From an outsider's perspective, there's a pathetic quality to the trouble Toronto Mayor Rob Ford gets himself into.
It's not as if he's been caught lining his pockets with kickback money or giving lucrative contracts to friendly businesses.
The stuff he's caught up in just seems ... boneheaded.
He's been caught in a confrontation with a faux comic newslady, spotted driving whilst reading documents, swearing at 911 operators and driving past an open streetcar door.
Last week, Ford pleaded ignorance about conflict-of-interest rules in a court hearing about him voting on an issue that directly affected him — whether he should give back donations from a lobbyist to his kids' football charity. That could cost him his job and ban him from office for years.
Now come reports he used paid staffers from his office to help him with his football program.
The Globe and Mail reports a former quarterback from the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, hired as a "special assistant" in the mayor's office, has been helping with football practices for the Don Bosco Eagles high-school team in his home base of Etobicoke.
Two other special assistants are listed as contacts on the official Facebook page for Ford's Rexdale Raiders summer football league teams, the Globe says.
At his conflict-of-intrest hearing in Ontario Superior Court last week, Ford admitted misusing city staff, letterhead and logos to promote his private football foundation.
"I did use my staff [for the football foundation] and I was wrong to do that ... that's been rectified numerous years ago," Ford testified.
Apparently not, the Globe says. A city official confirmed the phone numbers used by two Ford assistants as contact numbers on the Raiders' Facebook page belong to city-issued phones. One of the numbers appears on a Facebook recruitment poster for the team, along with the assistant's name.
The ex-quarterback was spotted as late as Tuesday helping Ford to lead a practice of the Don Bosco Eagles.
Ford's critics say his devotion to coaching football, as a way of helping troubled teens, is taking time away from his official duties.
Earlier this week he bailed out of a city council executive committee meeting that he chairs more than five hours before it ended so he could coach the Eagles in a pre-season game.
"He's not being paid to coach football, he's not being paid to do anything other than being mayor by taxpayers," Coun. Adam Vaughan said.
Ford dismissed the criticism and defended his staffers, who his brother Doug, a city councillor, said were volunteering their time for a cause dear to their boss.
"I'm okay if councillors want to criticize me for helping kids. That's their right," Ford said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Toronto Sun. "I'm a big guy and I can take it.
"However, councillors should not be criticizing my staff. Each and every one of them works hard every day for the taxpayers of this great city. They put in at least 40 hours of work for taxpayers every week. Often more."
But the Toronto Star reported Doug Ford's characterization of his brother's staffers as volunteers differs from an explanation in the statement issued on the mayor's behalf that said they accompanied him on his coaching forays "in order to assist him in his official duties."
Ford, elected Toronto's mayor in the fall of 2010 after several terms as a city councillor has another two years left on his term.