Toronto mayor loses two more staffers as crack scandal roils

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (R) walks with his staffer and policy advisor Brian Johnston, moments before Johnston resigned from his position in Toronto, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (R) walks with his staffer and policy advisor Brian Johnston, moments before Johnston resigned from his position in Toronto, May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford lost two more staff members on Thursday, two weeks after allegations first surfaced that the leader of Canada’s largest city was caught smoking crack cocaine on camera, something he has strongly denied.

Security ushered policy advisor Brian Johnston out of city hall around midday on Thursday, and he told reporters he had resigned. Kia Nejatian, the mayor’s executive assistant, also left his job, the city confirmed in a statement sent to local media.

The 44-year-old mayor, who hails from a conservative political family and was elected to lead Toronto in 2010, has lost five staffers in seven days, including his chief of staff, who was fired, and his press secretary.

U.S. media outlet Gawker and the Toronto Star both reported on May 16 that their reporters had seen a cellphone video that appears to show Ford using crack cocaine. Ford has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Reuters cannot confirm the existence of the video or its content.

Separately, Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne told reporters that the Canadian province’s government was monitoring the situation and could get involved, if appropriate.

“As a citizen and as premier of the province, I’m concerned that things are not as they should be at city hall,” she said. “It’s hard to imagine that it could be business as usual.”

Toronto’s “weak mayor” political system already limits the executive’s influence and puts more power in the hands of the city council.

Ford has enjoyed a hard core of support from a segment of Toronto voters, particularly in the suburbs, who lifted him to power on a platform of controlling spending and cutting taxes, along the lines of the populist Tea Party movement in the United States.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.