TTC Chair Karen Stintz said.
The mayor’s office issued a short statement Thursday afternoon confirming Towhey’s departure and adding that Earl Provost, the deputy chief of staff to the mayor, will assume the role of acting chief of staff.
Prior to leaving, Towhey made a small comment to the media acknowledging his departure:
“I’ve had a great time working with you guys. It was an honour and a privilege working with the staff of the mayor’s office. They’re outstanding professionals. They’ve done great work and I hope to work with them again someday.”
– With files from The Canadian Press