With a little more than a week left before Rob Ford returns to City Hall, his brother and campaign manager is in election mode, promising two or more "FordFests" this summer and accusing the campaign of rival candidate Karen Stintz of using a stolen, confidential e-mail list from the mayor's office.
Doug Ford held several media scrums on Friday to lash out against Ms. Stintz, who he said is sending e-mails to individuals that have contacted the mayor's office in recent years – addresses he said she could get only if she had access to confidential information kept in a database in Rob Ford's office.
"You want a juicy story?" Mr. Ford asked, stepping out of a meeting of the budget committee Friday. "There's a breach of security in the mayor's office. Karen Stintz has illegally received a contact list from the mayor's office. That is city property. It cannot be removed."
Mr. Ford subsequently said he had met with police in his office to report the alleged theft and had reported the incident to the city manager, as well as the heads of human resources and information technology.
A spokeswoman for the Toronto Police confirmed that officers from 52 Division visited the councillor's office on Friday.
The city's chief financial officer and deputy city manager Rob Rossini, the director of council support services, and a manager from information technology met with Councillor Ford, city spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza said. City manager Joe Pennachetti also was there for a portion of the meeting, she said.
Ms. Stintz's campaign did not directly respond to the allegations.
"We have people supporting Karen who have supported other candidates in the past, and we accept lists that are given to us. If people on our list don't want to support Karen or don't want to receive e-mails, they can simply click on unsubscribe," it said in a statement. Later Friday, at a WorldPride event, Ms. Stintz said she had no further comment.
Doug Ford's allegations centre on an e-mail blast sent out by Ms. Stintz's campaign on Wednesday. Since then, he said, he has received calls and e-mails from people – including one man in Calgary – questioning how her campaign got their personal e-mail addresses when they had given them only to the mayor's office.
Rob Ford has given official notice that he will be back at city hall after 1 p.m. on Monday, June 30.
Councillor Doug Ford said the mayor will limit his remarks to a prepared statement that day. "June 30, he will address the people of Toronto. There won't be any questions or answers," he said. "July 1, he will be going out to events. July 2, he will be sitting down with some major media outlets and talking to them."
Toronto's controversial leader left office at the end of April, stating that he was seeking treatment for his "problem with alcohol."
The mayor's decision to take a leave came after The Globe and Mail reported the existence of a video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine in his sister's basement. An audio tape was released on the same day by The Toronto Sun that captured the mayor in what appeared to be a drunken rant that included lewd comments about Ms. Stintz. The mayor has offered no apology for those remarks.
Rob Ford as been at a rehab facility north of Toronto but has continued to make news while on leave. His car was impounded after a woman he apparently lent it to was pulled over by police and charged with impaired driving.
Doug Ford said the family will hold a FordFest barbecue in Scarborough on July 29, with another in Etobicoke later in the summer and possibly one in North York and downtown.
"You'll see Ford Nation in full swing," he predicted of the Scarborough event.
Mr. Ford said people are willing to give "second chances," and are anxious for the mayor to get back to work. "We look forward to everyone underestimating the mayor," he said. "We have four months left [before the election]. Rob has a tremendous amount of support in the city."
With a report from Sean Tepper