Rob Ford timeline: What the Toronto mayor has been up to since May
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has provided a steady stream of shock, controversy and dismay over the last six months. With his admissions of drug use, his off-the-cuff foul language and a stubborn refusal to quit his job, he’s kept his name in headlines.
On Friday the Toronto City Council surprised no one by voting 39-3 to strip Ford of some of his mayoral powers.
The Associated Press has come up with a Rob Ford timeline that hits all the highlights of the last half-year. (Do you remember when he called the media a “bunch of maggots”? And you may recall this Jon Stewart line: “Don’t judge him: Maybe he’s cleaning up the city by smoking all the crack in it.”)
Relive all the fun below.
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May 16-17: The Toronto Star and U.S.-based news site Gawker report that Ford was seen on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine and making racist and anti-gay comments. Ford calls the allegations “ridiculous” and the work of a smear job by the Star. His lawyer Dennis Morris calls them “false and defamatory.”
May 19-20: Late-night TV comedians in the U.S. begin skewering the mayor. “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart says: “Don’t judge him: Maybe he’s cleaning up the city by smoking all the crack in it.”
May 26: Ford attacks the media, calling them “a bunch of maggots.”
June 13-15: Toronto police raid several homes, including an apartment building where reports had said the purported crack-smoking video was shot. The Star and the Globe and Mail report that two of the suspects arrested in the raid also appear with Ford in a widely publicized photograph connected to the video.
Aug. 9: Ford is accused of being drunk in public after videos appear on YouTube showing him slurring his speech at a street fair. Ford says he had “a couple of beers” but was not intoxicated. Ford later acknowledges on his radio show that he was “hammered.”
Oct. 1-2: Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi, is arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana. Ford defends Lisi, calling him a “good guy.”
Oct. 31: Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announces police recovered a copy of a video file that depicts Ford smoking crack. Blair says police have no grounds to criminally charge the mayor based on the video alone. But he says the massive surveillance operation led to charges against Lisi, including extortion for his attempts to “retrieve a recording.”
Nov. 3: Ford apologizes on his weekly radio show for making mistakes, including texting while driving.
Nov. 5: Ford, after months of denials, admits in a stunning confession to reports that he smoked crack cocaine about a year earlier while in one of his “drunken stupors.” He vows to remain in office and insists: “No, I’m not an addict.”
Nov. 6: Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel airs a video titled “How to Tell If Your Mayor is Smoking Crack” that highlights Ford’s behavior as mayor, including walking into a TV camera, tumbling down hard while playing with a football and shouting down reporters outside his door.
Nov. 7: A video is posted online by the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun that shows Ford in a room pacing the floor, spewing obscenities and threatening to “kill” someone. The mayor tells reporters moments after the blurry video is posted that he was “extremely” drunk at the time and is “extremely” embarrassed.
Nov. 13: Ford admits during a heated city council debate that he bought illegal drugs while in office, but refuses to step down despite calls from nearly every councilor to take a leave of absence and get help. Ford, who paused for eight seconds before answering when asked if he ever bought illegal drugs, becomes the subject of TV host David Letterman’s nightly Top 10 list. Answer No. 5: “I don’t remember, you should be talking to me crack dealer.”
Nov. 14: Ford draws gasps from reporters with an obscenity-laced denial of allegations that he told a female staffer he wanted to have oral sex. Ford says he is “happily married” and uses crude language to say he enjoys enough oral sex at home. He later apologizes for the remarks, which he made outside City Hall while wearing a Toronto Argonauts football jersey, drawing censure from the team. He also threatens to take legal action against aides and a waiter over interviews with police that were detailed in court documents.
Nov. 15: City councilors, who have stepped up their efforts to force the mayor out of office despite lacking a legal path to do so, vote overwhelmingly to strip Ford of some of his powers. Ford vows to fight the decision in court. The council plans to try to strip the mayor of most of his remaining powers.
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