toronto rob ford

Reports suggest that Rob Ford has an alcohol problem

Rob Ford was asked to leave a military gala last month because organizers feared he was drunk, according to a report published in The Toronto Star today. Ford was allegedly "speaking in a rambling, incoherent manner" at the Garrison Ball, a fund-raiser for wounded soldiers held two weeks before the Sarah Thomson incident.

Perhaps the biggest revelation comes in the second paragraph, in which reporter Robyn Doolittle claims that "it's an open secret at city hall that the mayor has battled alcohol abuse." The story later refers to an untreated substance abuse problem that the mayor has refused to acknowledge or treat.

The paper says it sought out attendees at the party, which included Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay, Chief of Defence Staff General Tom Lawson, and other high-ranking military officials. It alleges Ford arrived late and "alarmed" guests with his behavior. Coun. Paul Ainslie, a Ford supporter, confirmed the mayor was asked to leave, though he refused to specify on what grounds.

Just weeks ago Ford was accused of a drunken grope and inappropriate comments by former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson at a Jewish gala event. Ford dismissed the "false allegations," saying his accuser was crying wolf.

What Rob Ford does in his private time is, of course, his business. A line is, however, crossed when a public official is asked to leave an event on account of fears that he's intoxicated. Although the mayor has yet to comment, Doug Ford denied the allegations on the John Oakley show this morning. His argument, in a nutshell, is that The Toronto Star is out to get his brother. You can be the judge as to how convincing the denial is.

Speaking a short time ago, deputy mayor Doug Holyday said he's never seen Rob Ford take a drink. "He behaves fine as far as I'm concerned," he told media, denying the mayor has a drinking problem. Like Doug Ford, Holyday says some outlets are out to attack the administration.

George Christopolus, the mayor's press secretary, denied his boss was asked to leave the gala earlier to the press this morning. Speaking after presenting the key to the city to boxer George Chuvalo, Ford angrily lashed out at the Toronto Star, calling their staff "pathological liars."

"It's an outright lie, it's the Toronto Star going after me again, and again, and again. They're relentless, that's fine. I'll go head-to-head with the Toronto Star any time. Let's just wait until the election is, and then we'll see what happens."

"It's just lies, after lies, and lies. I've called you pathological liars, and you are, so why don't you take me to court? Let the court decide. You guys are liars."

More soon.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Chris Bateman


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