Toronto Mayor Rob Ford headline roundup (The birthday edition)

Press secretaries exit though the library, Star digs up more dirt

<p>Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves city hall after making a statement to the media on Friday, May 24, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young</p>

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves city hall after making a statement to the media on Friday, May 24, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Rob Ford’s appetite for destruction
Brett Gundlock/Reuters

It was not a great day for embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Monday as both his press secretary and deputy press secretary quit, following former chief of staff Mark Towhey — who was fired Thursday — out the door.

And Tuesday, the mayor’s 44th birthday, doesn’t appear to be shaping up to be much better for Ford, at least according to the headlines published to kick off the day.

New details are clear on the previous day’s communications team walkout, with the Toronto Sun reporting that George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom handed in their resignation notices around 1:30 p.m. Monday, before slipping down a back staircase and out the door of the public library, which is attached to City Hall. The men “left on principle,” a source tells the Sun. “I know it was a s— show on Friday and they weren’t very happy about it,” the source continued. “I think that Fortress Ford is kind of circling the wagons now and only listening to family.” The Globe and Mail reports that Christopoulos and Ransom informed the mayor of their decision by phone before their exit.

But the more damning allegations Tuesday come from the Toronto Star, which advances a Globe and Mail story from Monday which quoted anonymous sources saying homicide detectives had questioned a member of Ford’s staff. Quoting more unnamed sources, Tuesday’s Toronto Star story says a conversation occurred between the mayor’s director of logistics David Price (the man The Globe and Mail alleges was involved in the drug trade with Coun. Doug Ford several decades ago), his former chief of staff Towhey and two other staff members. In that conversation, Price allegedly asked Towhey what they would do if a copy of the video that shows Ford smoking from a glass pipe “hypothetically” existed and if they knew where it was. Towhey said they should go to police, which is what he did without asking Ford first, reports the Star.

Also from the Toronto Star Tuesday, comes a report that one of three men pictured alongside Ford in a photograph, provided by the man who showed Star reporters the alleged video, was injured in the same shooting that claimed Anthony Smith’s life. Smith also appears to also be in the photo; he has his arm around Ford, and is holding a bottle and giving the middle finger to the camera with the other hand. The Star identifies the second man in the photo as Muhammad Khattak, 19, who was shot in the arm on March 28, the same night that Smith was gunned down outside a Toronto club.

The Star really is on a roll Tuesday with a third story reporting that the mayor’s new press secretary and/or communications direction Amin Massoudi (there was confusion over his title and whether Sunny Petrujkic would be acting as press secretary) was fired from Ford’s own 2010 election campaign after police allegedly found marijuana in his car. No charges were laid in that incident, the Star reports.

For a thoughtful read on Tuesday, Maisonneuve has an essay that examines how class plays into the Ford family affair. In it, Eric Andrew-Gee reminds us that the Ford family is rich from its successful label business, even as “Toronto’s left-wing social elite” consider the Fords to be low-class and as the Ford brothers “claim to speak for the working class.”

Despite the continued headlines, “it is business as usual,” Ford told reporters Monday. He will attempt to get on with that business by chairing an executive committee meeting at city hall, something he sent a tweet out about Tuesday morning as he also thanked well-wishers for their birthday messages.


Watch the executive committee meeting live here.