Is Friday the beginning of the end for Toronto's troubled Mayor Rob Ford?
Not so, if you ask Ford. But a growing contingent in Toronto's City Council seem to think it's time for him to go.
The council is scheduled to meet Friday to begin mapping out a plan to usurp much of Ford's power. Despite admitting last week that he had smoked crack cocaine in a "drunken stupor" about a year ago, Ford has defiantly said he will not leave his job.
But while fighting for his job Thursday, Ford added to his growing list of missteps.
Early in the day, a scrum of reporters approached Ford to ask him about new allegations of drunkenness, drug use and the verbal and physical abuse of aides.
In the course of answering, he denied a female staffer's allegation that he sought to perform oral sex with graphic language of his own, stunning reporters.
Later in the day, he backtracked.
With his wife at his side, he went back before reporters to say he had been under "tremendous, tremendous stress" and was getting unspecified support from "a team of health care professionals." But he called the latest allegations "100% lies."
"When you attack my integrity as a father and as a husband, I see red. Today I acted on complete impulse in my remarks," Ford said. He took no questions from reporters, who shouted sharp inquiries at him as he entered the office.
"Mayor Ford, why should we believe you? Why would you subject your family to this?" one asked.
"What's the matter with you, Mr. Mayor?" another said.
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Explosive new allegations surfaced about embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in court documents released Wednesday - the same day the city council voted to ask him to take a leave of absence.
The court report, more than 500 pages long, alleges a pattern of drug use, and erratic and sometimes abusive behavior by the mayor. A judge ordered the report's release late last month.
The documents include police interviews with former staff members, information obtained from surveillance crews and cameras, and even an examination of the mayor's garbage.
The documents were used by Canadian police to get a search warrant for Alexander Lisi, Ford's friend and occasional driver, whom police accuse of marijuana possession and trafficking.
Several staffers said they were asked to buy alcohol for the mayor. One incident described by a former staffer alleged that Ford, while driving, stopped the vehicle, guzzled some vodka, and drove on.
Chris Fickel, who worked as a special assistant to Ford, said the mayor would ask him to perform odd jobs at his house. Fickel said he would be called "to change light bulbs in the front lawn, change batteries in his children's toys, buying cartons of cigarettes, bleach, laundry detergent and diet Coke for the mayor's wife."
One staffer told police the mayor was inebriated on St. Patrick's Day in 2012 and got into a physical altercation with two staff members. He alleges the mayor was verbally abusive and inappropriate with a female staff member.
Another staffer said the same night, he saw a woman who may have been an escort or prostitute in the mayor's office.
Ford's former press secretary George Christopoulos also said women often came to the mayor's office, "and told staffers that they have smoked a joint with the mayor on the street outside of the bar. These women were told by the mayor that they could have a job." Christopoulos would then have to interview these women and try to talk them out of a job.
None of the allegations against Ford has been proven, and he faces no criminal charges.
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