TORONTO – A media report is making fresh claims about Rob Ford, with accusations the Toronto mayor was driving while under the influence and using racial slurs.
The Toronto Star posted a story on its website Friday night under the headline “Rob Ford: One wild night in March.”
The story is based on unnamed sources and an audio tape that the Star says was recorded on the night of March 5.
Ford had just returned to Toronto from Los Angeles where he appeared on the late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live.
The Star says Ford’s speech sounded slurred on the audio tape and a source told the newspaper the mayor was wasted.
The Star says Ford can be heard on the audio tape making racist slurs.
The Canadian Press has not heard the audio tape nor talked to the newspaper’s sources and so cannot independently verify the account of Ford’s behaviour.
At one point the Star says Ford spoke to his lawyer Dennis Morris and the report said he expressed concern about him driving under the influence.
Morris told The Canadian Press he can’t comment on most of the Star story but says he doesn’t recall that Ford was driving.
“I don’t recollect his ever driving, I was thinking ‘don’t be driving,” Morris told The Canadian Press in a phone interview Friday.
“I was under the impression he was…not sure if it was parked or shopping plaza and he was making phone calls and I think I mentioned ‘shouldn’t be driving if you’re under the influence.’”
Ford indicated last week that he would be seeking immediate help for alcohol abuse.
The CBC reported Friday night that it spoke with a doctor at a clinic that treats people for substance abuse problem who verified Ford is a patient at the facility.
The CBC didn’t release the name of the facility citing the need to protect the privacy of the other patients, only saying it’s somewhere in North America.
There was speculation the mayor’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, would provide verification Friday that Ford was actually in a treatment facility in the wake of reports on social media that Rob Ford had been spotted in Toronto.
Morris says the CBC report was “part of” the verification.
“It was needed to have somebody aware of the mayor’s whereabouts, verify he was in a treatment facility, so I think that’s probably it,” Morris said.
In 1999 Ford was arrested in Florida for driving under the influence and marijuana possession. He ultimately pleaded no-contest to the impaired driving charge and the drug charge was dropped.