Mark Byrnes is a senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
Former staffers believe the Toronto mayor has a serious drinking problem. Restaurant employees claim to have seen him use cocaine.
A judge ruled earlier today that some blacked-out portions of the documents used to obtain a search warrant for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's friend, Alexander Lisi, can be made public. And public they have become, as reporters have devoured the papers amid a tumultuous city council meeting.
The Toronto Sun reports that previously redacted information in the police report includes interviews with Ford's former staffers, who discuss the mayor's drunk driving, his drug usage, and the presence of a sex worker inside the mayor's office.
Iain MacKinnon, the lawyer representing multiple media outlets asking to overturn the sealing order on the police document, told the Sun that inside the nearly 500 pages of information, staffers express concern over Ford's alcoholism and drunk driving, while explaining the reasons why they were either fired by Ford (giving the mayor advice he didn't want to hear) or quit working for him (because the mayor is "incapable of taking direction and doesn't trust anyone").
The documents also show that Ford's former special assistant of communications told police that the mayor summoned him to City Hall one night and saw a woman he believed to be an escort. Ford's staff tried to convince him not to go out that night, but he did; this was the previously reported, infamous intoxicated night out on St. Patrick's Day 2012.
That same night, a waiter told police he saw Ford snorting cocaine in a private room at the establishment, adding that he saw the mayor and a woman at one point with their heads down and then heard “two sniffs.” The waiter was then told by one of Ford's staffers not to tell anyone what he saw.
The police documents also reportedly include former staffers saying that members of Ford's staff often buy booze for him and that women would appear at the office saying that the mayor told them they could have a job after smoking marijuana with him outside of bars. One staffer said to police that he saw Ford drink "a mickey of vodka" while driving them from a football game. The staffer then demanded to be let out of the car and took a bus home.
At a lengthy city council session today, councillors voted 37-5 in favor of asking the mayor to take a leave of absence. While the measure was being introduced, Doug Ford, the mayor's brother who is also a city councillor, stood up and interrupted, shouting, “None of you have done anything wrong, ever. Never!”
Much later, the mayor had his chance to speak, apologizing for his actions again while also suggesting he's not the only city hall official with demons, saying that "we all know stories about each other here." Presenting himself as the better man for not going public with said "demons" he added, "I wasn't brought up that way. I'm not a rat." He then called for mandatory drug and alcohol testing for all city councillors by December 1 this year. The council declined to take up the mayor's suggestion.
Ford has said many times before that he has no intention to resign, and today's session didn't offer any glimpse of him changing his mind. "I was elected to come down here and straighten this mess out. I know I've done a great job," later adding, "I'm so proud of the record I have. I can't wait for the election."
As of publication, Toronto Star reporter Robin Doolittle is live-tweeting more details from the police report as she reads them. You can follow that by clicking here.