Ford admits to drinking after new video of him surfaces on YouTube
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, January 21, 2014 4:06PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:03PM EST
Exactly two months after publicly vowing to never drink again, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to alcohol use, telling reporters what he does in his own time is his own business.
"What I do in my personal life with my personal friends is up to me," Ford said to reporters Tuesday after a new video surfaced on YouTube showing the mayor rambling and swearing in Jamaican patois. “It was my own time and it has nothing to do with you guys.”
Ford told reporters he drank “a little bit” but didn’t drive to the Steak Queen restaurant on Rexdale Boulevard. He didn’t answer reporters’ questions asking who drove him there and back.
Ford has yet to respond to a second video that surfaced Tuesday evening showing him seated at the restaurant with a man believed to be Alexander Lisi.
Lisi is a friend of the mayor's - and is the person charged with trying to extort the so-called crack video last spring when the crack scandal first broke.
Lisi was the subject of extensive police surveillance over the summer months, surveillance that many times included the mayor and his interactions with Lisi.
In the first video, Ford is heard discussing being followed, "counter-surveillance" and Toronto police Chief Bill Blair.
This isn't the first time Ford and Lisi have met at the restaurant.
Back in August police observed the pair meeting there and, later in a court document, alleged that they both appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
The circumstances of this second video and when it was recorded are not immediately known - the mayor left city hall before it was leaked to the media.
Using Jamaican patois
In the first video, Ford is seen standing at the counter of a fast-food restaurant rambling and using inappropriate slang in Jamaican patois.
“I was there," Ford said. "I met some friends and if I speak that way that’s how I speak with friends. I don't think it's discriminative."
The 76-second video clip was uploaded today by a user called "Toronto the City."
An employee at the restaurant told CP24 he had heard Ford visited the restaurant last night but didn't see him himself. Employees working the night shift typically start at 9 p.m., the employee said.
On Nov. 18, Ford told the CBC he was "finished" with drinking. Then, on Nov. 20, Ford appeared on CP24 during Live at Noon with Stephen LeDrew and repeated the claim.
"So you are saying never drugs again, no alcohol again, no bad company?" Ledrew asked Ford during that televised interview.
"Guaranteed," Ford answered.
"The citizens of Toronto won't see you again in a state of inebriation?" Ledrew asked.
"I will guarantee that. I will guarantee that," Ford responded.
"So what can the people of Toronto expect for the next 10 months?"
"Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words so just watch and you will see," Ford said.
Ford made the vow after months of scandalous revelations about his behaviour that culminated in the mayor admitting he had smoked crack cocaine during his tenure.
Doug Ford defends brother
The mayor's brother and colleague on council, Coun. Doug Ford, was quick to dismiss the video.
Before the mayor made his admission, Doug Ford told reporters he did not believe the video was taken this week but months ago, before the mayor embarked on a health kick. He said he spoke to the mayor late Monday night.
"Obviously that's him but it didn't happen last night," he said. "I'll repeat what he's said 10 million times -- beginning of November, he hasn't taken a drink. Very simple."
The councillor did not speak to reporters again after the mayor verified the date of the video.
Meanwhile, other councillors were quick to voice their displeasure with having business at city hall once again overshadowed by Ford's antics.
"I think it is very unfortunate that the mayor would choose to act in this particular fashion but I guess it speaks to the mayor's sort of lack of understanding in terms of civility, order and the real nature of his position as the chief magistrate of this city," said Coun. Michael Thompson. "It's not a joke and not a game."
"We are tired of this and we want to get on with the work before us," said Coun. Joe Mihevc. "We were distracted through most of the fall and now it looks like we will be distracted through the winter."
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