Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s ex-staffers detail erratic behavior in documents
(CNN) — Explosive new allegations surfaced about embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in court documents released Wednesday — the same day the city council voted to ask him to take a leave of absence.
The court report, more than 500 pages long, alleges a pattern of drug use, and erratic and sometimes abusive behavior by the mayor. A judge ordered the report’s release late last month.
The documents include police interviews with former staff members, information obtained from surveillance crews and cameras, and even an examination of the mayor’s garbage.
The documents were used by Canadian police to get a search warrant for Alexander Lisi, Ford’s friend and occasional driver, whom police accuse of marijuana possession and trafficking.
Several staffers said they were asked to buy alcohol for the mayor. One incident described by a former staffer alleged that Ford, while driving, stopped the vehicle, guzzled some vodka, and drove on.
Chris Fickel, who worked as a special assistant to Ford, said the mayor would ask him to perform odd jobs at his house. Fickel said he would be called “to change light bulbs in the front lawn, change batteries in his children’s toys, buying cartons of cigarettes, bleach, laundry detergent and diet Coke for the mayor’s wife.”
One staffer told police the mayor was inebriated on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012 and got into a physical altercation with two staff members. He alleges the mayor was verbally abusive and inappropriate with a female staff member.
Another staffer said the same night, he saw a woman who may have been an escort or prostitute in the mayor’s office.
Ford’s former press secretary George Christopoulos also said women often came to the mayor’s office, “and told staffers that 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.” Christopoulos would then have to interview these women and try to talk them out of a job.
None of the allegations against Ford has been proven, and he faces no criminal charges.
Ford vows to stay on the job
Despite the Toronto City Council’s motion, the mayor of Canada’s largest city insists he will stay on the job.
Wednesday’s vote is largely symbolic — it does not have the power to force Ford from his post.
The tense council meeting came more than a week after Ford admitted smoking crack cocaine.
Days after that admission, a new video showed a ranting, swearing Ford threatening to kill someone.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Ford made a further confession to the council.
He said he has purchased illegal drugs within the past two years, while he was in office.
Despite his escalating troubles, Ford insists he has been a good mayor and that voters will decide during next year’s election whether to keep him.
“I have made a mistake. I am human,” he said. “I apologize. I want to move on.”
Ford said that he is being subjected to a “public flogging” and that the experience has been the most humiliating thing in his life, maybe the worst week in his life next to his father’s death.
Despite the admission of drug use and of heavy drinking, Ford flatly denied that he is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
“The reason I drank or did drugs was not because of stress, it was out of sheer stupidity,” he said. “That’s all it was.”
Ford’s brother, Councilor Doug Ford, and other family members have defended the embattled mayor.
On Wednesday, Doug Ford appeared on CNN and blamed the scandal on politics.
“Rob does not come into work drunk,” he told CNN. “He said he’s tried illicit drugs under a drunken stupor.”
“And he’s not doing drugs. And he’s not drinking. So he’s moving in the right direction, in my opinion, but the public flogging, never seen anything like it. This man has apologized profusely. He’s asked for forgiveness, and the rest is sheer politics down here.”
CNN’s Paula Newton contributed to this report.
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