City of Toronto security staff worried about their own safety and retaliation from the mayor after Rob Ford allegedly threatened “to get the guy” who reported his bad behaviour at City Hall on St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, city documents show.
Mr. Ford is said to have made the threat to two security guards during an after-hours visit to his office on March 15 – almost two years to the day since the widely reported St. Patrick’s Day party. Details of the recent incident are outlined in city documents obtained by The Globe and Mail through a Freedom of Information request. The same Saturday night, he appeared on video in a dishevelled state outside City Hall.
Mr. Ford, who this week took a leave from office to seek professional treatment for addiction issues, approached guards on the evening of March 15, slurring his words and “speaking in a disorganized fashion,” according to reports from the guards. He talked about one guard’s biceps and the election before saying he was being “screwed over by security.”
The guards worried about retribution in reporting this latest incident, so much so that they used e-mail rather than file an incident report to document the events. “Mayor Rob Ford’s comments have me most concerned for my safety as a city employee,” one of the guards writes.
In response, the city’s top executives, including city manager Joe Pennachetti, met with Mr. Ford on March 21, and asked him to apologize to security staff. Mr. Ford refused without seeing the report, which he was later given, city spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza said. City staff are not aware of any apology from Mr. Ford, she said. The city’s director of corporate security, Dwaine Nichol, who prepared the report, was not available for comment.
The revelations follow reports this week by The Globe and Mail of a new video that shows Mr. Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine last weekend, and by The Toronto Sun on an audio recording that seems to capture the mayor making offensive comments.
The mayor’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, said he could not comment on the March 15 incident without speaking with Mr. Ford – who has checked into a rehab clinic – but said his actions that evening may have been due to addiction.
“You see what’s been happening in the last few days, so I mean, this is why the mayor acknowledges he needs some sort of professional assistance,” Mr. Morris said. “It’s the same stuff, just a different day.”
March 15 security logs show that the mayor parked at City Hall at 5:06 p.m. and went to his office. At 10:30 p.m., he approached two security guards at the front desk, giving them strings of green party beads, which they put on “to acknowledge the Mayor’s gesture.”
Before he left, Mr. Ford told the guards he “was going to get that security guy who wrote the report,” their accounts allege.
“You guys have a job to do. Yeah, but, you can’t do that to me man … What, you didn’t think I would find out? I am going to get him you mark my words!” Mr. Ford allegedly said.
The individual who wrote the 2012 report now works for a different city department.
After the exchange, Mr. Ford left City Hall, but had difficulty opening the doors, said the guards, who went to his aid. “Take care brother,” the mayor allegedly said before he spat on the ground.
Outside, he was filmed on video speaking to a group of unidentified young men. The mayor appears in a white shirt unbuttoned at the top, with a set of St. Patrick’s Day beads under his suit. He tells the group, “Bro, I need a taxi van to take us home,” before reportedly letting out a string of expletives and getting into the taxi.
The group of young men followed him in a separate taxi, according to the security report. It’s unclear where the group went afterward, but the Toronto Star reported that the mayor later took them to Muzik nightclub.
The City Hall guards who spoke with the mayor that night said that Mr. Ford told them he was going to “head over to meet Beiber [sp].” According to the Toronto Star, pop singer Justin Bieber was at Muzik nightclub that night, and the mayor had a brief encounter with him.
The incident has similarities to security reports of St. Patrick’s Day, 2012, which say the mayor arrived at City Hall at about 2 a.m. with a few former staffers. Guards described him walking around with “a half empty bottle of St-Rémy French Brandy,” and swearing loudly. Former staffers alleged in a police document that the mayor became physically and verbally abusive that night, and made lewd comments to a female staffer and security guard.
The mayor denied those allegations and they have not been tested in court.