New allegations surfaced that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's staff members were concerned with his drug abuse and drunk driving, according to court documents released Wednesday, the same day the City Council voted to ask the embattled mayor to take a leave of absence.
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The allegations against Ford were laid out in over 500 pages of documents that a judge released Wednesday from a drug case against a friend and occasional driver of the mayor, Alexander Lisi.
Ford was described by his former chief of staff Mark Towhey as being "very inebriated, verbally abusive and inappropriate with" a female staff member on St. Patrick's Day in 2012, according to documents. Another staffer, Isaac Ransom, said he saw Ford with a woman that night who "may have been an escort or prostitute," the documents stated. Ransom is the mayor's former special assistant for communications.
In another incident, one former staffer said he saw Ford "impaired, driving very fast," frightening a female staffer who was in the car with him.
Earlier in the day Ford remained defiant during a heated council debate when he refused to step aside as mayor of Canada's largest city. Ford admitted to purchasing illegal drugs in the last two years while in office but insists he's "not an addict of any sort…"
Ford, 44, publicly acknowledged last week that he smoked crack cocaine while in a "drunken stupor" last year.
"I understand the embarrassment that I have caused. I am humiliated by it," Ford said Wednesday during the tense meeting.
Councilor Michael Thompson asked Ford about the infamous photo of the mayor pictured outside a home, which police have described as a "crack house." Ford adamantly denied the home was a crack house.
"You're not being truthful, that's my problem," Thompson pressed.
"I am being truthful. Have you been in that house?" Ford shot back.
"I have no interest in being in that house. I'm not a crack user," Thompson said as the room erupted in laughter.
One of the few council members that came to the mayor's aid was his brother, Doug Ford.
"None of you have ever done anything wrong ever? Never ever? The question is, have you ever smoked marijuana? Have you ever smoked marijuana?" Ford said while looking around at the other council members.
"Everyone should be careful about throwing rocks in a glass house," he added.
The 37-5 vote asking Rob Ford to temporarily step down was largely symbolic to express the council's frustration with the mayor. The vote holds no real authority and the panel cannot force Ford to vacate his post.
"I'm moving on. You guys can do what you want. I apologize again. I'm sorry that's all I have to say," Ford said.
Ford, who was elected three years ago, promises to seek re-election and maintains a fair share of supporters. Ford's popularity has actually increased as the scandal continues to play out. Ford's approval ratings climbed five points to 44 percent in a poll released last week.
Earlier this week hundreds lined up at Toronto's City Hall to purchase a Ford bobblehead doll and a chance to meet the beleaguered mayor.