Rob Ford denies allegations of crack cocaine use
Speaking at a press conference a few moments ago, Rob Ford directly addressed accusations he was filmed smoking crack cocaine for the first time in more than a week after the news first broke.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I am an addict of crack cocaine," he announced before a packed room of reporters. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video I have not seen or does not exist."
Ford also lamented his treatment by the media who he says have reported "without any evidence." He went on to thank his family, friends, and supporters who have contacted him over the last week.
A visibly infuriated coun. Glen De Baeremaeker blasted the mayor's statement on CP24 shortly after the press conference finished, urging Ford to "simply resign."
"The mayor is just imploding; while the rest of the city is very worried about very big important issues and about the illegitimacy of his government, he's telling staff to organize pizza parties," he said.
"He is unable to govern the city any more, he has no legitimacy, the statements he's made are offensive on so many levels that his tenure as mayor is effectively over ... I think the mayor should do the honorable thing and resign."
"I don't like to call people liars, but yes, he didn't tell the truth."
Earlier in the day, six members of Rob Ford's cabinet-like executive committee signed a letter calling for the mayor to speak out and address allegations he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine. The group, hand-picked by Ford, are his closest allies on council.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and councillors Peter Milczyn, Jaye Robinson, Cesar Palacio, Gary Crawford and Michael Thompson all signed the document that urges the mayor to "definitively address the issues the allegations before him ... openly and transparently."
The only names absent from the list are Vincent Crisanti, Frank Di Giorgio, Norm Kelly, Denzil Minnan-Wong, David Shiner, and of course Ford himself.
Earlier today, Holyday held a press conference in which he urged his superior to break his silence, which he says has been taken on legal advice. "To sit back and hope it goes away is not the answer ... I certainly would like him to come forward and speak to the public, that's what the executive members are also wanting to say in this letter," he said.
Speaking just after Holyday, coun. Gary Crawford, also a member of the executive committee, told reporters he's "not necessarily comfortable" with Rob Ford continuing to represent the city without addressing the public's concerns.
Ford avoided reporters as he left his Etobicoke home this morning and ducked into his office via a back door shortly after 1:15pm.
The mayor isn't obliged to respond to the concerns of his executive, but this statement may quiet the dissenting voices of his closest colleagues, for now.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Image: BruceK/blogTO Flickr pool.
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