Video: More Rob Ford revelations in newly released court documents. Sean Mallen reports
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s aides say they saw him doing drugs, drunk in public and while driving and partying with women believed to be prostitutes, newly released documents show.
Hundreds of pages of documents related to Toronto Police’s investigation into Ford and his friend Sandro Lisi were released Wednesday following a ruling by Justice Ian Nordheimer that the public had a right to know what was in them.
In depth: Rob Ford
According to the documents, Ford’s aides say they tried to curb the mayor’s erratic behaviour involving drugs and alcohol use but often ended up buying him booze themselves.
The documents also mention a domestic assault call to police from Ford’s residence in late August. The section is heavily redacted; there’s no indication the call resulted in any charges.
Nothing in the documents has been proven in court. The mayor hasn’t been charged with anything.
The documents include police interviews with some of those closest to Ford – including former chief of staff Mark Towhey and David Price, a family friend with an unspecified job in the mayor’s office.
They also shed new light on incidents such as St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, when staffers say Ford brought women who may have been sex workers to his city hall office.
Staff members told police they worried about the mayor and his behaviour. It wasn’t uncommon for staffers to buy Ford a mickey of vodka, the documents state – “at any time during the day.” Ford “did not want to be seen purchasing alcohol.”
The documents allege Ford drove drunk, to the point that at least one staffer felt unsafe in the vehicle with him.
In March of this year, the documents state, ex-staffer Kia Nejatian found a joint in the mayor’s desk. He has also seen empty bottles of vodka in the mayor’s office, police say.
“The Mayor’s staff figured that he had an issue with something, both alcohol or prescription pills, and that he needed to straighten himself out for his family,” reads a note from a police interview with former press secretary George Christopoulos.
“They wanted to give him the option to do that. The Mayor was deep in denial.”
This was the reason former chief of staff Mark Towhey was fired, the police notes allege.
“Mark Towhey was fired because he tried to give the right direction and the Mayor did not want to hear that,” notes from Christopoulos’s interview state.
The revelations confirm months-old media reports that those close to the mayor were worried about him – reports Ford repeatedly called lies.
Ford has admitted he smoked crack cocaine and has bought illegal drugs since becoming mayor but insists he’s “absolutely not” an addict. He says incidents in which he was visibly inebriated, incoherent or enraged – including one night at Taste of the Danforth, and an episode filmed in a former supporter’s home – were “isolated incidents.”
Those working in Ford’s office were concerned about the company he kept, police interviews indicate: Some had reservations about Lisi and Dave Price. Some found themselves faced with women claiming “they have smoked a joint with the Mayor on the street outside of the bar. These women were told by the Mayor that they could have a job.” It was up to the mayor’s staff to dissuade them.
The interviews also reveal details of the dynamics within the mayor’s office. Staff frequently gave advice – to get checked for diabetes, for example – and the mayor routinely ignored it. “At times,” read interview notes from a talk with Isaac Ransom, “you could hear Mayor Ford and Towhey arguing in the office.”
“As far as city business went, Mark Towhey was the Mayor,” the documents state. “He was well respected by everyone in the office.”
Christopoulos and former staffer Isaac Ransom resigned “because the mayor was incapable of taking direction,” the documents state. The mayor “does not trust anyone.”
He and his brother Doug Ford also appear to suspect they were being recorded: The mayor asked a woman texting if she was taking his picture; Doug Ford accused a staffer of recording office conversations.
St. Patrick’s Day 2012
Last St. Patrick’s day, the police documents state, the mayor was at the Bier Markt with “two females that may have been prostitutes,” who accompanied Ford and his friends back to city hall late that night.
Bier Markt employee Leonardo Navarro – who had also worked on George Smitherman’s mayoral campaign – told police he was bringing poutine to the mayor’s group around 1 a.m. when he stumbled upon what looked like the mayor and a woman sniffing something.
In an interview with police, Isaac Ransom said that night the mayor was accompanied by a young woman who “may have been an escort or prostitute,” and who had been seen with Ford on a separate occasion at a stag party, the documents state.
According to an email sent by a city hall security staffer, Ford was visibly intoxicated in city hall around 2 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, a half-empty bottle of brandy in hand.
Court documents indicate Ransom told police the mayor was “totally out of it” that night, and was drinking Smirnoff vodka “right from the bottle.”
The mayor was “sweating profusely” and “had problems walking,” the security staffer’s email reads, adding that guards were concerned enough for his safety they took away the bottle and followed him outside before getting him a cab.
The police documents state that Ford became verbally abusive with a female staffer and then with a female security guard, telling her he “was going to eat her box.”
“I am so proud of the record that I have”
People across the political spectrum have called on Ford to resign or at least take a leave of absence to seek treatment. He reiterated Wednesday he has no intention of doing so, save for a six-day vacation in Florida he plans to take this winter.
“I can assure you, I can assure you I am not an alcoholic. I am not a drug addict,” Ford said. “Have I drank? Have I done drugs? Yes, I have,” he said in council Wednesday.
“The reason I drank or did drugs was not because of stress. It was sheer stupidity.”
But Ford insisted he’s “a positive role model” for troubled kids. And even when he admitted he’d “effed up,” Ford said there’s no reason for him to go anywhere.
“I know I’ve done a great job running this city. … I am so proud of the record that I have. I can’t wait til the election.”
Read: Project Brazen documents regarding police investigation into Rob Ford and Sandro Lisi