Video: Court documents paint Toronto mayor as ‘salacious’

Rob Ford refuses to step down despite crack smoking admission and city council vote

Toronto's embattled mayor, Rob Ford, professed a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and gangs on Wednesday (November 13), but he also admitted he has bought illegal drugs in the past two years.

Thu, Nov 14, 2013, 13:55

Shortly after Toronto’s City Council voted last night to ask Mayor Rob Ford to step down temporarily, a court released documents that painted a salacious picture of a combative, drunken mayor who assaulted staff members and entertained suspected prostitutes.

Last week Ford admitted to having smoked crack cocaine and being drunk repeatedly to the point of losing control. But he refused to step down.

During the debate before last night’s vote, Ford repeatedly said that he would not accede to any request from the council that he take a leave of absence.

The motion, which was approved by a vote of 37-5, is symbolic since the council has no legal means to force Ford, who is married and has two school-age children, from office.

The lively, often heated debate was immediately overshadowed by the release of redacted court documents that were part of a 500-page sworn statement used by the police to obtain a search warrant against Alexander Sandro Lisi, a friend of and occasional driver for Ford, and a felon now facing drug and extortion charges.

The documents, which are based on police surveillance and wiretaps as well as police interviews with Ford’s staff and others, suggest that the mayor entertained a woman suspected of being a prostitute at his City Hall office, used cocaine at a popular downtown bar and repeatedly drove his Cadillac SUV while drunk.

Staff members interviewed told the police that they were concerned about the mayor’s drug and alcohol use and his increasing refusal to take advice about matters both personal and political. Isaac Ransom, the mayor’s former special assistant for communications, told the police that on St. Patrick’s Day 2012, he was summoned to Ford’s office around 9pm and that Ford appeared to have drunk about half of a 40-ounce bottle of vodka as well as several beers.

The mayor, he said, was with several people, including a woman whom Ransom believed to be a prostitute. The police documents indicate that the woman had once accompanied Ford to a stag party. Sometime after 11pm, Ford and the others took a taxi to the Bier Markt, a downtown restaurant and bar, while Ransom initially stayed behind to summon other aides to the bar.

According to the police, Ford called the cabdriver a racial epithet, mimicked his accent and threw business cards at him.

Ransom, who arrived later, and other witnesses said that Ford and two young women were seated in a private room and that it appeared that they were using cocaine. As he left the bar about 2am, Ford lurched over the dance floor and began knocking other people over before falling down himself, staff members and bar employees told the police. He was removed by members of the bar’s security staff.

Back at City Hall again, he pushed a man who worked on his staff to the ground and pinned another to the wall after they suggested that he go home. He also made explicit sexual remarks to a female former staff member, according to the document.

Another staff member told the police that, on a different day, he was with Ford in his SUV when the mayor pulled over and gulped a 12-ounce bottle of vodka and a bottle of Gatorade - right after coaching a high school football game. That man said he had found another way back to City Hall.

Other staff members reported seeing Ford using the opiate OxyContin and exhibiting bizarre behavior after political setbacks, including a long, early-morning subway ride during which he asked a woman standing on the platform out to dinner. Women would regularly appear at Ford’s office, some staff members said. According to the staff members, most of the women said they had smoked marijuana with the mayor outside a bar and he had promised them a job. None apparently was hired.

Bloomberg