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Ex-Ford staff allege mayor did drugs, drank & consorted with suspected prostitutes

Mayor Rob Ford arrives to host his weekly radio show in Toronto on Nov. 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

More bombshells in the Rob Ford scandal were dropped on Wednesday after a judge ruled that redacted portions of a police document, involving a police investigation of the mayor and his friend Alexander Lisi, were made public.

The document is chock full of allegations of drugs and alcohol use, as well as interactions with suspected “prostitutes.”

The previously redacted information comes from police interviews with former staffers of the mayor in a document that contains allegations not proven in court.

The mayor’s office tells CityNews that Ford knows he needs to address the latest allegations and plans to hold a news conference which has yet to be scheduled.

The redacted portions relate to police interviews with some of Ford’s key staff members, including George Christopoulos, David Price, Mark Towhey and Isaac Ransom.

Towhey interview

According to the documents, Towhey told police he’d never seen Ford use drugs or drink alcohol at events but believed the mayor was an alcoholic.

Confirming what the mayor has said about a drunken episode on St. Patricks Day last year, Towhey said the mayor was very drunk that night at the Bier Markt, and that chief of staff Earl Provost told him he believes he saw Ford take Oxycontin. Ford got into a physical fight with two staffers back at his office that night, Towhey said he was told.

Towhey said a staffer once said he found a marijuana joint in the mayor’s desk, but when he tried to show it to him it was gone.

On the night of the Garrison military fundraiser last March – of which there were allegations Ford was asked by organizers to leave because he was inebriated — Towhey said he told the mayor not to attend because he felt the mayor wasn’t in a presentable state, he was so late and almost incoherent when he spoke to the mayor on the phone. He said Ford needed help getting into the building and that he was flustered, agitated and flushed.

When Towhey tried to prevent him from entering the building, he told police, Ford got very angry with him.

Following that event, Towhey removed all night events from the mayor’s calendar.

Towhey added that staff often bought alcohol for Ford. Towhey also believes Ford drank alcohol while at city hall.

Towhey told police one staffer, David Fickel, told him that Ford stopped one time and drank a mickey while driving.

Nico Fidani — who was a special assistant to Ford and whose family is good friends with the mayor — bought a mickey of vodka for Ford and dropped it off at this house, Towhey told police.

Fidani apparently told Towhey he often received unusual calls from Ford making strange requests like picking up two cases of diet Coke for the mayor and sometimes he sounded intoxicated.

Chris Fickel interview

Fickel, who volunteered a lot for Don Bosco Eagles high school football team that Ford coached, asked another coach Payman Aboodowleh, why he wasn’t talking to the mayor anymore.

Fickel told police Aboodowleh said he was worried about the mayor because he thought the mayor “did a lot of cocaine” and that he has seen Ford do it.

He was told they were asked to leave a place because Ford was out of control and high on cocaine.

Fickel said he saw Ford smoke pot in November 2012 when he went over to the mayor’s house to fix his wife’s computer. He has seen Ford intoxicated many times, including at the office, during football practices and at events.

Fickel, who has bought alcohol for Ford seven to 10 times, also believes the mayor has a problem with alcohol. Other staff also bought alcohol for Ford about 10 times a month.

But he has never seen the mayor drunk at the office and has never seen him misuse prescription drugs.

He’s only seen the mayor drink a mickey of vodka once after football practice. Fickel was in the car with Ford and Aboodowleh when the mayor pulled over and drank it with Gatorade in about two minutes.

Fickel said he has never told anyone about the incident — but he believes the mayor is an alcoholic and says his behaviour is erratic and unpredictable.

Ford was described as “Jekyll and Hyde.” He would belittle Fickle and verbally abuse him in front of other people and berate other staff too.

Isaac Ransom interview

Ransom, who was Ford’s special assistant of communications, told police he resigned because the job was stressful and Ford’s life was affecting his own personal life. He and Christopoulos were upset that the mayor didn’t take their advice regarding the speech on the crack video.

