Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized for using vulgar language while denying allegations of infidelity on Thursday, but still plans on launching legal action against former staff members who spoke to police as part of an ongoing drug investigation.
Ford denied earlier in the day allegations released in police documents, including a claim that he had once offered to perform cunnilingus on a former female staffer.
"It says I wanted to eat her p*ssy and I have never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I'm happily married. I've got more than enough to eat at home," Ford said in the morning. By the afternoon, Ford had faced enough pressure that he apologized for his graphic comments.
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"I want to apologize for my graphic remarks this morning," Ford said as his wife stood next to him.
"For the past six months I have been under tremendous, tremendous stress. The stress is largely of my own making.... These allegations are 100 per cent lies. When you attack my integrity at a father and a husband, I see red."
Ford said he was seeing professionals for his substance abuse issues but refused to discuss the matter further. He claimed he was accepting responsibility and asked that the public "respect my family's privacy."
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford scrums with the media as he arrives at his office on Thursday November 14, 2013.
The main course in Ford's morning statement was the announcement that he would launch legal action against three former staff members who made various statements about Ford's behaviour during interviews with police in a drug investigation.
Those allegations include claims Ford abused drugs, drank alcohol while driving and brought a woman believed to be an escort back to city hall. Ford later admitted he may have drank and driven.
"I've never had a prostitute here," Ford said. "I am very happily married at home. This is very disturbing."
Ford vowed to sue former staffers Isaac Ransom, George Christopolous and Mark Towhey, as well as a Bier Markt employee who described to police what was believed to be Ford using cocaine in one of the restaurant's private rooms.
The statements come after city council formally urged Ford to temporarily step down and seek treatment. And on Thursday, council was left further reeling from Ford's comments.
Coun. Janet Davis said she was stunned when she heard Ford's comments on the radio.
"I heard the mayor make statements I found repugnant, distasteful, hateful and misogynist about a former staff person and his wife. I have never heard such disgraceful language and statements made in the public realm by an elected official, ever," Davis said.
"I am not going to ask as a remedy for the mayor to stand up and apologize. I do not want to hear any more from him. And I would simply ask that he refrain from the kind of remarks that are bringing this institution into disrepute.
Mayor Ford did in fact stand, and he did not apologize. "No one, and no one is going to accuse me of having escorts and doing lines of cocaine at a bar, and former staffers saying I am making sexual advances to my other staffers," Ford said. "I'm not going to put up with it. My wife is well aware of it, and I am not going to put up with it."