Editor's Note: The following is the second of three online articles explaining the Toronto City Hall saga that has gripped the country. Parts I and III can be found by following the links below. This article explains who are the key players in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's inner circle and which staffers have recently left his office.
THE INNER CIRCLE
Councillor Doug Ford
He is the mayor’s older brother and most vocal supporter. When the mayor has been unwilling to go in front of the cameras to discuss his many controversies, it has often fallen upon Doug to step in. His speeches tend to lash out at the media and focus on the mayor’s fiscal record. Doug, of course, is no stranger to controversy himself. The businessman-turned-politician landed in hot water a few weeks ago when he was accused of making homophobic remarks in the council chamber. When The Globe and Mail ran an investigative report recently citing sources who said Doug Ford was a high-volume hashish dealer in the 1980s, his response was decidedly different from the way Rob has handled the crack-video controversy: Doug went on a media blitz the day The Globe story surfaced, while the mayor didn’t offer a detailed response for a week and took no questions.
The former financial adviser and Ford family friend is now Rob Ford’s director of operations and logistics. When reporters headed to the mayor’s house the day after the drug-video allegations first surfaced, it was Mr. Price who was waiting to make sure the mayor could drive away from the media throng. The same Globe story about Doug Ford’s past cited sources who said Mr. Price participated in the drug enterprise. He has not responded to the allegations.
He is the mayor’s new chief of staff, although the two share some ideological differences, given Mr. Provost’s connections to the federal Liberals. Mr. Provost was the Ontario leadership organizer for Paul Martin and director of parliamentary affairs for Joe Volpe. He served as Mr. Ford’s deputy campaign manager in the 2010 mayoral race, before moving to director of stakeholder and council relations. He has a low-key presence at city hall and rarely speaks with reporters, although this isn’t necessarily unusual for the mayor’s staffers.
The mayor’s senior policy adviser and director of council affairs worked mostly in the background before taking over press secretary duties after the resignation of George Christopoulos. He was previously an executive assistant to former councillor Case Ootes.
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday
He is one of the mayor’s closest political allies and another of his most visible supporters. When the mayor told reporters last week that he was not a crack addict, Mr. Holyday was one of the people at his side. He first met the Fords when he visited their family business to get help with his campaign signs.
Rob Ford’s former chief of staff was one of the mayor’s closest advisers. He was at Mr. Ford’s side during the mayoral race and would often be seen huddled with the mayor during council meetings, whispering advice. He was fired, sources said, after telling the mayor to get help for his addiction. He was previously a Canadian Forces infantry captain and a crisis-management consultant in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The former press secretary resigned Monday “on principle.” Mr. Christopoulos was previously a Toronto Sun reporter, then a police spokesman.
Isaac Ransom– The former member of the mayor’s communications team previously served as executive assistant to Councillor Gary Crawford. Like Mr. Christopoulos he has said little about his departure. He was one of the mayor’s many young staffers and his Twitter bio now lists him as an “aspiring Wal-Mart greeter.”
Brian Johnston– Mr. Johnston was one of the mayor’s policy advisers. His departure set off a mad dash to the City Hall parking lot after he was seen being escorted out by security. He told reporters the timing was right for his resignation.
Kia Nejatian– He was Mr. Ford’s director of field organization during the 2010 campaign, then moved to the position of executive assistant. Mr. Towhey tweeted Mr. Nejatian and Mr. Johnston were “exceptional young pros with great integrity.”
Michael Prempeh– The special assistant was one of two former University of Toronto football players to join Mr. Ford’s staff last year. He was the sixth member of the mayor’s bare-bones staff to leave in just over a week, although his departure was said to be linked to his desire to focus on a position with a Toronto Web-based magazine.