Mayor Rob Ford apologized for his vulgar language and said he’s getting help from professionals for his excessive drinking, after denying earlier Thursday he had made lewd comments to an ex-staffer and disclosed he may have driven while drunk.
“I wish you to know I’m receiving support from a team of health care professionals. I am taking accountability and receiving advice from people with expertise,” he said during a news conference at city hall with his wife Renata by his side. “I do not wish to comment on the particulars of this support.”
He also apologized for his graphic language earlier in the day when denying allegations by ex-staffers that he was intoxicated at work, drank while driving and associated with suspected prostitutes.
“The revelations yesterday of cocaine, escorts and prostitution have pushed me over the line and I used unforgivable language,” he said. “These allegations are 100 per cent lies. When you attack my integrity as a father, and as a husband, I see red. Today I acted on complete impulse in my remarks.”
He didn’t take questions.
Earlier on Thursday, Ford told reporters he was going to sue his ex-staffers and dropped another bombshell when he said he may have driven drunk.
“I might have. I might have,” he responded when reporters at city hall asked if he has ever driven drunk. “Yeah, I don’t recall. I might have had some drinks and driven. It was absolutely wrong.”
“Again, I’m not perfect. Maybe you are. But I’m not, OK? I know none of you guys have ever, ever had a drink and gotten behind the wheel. I know that.”
The mayor also said Thursday morning he’s going to sue his former staff over allegations disclosed in the police document, including remarks that he may have had sex with a former staffer Olivia Gondek.
“It says that I want to eat her p—-. I’ve never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home,” Ford said.
Ford also said, “Unfortunately, I have to take action against Isaac Ransom, George Christopoulos and Mark Towhey. I have no other choice. I’m the last one to take legal action. I can’t put up with it anymore.”
Comments that a woman by the name of Alana Kindree was a prostitute were wrong and “hurts my wife,” Ford said.
“Alana is not a prostitute. She’s a friend. It makes me sick how people are saying this,” Ford said.
He also said he will sue a waiter at the Bier Markt who said Ford was doing lines of cocaine.
Toronto police chief Bill Blair refused to comment about Ford but said, “We investigate all allegations,” and reiterated that police gather evidence and put it before the courts.
But councillors were quick to react with Denzil Minnan-Wong, who was behind the council motion urging Ford take a leave of absence, saying the mayor needed to resign.
“He used the P-word in a very derogatory way,” Minnan-Wong said.
“The mayor of our city should not be using language like that. He shouldn’t be speaking about women like that.”
Responding to the crisis at Toronto city hall, Premier Kathleen Wynne reiterated that city council has to address the issues it faces, but the province could intervene if requested.
“If council were to clearly indicate that they lack the ability to function as a result of this matter, the province would respond to a request from council to be provided new tools depending on what that request might be,” she said.
“Because of the extraordinary and unique nature of this type of intervention, I would consult with the other party leaders to see if our legislature could move unanimously if required.”
Council urges Ford take a leave
On Wednesday, city councillors passed a non-binding motion, demanding Ford temporarily step aside, something the mayor says he won’t do.
The wild day at city hall saw Ford admit to buying drugs in office, a confession that was followed hours later by stunning allegations in the police document.
The shocking claims came from interviews that police conducted as part of their investigation into a video that appeared to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Many of his former staffers told police they thought the mayor was an alcoholic — which Ford has denied.
Here is the edited text of Ford’s remarks and apology. WARNING: Some of the remarks are obscene:
Mayor Rob Ford’s initial comments:
Unfortunately, it’s unfortunate I have to take legal action. I don’t appreciate people calling Alana a prostitute. I’ve never had a prostitute here. I’m very happily married at home. This is very disturbing against my wife.
Unfortunately I have to take legal action against Isaac Ransom and George Christopoulos and Mark Towhey and I have to take legal action against the waiter who said I was doing lines at the Bier Markt.
That is outright lies. That is not true. You know what? It hurts my wife when they’re calling a friend of mine a prostitute. Alana is not a prostitute. She’s a friend. And it makes me sick how people are saying this.
So unfortunately, I have no other choice. I’m the last one to take legal action. I can’t put up with it anymore. So I’ve named the names. Litigation will be starting shortly. I’ve had enough. That’s why I warned you guys yesterday, be careful what you wrote. OK, so that’s all I have to say for now.
And the next thing is I want to call Mayor Bratina in Hamilton and tell him we’re going to have to spank their little Tiger-Cats.
Oh, and the last thing was, (name of former female aide). It says that I want to eat her p—-, (names her again). I’ve never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married, I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.
Thank you very much.
Mayor Ford’s subsequent apology:
Ladies and gentlemen I want to apologize for my graphic remarks this morning.
Yesterday, I mentioned, was the second worst day of my life except for the death of my father.
For the past six months, I have been under tremendous, tremendous stress. The stress is largely of my own making. I have apologized and I have tried to move forward. This has proven to be almost impossible.
The revelations yesterday of cocaine, escorts, prostitution has pushed me over the line and I used unforgivable language and again I apologize. These allegations are 100 per cent lies.
When you attack my integrity as a father and as a husband, I see red. Today I acted on compete impulse in my remarks.
I fully realize in the past I have drank alcohol in excess. I wish you to know I am receiving support from a team of health care professionals. I am taking accountability and receiving advice from people with expertise. I do not wish to comment on the particulars of this support.
I wish you to understand I am accepting responsibility for the challenges I face. I would ask you please, please respect my family’s privacy.
Thank you very much.