Ford was given three speech options: complete denial, admit he had a problem or resign.

When senior staffers asked Ford about the video, he denied it and said “this is not the worst that is going to happen” and “that this is going to blow up and there will be people in bigger trouble than him.”

Ransom didn’t understand that comment and asked Ford what he meant by that but he kept saying the situation was bigger than him and that he wasn’t involved.

Ford delayed his response to the scandal and would disappear for weeks at a time with only one employee knowing his whereabouts.

Ransom, who also believed Ford has a substance abuse problem, said staffers did personal errands and bought alcohol for the mayor.

Ransom said he was called to the office on the night of St. Patrick’s Day. Ford was with his friend Peter Kordas, policy advisor Brooks Barnett and a woman called Alana who may have been an escort or prostitute. Alana has also been seen with the mayor at a stag party.

Ford had drunk half a 40 oz. bottle of Smirnoff vodka when Ransom arrived and described an out of it mayor.

The mayor talked about getting hammered and laid that night. Ransom called Provost to the office and tried to get Ford to stay there and not go to the Bier Markt. Ransom was concerned because Alana and Kordas had hash and pot.

Ford wanted to smoke it with them but staffers stopped him.

The mayor then went to the Bier Markt and spent some time in a private room with his group, and during the course of the evening a friend of Alana’s showed up.

The mayor was seen only drinking once at the bar and he didn’t leave the private room until he decided to go to the dance floor where he stumbled around the dance floor and fell, Ransom said.

With the help of security, staff helped the mayor from the bar into a taxi and brought them back to city hall.

Back at the office Ford charged at Barnett and pushed Provost because he was agitated they were telling him to go home.

Ford claimed to have slept a female member of his staff that night, Ransom said.

Ford took a cab home with Provost, who told Ransom that the mayor almost hit him when they got to his home and he drove off in his own vehicle.

Christopoulos interview

Christopoulos, who was Ford’s press secretary until May 27, told police that two staffers had expressed concern to him about the mayor’s use of alcohol, including drinking and driving.

He told police that Towhey, Ford’s chief of staff until May 23, was fired because he tried to give Ford the right advice, which the mayor didn’t want to hear.

Christopulous said he and Ransom resigned because Ford was “incapable of taking direction and he doesn’t trust anyone.”

Christopoulos said some women came to the mayor’s office saying Ford said they could have a job after they smoked joints with the mayor outside of bars.

According to Christopoulos, Ford told him that he knew Anthony Smith, but didn’t say how he knew him. Smith was pictured with the mayor and two other men in the infamous photo in front of what police said was a crack house. Smith was shot and killed during a dispute outside a downtown nightclub in March.

Price interview

Price, who is the mayor’s director of operations and logistics, told police he had never seen the mayor do drugs and that Ford never indicated the crack video existed.

Price believed that Ford drank too much. He also said the mayor and his brother Doug aren’t as close as people think. He described the mayor as “very stubborn,” that he barks at this staff and that Price disagreed with the authoritarian way he runs his office.

Bier Markt waiter Navarro

Leonardo Navarro, who was a waiter at the Bier Markt, told police he was working when the mayor and a group of people were in a private room of the bar. He said he saw Ford and a woman with their back to him and their heads down, trying to hide what they were doing and that he heard “two sniffs.” He believed the mayor was doing coke based on the way he was acting, though he said he checked the bar’s security footage but couldn’t see much on there.

After that Barnett gave Navarro his business card and told him to call if he ever needed anything and “don’t tell anyone what you saw here tonight.”

Navarro said said there were five or six people in the private room including some women who didn’t appear to be the mayor’s staff.

Later that night, a security guard helped a stumbling Ford out of the bar. He later recounted the story to the Toronto Star and got into trouble with management.

Zach Apostoleris, who is a Bier Markt bartender, told police he saw a commotion on the dance floor that night and that Ford had charged the dance floor and was a “big sweaty fat mess.”

With files from The Canadian Press