The Toronto City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of asking Mayor Rob Ford to take a leave of absence, amid reports that police have been told about incidents involving drinking and drug use.
CNN reported on Wednesday that the council voted 37-5 to request that Ford step away from his position following hours of discussion that included his admission that he has bought illegal drugs during his tenure. However, the council lacks the ability to force him to do so.
Ford, whose administration has been under fire since being reportedly spotted smoking crack in a video earlier this year, apologized to the council and blamed his drinking and drug use on “sheer stupidity,” a departure from his Nov. 5 statement that he smoked crack as a result of a “drunken stupor.”
“There’s nothing else to say, guys,” Ford told the council. “I really f-ed up and that’s it.”
However, he refused to vacate his office, arguing that voters would judge him on his overall record during the 2014 elections.
Ford’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, loudly protested, saying he knew other council members had bought marijuana and daring them to stand up and admit to it.
“Rob does not come into work drunk,” Doug Ford told CNN in an interview following the vote. “He said he’s tried illicit drugs under a drunken stupor. And he’s not doing drugs. And he’s not drinking. So he’s moving in the right direction, in my opinion, but the public flogging, never seen anything like it. This man has apologized profusely. He’s asked for forgiveness, and the rest is sheer politics down here.”
Meanwhile, the Toronto Sun reported on Wednesday that, according to newly-released police interviews, former members of Ford’s staff admitted to police that they saw the mayor drinking in his office and drive drunk on at least two occasions.
One former staffer, Isaac Ransom, told authorities that he arrived at Ford’s office on March 17, 2012 to discover he the mayor had consumed more than half of a 40-ounce bottle of vodka while accompanied by a woman who “may have been an escort or prostitute.” Later that evening, Ransom said, Ford racial slurs against a taxi driver taking him to a local bar.
Watch footage from Wednesday’s meeting, aired by CNN, below.
Read the documents concerning Toronto police’s investigation of Ford, as posted by the Sun, on Wednesday.