TORONTO, Cananda – Toronto’s embattled mayor claimed in an interview aired Monday evening that some of his recent controversies are rooted in political differences with police Chief Bill Blair over budget cuts he had once requested of all city departments .
”He (Blair) wasn‘t happy when I told people to find efficiencies. I think he was quite upset at that,” Ford said in an interview recorded last week with ex-media mogul Conrad Black which aired Monday evening on Vision TV.
“I definitely think this is political. I think that they use (Sandro) Lisi as a prop to get to me,‘‘ Ford said.
Blair has previously denied such allegations by stating that his job is to investigate “without fear or favour.”
Lisi, 35, who is Ford’s friend and occasional driver, was charged in October with trafficking in marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
Lisi’s two criminal cases are both set for Jan. 14 judicial pre-trials, which are case conferences between the lawyers and a judge behind closed doors.
Those charges were laid as the result of a Toronto police investigation that was initially launched to look into reports of a video appearing to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Ford also added a new chapter to a long-running feud with the Toronto Star in the interview by claiming reporter Daniel Dale was taking pictures of his children at his home in west-end Toronto in May 2012.
He has alleged Dale was spying on him, while Dale contended he was on public property doing research for a story. Dale alleged he was physically threatened by the mayor, a claim which Ford later denied.
”I have little kids. When a guy’s taking pictures of little kids, I don’t want to say that word, but you starting thinking you know, what’s this guy all about.”
Toronto Star editor Michael Cooke told The Canadian Press in an email following the program that this is the latest outrageous statement made by Ford.
”Just when you think Mayor Ford has said the most stupid thing, such as letting the whole world know about his sex life at home, he tops himself with another outrage,” wrote Cooke.
”Mr. Ford calling reporter Daniel Dale a pedophile tells you all you need to know about our mayor’s brain.”`
Ford claimed in the interview that while Dale was on city property, he was standing on cinder blocks peering over his fence to take pictures.
“I just lost it when my neighbour called me.”
“I don’t know what he was taking pictures. We never, ever saw these pictures, but I have many witnesses. I was upset … that’s just crossing the line,” Ford added.
Ford also claimed that the controversies that have been swirling around him are ‘‘ripping our family apart.‘‘
The embattled mayor also told Black he’s willing to submit to a urine test to prove he has no drugs or alcohol in his system.
“If they want me to do a drug test, a urine test, I’ll do one right now,” said Ford.
”If there’s any drugs in my system, any alcohol in my system, I have no problem doing that test. I’m feeling better than I ever have, I’m training two hours a day.”
Ford added that he is successfully avoiding alcohol because of how his drinking has caused him past embarrassments.
”I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in five weeks. I was never an alcoholic. A couple of times I made a fool of myself, if you want to be frank … and enough‘s enough.‘‘
Ford has been under scrutiny since May, when two media outlets reported that a video showed the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.
After a string of denials, Ford stunned observers last month by admitting he had smoked crack in one of his “drunken stupors.”
The mayor is also facing allegations he offered purported gang members money and a car in exchange for a video _ unproven claims contained in police documents that are part of a guns and gangs investigation.
Black _ who served 37 months in a Florida prison after being convicted in the U.S. for fraud and obstruction of justice _ says Ford should be accorded a full presumption of innocence unless he is justly convicted and “beyond that his accusers should put up or shut up.”
In the interview, Black asserted that Ford doesn’t have a legal problem and there is no possible criminal prosecution on the horizon, and Ford agreed.
‘‘If I‘ve done something illegal, I‘ve told the police to arrest me,” Ford said.
Ford also reiterated in the interview that he has nothing else to hide.
”There‘s nothing else … maybe I didn‘t do my homework in Grade 3. I’m not quite sure.”