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Rob Ford ‘ready to take a break’ from campaign as new video allegedly shows him smoking crack

and | | Last Updated: May 1 9:13 AM ET

An image provided to Gawker that purports to show Rob Ford smoking a pipe that looks to be a crack-cocaine pipe.
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Rob Ford tape full text: The audio tape of the Toronto Mayor at an Etobicoke bar disparaging Karen Stintz

Bar-going Torontonians know that at any moment, they could find themselves in the bizarre situation of exchanging drunken banter with their chief executive.

Monday night, this happened to the patrons of Etobicoke’s Sullie Gorman’s, a bar just across the street from the home of Mayor Rob Ford’s mother and adjacent to a municipal park named after the mayor’s father.

An anonymous patron surreptitiously captured audio of the evening and passed it to the Toronto Sun, who posted it online in an edited six-minute audio file.

After careful examination, the National Post provides this transcript of the recording. In only a matter of minutes, Mr. Ford can be heard disparaging mayoral opponents, expressing his curious support for the Green Party and delivering a shotgun blast of Italian racial slurs.

WARNING: Extremely high amounts of profanity follow.

Read more …

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will be taking an extended leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse, his lawyer confirmed Wednesday night, within hours of the emergence of a second video purporting to show the Mayor smoking crack cocaine.

Mr. Ford “realizes he needs help for substance abuse,” Ford lawyer Dennis Morris said Wednesday night, but would not specify which substance his client is seeking treatment for.

“In my eyes, he should announce those steps to the public in the near future,” he said.

Reportedly captured early Saturday morning at Mr. Ford’s sister’s house, the new video apparently shows the Toronto mayor taking a drag of what appears to be crack cocaine from a “long copper-coloured pipe,” exhaling a cloud of smoke and frantically shaking his right hand.

Viewed by two reporters for the Globe and Mail, the video is part of a package of three videos that an unidentified drug dealer is reportedly offering to sell for “at least six figures.”

At the same time, the Toronto Sun also revealed Wednesday they had obtained clandestine audio recordings of an apparently drunk Mayor Ford conversing with patrons at an Etobicoke bar.

Recorded Monday night at Sullie Gorman’s, Mr. Ford is heard to say “I’d like to f—– jam her” when asked about mayoral candidate Karen Stintz.

Aaron Lynett/National Post

With a hockey game blaring in the background, Mr. Ford is also heard to say he would not be able to vote for Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak because he agrees with “all the gays.”

“I might have to vote Green, I don’t what I’m going to f—– vote,” he says.

Mr. Ford also can be heard to say that he would rather lose the mayoral election to Olivia Chow than anyone, and that if he loses “he’s not coming back.”

“Once I’m done, I’m done; I’m going to California,” he said.

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Ford’s campaign released a statement shortly after the various news broke from the outlets.

Ford’s sexually lewd comments about Stintz far worse than alleged crack video

The drinking, the drug use, the broken promises to stop doing both those things … no news there. The real story is probably what was on the audio recording from Rob Ford’s night out at a bar.

Comments about not being able to support politicians who are friendly to the gay community. Sexually lewd comments about Stintz and the wives of other men. This is no longer about Ford being a man with personal demons. This is about Rob Ford being a man who simply isn’t very likeable.

The only thing that has let Ford continue on so long has been the fact that a large segment of Toronto’s population continued to like him. They acknowledged his flaws. In some ways, they enjoyed them. They thought it made him more human. More real.

But there is no one who would want to associate with this. No one who can condone these kinds of comments being attributed to Ford.

Read more from Matt Gurney …

“It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time,” the statement said. “Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as Mayor to seek immediate help.”

The Toronto Star also reported that Justin Bieber enraged Rob Ford by “jokingly” asking the Mayor “Did you bring any crack to smoke?” when the two met at the night club Muzik. Ford reportedly stayed at the club until 5 a.m. Another witness told the Star that they saw Ford doing lines of cocaine on a separate night in April.

On Wednesday night, the Karen Stintz campaign called Mr. Ford’s comments “deeply offensive to everyone living in Toronto.”

“This is the not the first time that Rob Ford has made misogynistic comments,” said campaign press secretary Lauren Souch in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are many that keep giving Rob Ford a pass.”

