When Mayor Rob Ford returned to Toronto this week, saying he’d met “movers and shakers of the movie industry” in Los Angeles, he was referring to a flashy Hollywood Oscar party he attended Sunday, where VIP tickets sold for thousands of dollars.
Mr. Ford attended the rooftop party at the W Hollywood Hotel as a guest of a local businessman who purchased a $2,500 poolside cabana for the night, said Bob Hellman, the night’s organizer. Mr. Hellman said he wasn’t notified that Mr. Ford would be attending, and that the mayor was not formally invited by organizers.
“I didn’t even know he was there until I saw him on TMZ the next day,” Mr. Hellman said, referring to a report that claimed the mayor had paid “big money to party with hot chicks in Hollywood.” The mayor’s spokesperson denied that report, saying he “did not purchase a cabana, nor was one purchased for him.”
Mr. Hellman said that even if the mayor had just shown up uninvited, “we probably would have let him in since he’s a quasi-celebrity.” He added that he’s been told the mayor was not drinking, and “there were no shenanigans as far as I know.”
The mayor has said that the L.A. trip was not only to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but also to promote Toronto’s film industry. “I must have handed out 1,000 cards,” he said. His brother Doug added: “We were working the room like no one’s ever worked a room.”
The event, called The Salute to the Stars, was a benefit for The Actors Fund, and actively courts celebrities. Musicians Billy Ray Cyrus and Taylor Hicks were among the attendees.
“If you’re a Celebrity, Producer, Director, Studio Exec, or someone of importance to this industry please feel free to send me a personal note as we would love to have you attend our Red Carpet Charity Event,” the website reads.
The cabana package would have entitled Mr. Ford’s group not only to “two bottles of premium vodka and one bottle of premium champagne,” but also “celebrity photo ops,” and the chance to “mix and mingle with Hollywood’s finest.”