They tried to make him go to rehab—and he finally said yes. In what his allies, his critics, and his siblings say is a long overdue move, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has taken a leave of absence to seek help with his substance abuse problems. He flew to Chicago, where he has family and business ties, yesterday with no word on when he would be back, CBS reports. His swift departure from the city came after more recordings of him smoking crack and drunkenly ranting surfaced. More:
- If Ford misses three city council meetings, he will no longer be mayor—and most council members will be delighted. "We can no longer be held hostage to this sort of suspended animation he’s put us in, for saying this is just a leave," Councillor Janet Davis says. "I think it’s in the best interest of the city that the mayor resign."
- The mayor's latest fall off the wagon began more than a month ago, when he was spotted drinking heavily at an exclusive Toronto nightclub, the Toronto Star finds. Witnesses, at least one of whom claims to have seen the mayor doing lines of cocaine, say he disappeared into a private bathroom for almost an hour and came out babbling that he was "in over his head."
- Earlier, he had met Justin Bieber inside the club and witnesses say he became enraged when the pop star asked him, "Did you bring any crack to smoke?"
- After offensive remarks on the latest tapes, the city's press is solidly against Ford, including the Toronto Sun, which endorsed him in 2010. "Let him dry out, deal with his demons, seek the therapy he requires and eventually come home to his family a healthier man. But don’t expect us to be waiting with open arms," writes Michele Mandel at the paper. "No amount of renewed sobriety will erase what we’ve long suspected and have now heard for ourselves: At heart, the real Rob Ford is a racist, sexist, homophobic pig."
- On the latest Ford tape, the mayor can be heard saying the city will end up begging him to come back if it fails to re-elect him this fall, CTV reports. "I'm not coming back," he says. "Once I'm done, I'm done. I’m going to California."