Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is facing fresh charges of homophobia from a council colleague, the same day he offered a private apology to Councillor Karen Stintz over past lewd remarks he made about her.
The homophobia allegation on Thursday by openly gay Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam came after Mr. Ford cast the only vote against a study on a possible shelter for LGBT youth.
The day before, Mr. Ford had denied he was homophobic after he remained rooted in his chair while council gave a standing ovation to organizers of WorldPride and to Councillor Wong-Tam for her work on the event.
After Thursday’s shelter vote, Ms. Wong-Tam, an activist in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, faced reporters for the second day to say the mayor’s actions showed his real values. Such behaviour, she said, would not be tolerated in the private sector.
“The mayor is homophobic,” she said. “There’s probably not too many people left in the city who have been observing his behaviour, observing and bearing witness to his actions, that can draw any other conclusion except that the mayor is a homophobe.”
Such behaviour, she said, would likely have promoted a reprimand or counselling if it happened in a business setting.
Earlier Thursday, Mr. Ford had a private meeting in his office with Ms. Stintz – the target of lewd sexual remarks by the mayor that were caught on tape in the days leading up to his departure to rehab.
“The matter is settled. That’s all I am saying,” Ms. Stintz said.
Both Ms. Stintz and Mr. Ford’s office confirmed the 15-minute meeting was initiated by the mayor. Ms. Stintz would not discuss what took place, but a spokesman for the mayor, Amin Massoudi, said an apology was given.
Mr. Ford, who returned from a two-month leave of absence last week, included a public apology to Ms. Stintz in his first address, but Ms. Stintz, who is running for mayor, rejected it.
Mr. Ford did not stop to answer reporters’ questions Thursday, leaving his brother and campaign manager Doug Ford to address fresh reports about the mayor’s time in rehab.
The Etobicoke councillor called a Muskoka woman a “liar,” after she said the mayor is still in contact with alleged drug dealer Alessandro (Sandro) Lisi.
Doug Ford told reporters that there’s no truth to the account given by Lee Anne McRobb, a Muskoka woman arrested for impaired driving in the mayor’s car, to the Toronto Sun.
“I’m saying she’s lying, unequivocally. One-hundred per cent,” Doug Ford said. “He’s ended his relationship with Lisi, absolutely, 100 per cent.”
The Globe made repeated attempts to reach Ms. McRobb and her family, but requests for comment were declined.
Ms. McRobb, 36, told the Sun that she became “best buddies” with the mayor while in rehab at GreeneStone clinic in Muskoka in May. She told the newspaper that the mayor took to calling her by a nickname – “country pumpkin” – and arranged through his friend Mr. Lisi to lend her his black Cadillac Escalade in May after her own truck was involved in a collision.
Since returning from rehab last week, the mayor has vowed publicly that he’s stopped associating with negative influences. Mr. Lisi is a friend and occasional driver of the mayor’s who is facing drug and extortion charges in a police investigation also targeting the mayor.
“I now realize that I was blind to the dangers of some of the company I kept,” he said in a statement at City Hall last week. “And those associations have ended.”
The councillor also called Ms. McRobb’s claim that she met him in Muskoka when she was with the mayor untrue. “Never met her,” Doug Ford said.