Toronto mayor says 'I'm sorry' again, to get help for alcohol problem

Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:14pm EST
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By Solarina Ho and Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, under huge pressure to quit after he admitted smoking crack cocaine, said on Thursday he was getting help for a drinking problem, but offered no indication that he might step down.

Ford also expressed remorse for an obscene outburst he made earlier in the day when denying an allegation he had made sexual overtures to a female member of his staff.

"I want to apologize for my graphic remarks this morning," Ford said in the latest of a string of apologies, his wife, Renata, standing silently at his side. "For the past six months I have been under tremendous, tremendous stress."

He added: "I fully realize in the past I have drank alcohol in excess. I wish you to know that I'm receiving support from a team of healthcare professionals."

Pressure started building on Ford this spring, when reporters with the Toronto Star and U.S. media blog Gawker said they had seen a cellphone video that appeared to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.

Ford spent months denying he used crack, but admitted this month he had done so "in one of my drunken stupors," and apologized. He conceded on Wednesday that he had also bought illegal drugs, and again apologized for his mistakes. On Thursday, he admitted he had driven after drinking alcohol.

The Toronto city council - which does not have the power to fire Ford - on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted to urge him to take time off and deal with his personal problems. He says he will not quit.

HURTING TORONTO   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks during council at City Hall in Toronto November 14, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch