Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Denies Published Report He Was Intoxicated at Event

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Denies Published Report He Was Intoxicated at Event

Article excerpt

Ford denies report he was drunk at event


TORONTO - Toronto's embattled mayor is denying allegations that he showed up drunk for an official function last month, dismissing the latest controversy to plague his mayoralty as "lies after lies and lies."

An agitated Rob Ford addressed the allegations briefly at a news conference Tuesday honouring former boxing champion George Chuvalo, blasting the Toronto newspaper that published them for what he called its "relentless" attacks against him.

"It's an outright lie," he said.

"It's the Toronto Star going after me again and again and again."

The Star reported Ford was asked to leave the Garrison Ball, which raises money for the Wounded Warriors charity, over concerns he was intoxicated.

The paper said its report is based on interviews with several organizers and guests, all of whom requested anonymity.

It also said current and former members of Ford's staff have described a longtime battle with alcohol abuse and a failed attempt to get the mayor into rehabilitation treatment.

A city councillor, Paul Ainslie, told the Star that Ford was asked to leave the gala, but wouldn't say why. One unnamed organizer said it happened because "he seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition."

But Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in an email that he spoke briefly with Ford at the event and that "he looked fine to me."

Ford's spokesman George Christopoulous also said the mayor "was never asked to leave the gala."

Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke stands by the newspaper's report.

"If we're lying it means six or seven other prominent people at that dinner are lying as well. Is he calling them liars?"

Cooke said the story is based on several sources, many who came from Ford's inner circle and contacted the paper out of concern for the mayor.

And he flatly denied Ford's claim the paper is out to get him.

"We've covered him the way we would cover any mayor," Cooke said.

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday says no one has ever approached him with concerns over Ford drinking, and suggests the accusations are part of a broader scheme to discredit the mayor.

"There are people that do not like our agenda. …

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