Sarah Thomson alleges lewd exchange with Rob Ford
2010 mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson claims a visibly intoxicated Rob Ford made a series of inappropriate comments and unwanted advances at a fundraising event last night, telling her she should have joined him on his trip to Florida last week "because his wife wasn't there."
Writing on Facebook, Thomson claims Ford was "out of it" at the annual Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Community event and that he touched her inappropriately while posing for a photograph. In that picture, Rob Ford is seen with his arm around Thomson and a third person whose face is out of shot.
"I've never seen him so out of it. I know I shouldn't be pissed but after spending 10 months on the campaign trail together you expect a little bit of respect at the very least for my husband," she wrote.
"Anyone who talked to him tonight could see he was out of it - I'm venting because I thought on the respect for women level he was better than that."
She later wonders in the comment thread whether "grabbing someone['s] ass [is] assault."
Thomson, the publisher of national business magazine Women's Post, ran against Ford in the 2010 mayoral election and had the support of Conrad Black. She dropped out of the race on 27 September, 2010, to throw her support behind George Smitherman, finishing tenth in the polls. Thomson was also the Liberal candidate for Trinity-Spadina in 2011.
Speaking on Newstalk 1010 this morning, Thomson said she doesn't plan to take any legal action as a result of the encounter. Ford has yet to comment on the accusations, so we'll update this post when additional information is available. During the night an anonymous Ford staffer told the Star several aides were within earshot and did not hear the alleged exchange.
Later, also on Newstalk 1010, Richmond Hill councillor Carmine Perrelli who was also at the event says he overheard Thomson planning to "set up" the mayor with a compromising photo.
Speaking to the Star, Thomson recalled she was "worried that he might do it again to someone" and said to Perrelli "I wish I had another picture and my assistant said she'd go up to him and see if he would do it to her. He did not and it seemed like someone had talked to him."
"I wanted to punch him in the face," she told reporter Daniel Dale.
Rob Ford's chief of staff Mark Towhey said the mayor was consulting with his legal team and is "shocked" by the allegations. A statement is expected some time this afternoon.
In a written statement issued a short time ago, Rob Ford addressed what he calls "false allegations," saying he is "shocked, dismayed and surprised" to be accused by Thomson.
"What is more surprising is that a woman who has aspired to be a civic leader would cry wolf on a day where we should be celebrating women across the globe," he continues.
"This is a day we should all take the time to reflect upon the women in our lives and in our society. It is a day when we can envision the changes we want to make in our communities to ensure that all people are equal and that violence and discrimination against women comes to an end."
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.