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
Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NFL

Jets make Chris Johnson signing official

The Jets got their big-play threat as running back Chris Johnson signed a multi-year contract with the team on Wednesday.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.