Mayoral candidate David Soknacki was much more concise. “Rob Ford is not just a bad mayor. He is also a disgrace,” Mr. Soknacki said in a statement urging the mayor to resign “immediately.”

gawker.com

Sobriety is a long way off for Ford, but long-overdue leave of absence will at least help his campaign

Well, better astonishingly late than never. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is taking the temporary leave of absence he should have taken, if he wasn’t willing to take a permanent one, so very many months ago. We are to believe he is getting help for … everything, hopefully. But when the news broke Wednesday night, it was at first a confusing proposition.

It has occurred to me more than once that one of Rob Ford’s better re-election strategy choices might be to not campaign. Over the course of the 2010 race I can’t recall witnessing Mr. Ford score, or lose, a single significant point in a debate — except by not freaking out Hulk-style like everyone expected him to, I suppose. But in 2010 he probably did have to be there. As a political phenomenon, Rob Ford has always been less a person than an idea — or rather a canvas onto which voters can project ideas. He is the idea that he has saved Toronto taxpayers $1-billion when no one else could, for example. His physical presence can’t really bolster that, I don’t think.

Read more from Chris Selley …

Candidate John Tory, meanwhile, said “on a personal level, I am relieved Mayor Ford is getting help.”

“Like Torontonians across the city, I am deeply disappointed by these revelations of Mayor Ford’s behaviour. For the good of the city, I call on Mayor Ford to resign.”

A smattering of patrons could be seen inside Sullie Gorman’s Wednesday night, but the doors were locked to keep reporters at bay.

The owner, who would not give his name, said he was not in his bar when Mr. Ford apparently showed up Monday night and only learned of it through the media.

He said the mayor may have been there a total of two times.

“He is not a regular here and that’s all there is to it,” he said.

Alexander Lisi, an alleged drug dealer and friend of Mayor Ford, may have been seen in the new crack video. Seth Weinstein, Mr. Lisi’s lawyer, said in an email: “Until such time as the reported video and it’s contents are properly authenticated, it would not be appropriate to comment on the new allegations.”

Sullie Gorman’s is immediately adjacent to Douglas Ford Park, the park named for Mr. Ford’s father, a former Ontario MPP.

Tyler Anderson / National Post

The bar is also just a ten-minute drive from Steak Queen, the Etobicoke fast food restaurant at which Mr. Ford was surreptitiously captured conversing drunkenly with patrons using Jamaican Patois last January.

The mayor was not seen at city all on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Mr. Ford looked decidedly ragged in appearance, with a raspy voice and what appeared to be a cigarette hole in his jacket.

The mayor spent the day touring a school group around his office and city council chambers.

Sources close to Mr. Ford, including brother Doug Ford and his chief of staff Dan Jacobs could not be reached by the National Post Wednesday night.

A reporter with the National Post went to the Ford’s home Wednesday night, to which Mr. Ford’s wife Renata drew the blinds, shut off the front porch light and beckoned her son away from the window.

Confirming Mr. Ford’s leave of absence with the Sun’s Joe Warmington Wednesday night, Mr. Ford said that he feels it is time to “deal with his issues.”

The move is extremely out of character for the mayor.

Despite near-ubiquitous calls for him to seek professional help, Mr. Ford has consistently denied that his well-catalogued bouts of drunkenness and drug use are indicative of a substance abuse problem.

“As a human being, I think that the mayor of Toronto needs to get help,” attorney general Peter MacKay told reporters last November.

A similar sentiment was echoed by then-finance minister Jim Flaherty, a close friend of the Ford family.

“At the end of the day, he has to make his own decision about what he ought to do,” he said, visibly emotional. Five months later, Mr. Flaherty would be dead of a sudden heart attack at his Ottawa home.

The issue of professional help was even raised in an otherwise joke-saturated interview by late night host Jimmy Kimmel.

“You seem like a very nice guy to me, and if you are an alcoholic which—listen—if you’re drinking enough that you can try crack in your 40s and you don’t remember it, maybe that’s something that you might want to think about,” Mr. Kimmel told the mayor at the end of the Mayor’s early March appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Gawker
Peter J. Thompson/National Post

With files from The Associated Press, Dan Kaszor, the National Post

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