Rob Ford was intoxicated at work

Rob Ford was intoxicated at work

Ex-staffers say Ford consorted with suspected prostitutes

Rob Ford was intoxicated at work, drank while driving and associated with suspected prostitutes, former staffers allege in a court document released hours after the mayor admitted buying illegal drugs while in office.

TORONTO — Rob Ford was intoxicated at work, drank while driving and associated with suspected prostitutes, former staffers allege in a court document released hours after the mayor admitted buying illegal drugs while in office.

The shocking claims come from interviews that police conducted as part of their investigation into a video that appeared to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The previously redacted information — which contains allegations not proven in court — was released days after Ford himself proclaimed he had nothing left to hide. It suggests staff members were concerned their often erratic boss was abusing alcohol and drugs.

Ford ended months of denials last week with his stunning admission that he had smoked crack cocaine while in office, saying he had likely tried it in one of his “drunken stupors.”

Many of his former staffers told police they thought the mayor was an alcoholic, something Ford has denied.

The mayor refused to comment Wednesday when asked about the latest allegations, instead telling reporters to “be very careful on what you write.”

The document revealed police were looking into the possibility that the so-called crack video was on the cellphone of Anthony Smith — a man photographed with Ford and two alleged gang members outside a home police allege is a “crack house.”

He was killed outside a club in late March and the police allegations reveal his cellphone “was stolen at the time of his murder.”

One former Ford staffer told police the mayor had told him he knew Smith, the police document shows. Another staffer told police Ford did not know Smith.

During a heated city council debate over a motion urging Ford to take a leave of absence Wednesday, Ford denied the home is a “crack house” and said the meeting with the three men was a “one-off.”

City council voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion, but it is non-binding and despite mounting pressure for him to resign or step aside, Ford said he’s not going anywhere.

“I really effed up,” Ford said, not long after admitting he had purchased illegal drugs in the past two years.

World media followed the raucous debate, which twice had to be shut down because it erupted in shouts and jeers and saw Ford asking for all councillors to undergo drug and alcohol testing — with both CNN and ABC carrying part of it live.

Ford has insisted his admitted substance use has not affected his work, but according to the document some former staffers told police they had seen him use drugs, drunk on the job, missing hours and even days of work and essentially working part-time. One ex-staffer described the mayor’s working hours as 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ford goes “M.I.A.” when he’s “under the influence,” one staffer told police. The mayor missed work and cancelled appointments at the beginning of his term, the documents say.

The ex-employees, many of whom left in the wake of Toronto Star and Gawker reports of the crack video, had never seen him using crack cocaine, but several reported his marijuana use.

Police say former staffer Kia Nejatian told them he found a joint in Ford’s desk at city hall in either February or March. Nejatian went back four or five days later and the joint was gone, he told police.

Ford’s former press secretary, George Christopoulos, told police that women showed up at the mayor’s office telling staff “they have smoked a joint with the mayor on the street outside of the bar,” the police document says.

“These women were told by the mayor that they could have a job,” Christopoulos told police.

Another former staffer, Chris Fickel, told police he was on a date one night when the mayor called him to come fix his wife’s computer. Ford sounded impaired, Fickel told police.

The document says Fickel’s date waited in the car, but the mayor waved her inside and the young couple sat with the mayor and his wife in their basement while Ford smoked a joint.

“(Ford) asked if anyone wanted any, and then proceeded to smoke it alone,” Fickel told police.

Several of the staffers’ allegations centre around the night of St. Patrick’s Day last year, where, according to the document, a former staffer told police he saw Ford with another staffer, a friend and a young, blond woman named Alana who he thought was “an escort or a prostitute.”

The document says that ex-staffer Isaac Ransom told police the same woman had been seen with Ford at a stag party.

Ransom told police Ford was drinking from a 40-ounce bottle of Smirnoff vodka and by the time he arrived at the mayor’s office that night around 9 p.m. half of it was gone, the document says.

“Mayor Ford was totally out of it and had obviously been drinking,” Ransom told police. Ford wanted to “smoke narcotics” with Alana and his friend but his staffers stopped him, Ransom told police.

Another staffer suspected Ford took OxyContin, the document alleges.

Ford went to a bar that night, made a racial slur to a taxi driver en route, and then a friend of Alana’s showed up, Ransom told police.

An employee of the bar told police he suspected Ford and the woman snorted cocaine, because as he walked into their private room he heard them both sniff, then a staffer told him “don’t tell anyone about what you saw here tonight,” police allege in the document.

“When he got up to leave he decided he wanted to go to the dance floor, so he went over, stumbled around the dance floor and fell down,” Ransom told police.

At one point, the staffers with Ford called a former female colleague because they thought Ford would listen to her. Instead, the staffers told police, Ford made inappropriate and sexually aggressive comments to her.

Another staffer, Chris Fickel, the documents allege, told police he was not with the mayor that night, but heard that the mayor went back to city hall with three staffers, a friend and “two females that may have been prostitutes.”

The mayor then started “crying uncontrollably,” assaulted one staffer, pushed another and drove himself home, but not before making more sexually crude comments to a female security guard, the documents allege.

Ford’s former chief of staff Mark Towhey told police that Fickel confided in him that one time the mayor had stopped and drank a “mickey” of vodka while driving. After hearing this Towhey implemented a new rule that if a staff member was with the mayor they would be the one to drive, he told police.

Fickel said he had seen Ford intoxicated “numerous times,” including at the office.

Most of the staffers speak about unique challenges in dealing with their boss, who they describe as sometimes very angry and on a few occassions sobbing uncontrollably.

“The mayor would go on two to three week stretches (where) he would be very great to work for,” the documents say Fickel told police.

“Then he would switch like Jekyll and Hyde.”

Ford would be difficult to reach outside office hours as he would turn his phone off, the document cites staffers as saying, though they would sometimes get after-hours calls from him in which we was incoherent.

The more junior staffers described being tasked with personal assistant-type jobs: picking up cases of Diet Coke, dropping off the mayor’s dry cleaning, changing batteries in his children’s toys or changing light bulbs, buying cartons of cigarettes and household items.

Those employees were often sent, about 10 times a month they estimated, to buy the mayor a “mickey” of vodka, police allege.

Fickel saw the mayor once pull his car over in October or November 2012, grab a bottle of vodka from near the passenger seat and drink about 12 ounces in two minutes, police allege the ex-staffer told them.

The document was filed by police to get search warrants in the case of Alexander Lisi, a friend of the mayor who is charged with drug offences. He was later also charged with extortion for alleged attempts to retrieve the so-called crack video.

The document had been sealed, but Ontario Superior Court Judge Ian Nordheimer ruled only sections involving the mayor’s wife, other people’s personal information, and parts prejudicial to Lisi’s right to a fair trial should stay secret.

Outside city hall Wednesday, hundreds of noisy protesters called on the mayor to resign and chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Rob Ford has got to go!”

“We’re here to show our dismay at our mayor’s behaviour,” said Robyn Beattie.

“Nobody else who would have committed all the things that he’s done would still be at their current job.”