TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided not to try to enter the United States shortly after flying to Chicago last Thursday, hours after saying he would take a leave of absence from his job to seek treatment for an alcohol problem, the Globe and Mail newspaper said on Tuesday.
The Globe said Canada’s consul general in Chicago, Roy Norton, told it that Ford “voluntarily withdrew” an application to enter the United States after landing in Chicago, and “was not denied entry, per se”. He declined to speculate on why.
Norton could not immediately be reached to confirm the report.
Ford’s decision to enter treatment came nearly a year after media reports first surfaced that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine. He has subsequently admitted to smoking crack, buying illegal drugs and driving after drinking.
Reached on Tuesday morning, Ford’s criminal lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the mayor is in treatment. On whether Ford had turned back from Chicago, Morris said: “I‘m not going to comment about anything that I don’t know.”
Asked whether he had spoken to the mayor directly about going into treatment, Morris said: “I‘m not going into detail, but I can assure you he is.”
Travelers can be refused entry to the United States for a number of reasons, including some criminal convictions. But Ford has not been charged in connection with his recent admissions, and he has crossed the border since the scandal made headlines around the world. He visited Los Angeles in March, for example.
Ford’s current whereabouts are not public knowledge.
The mayor’s staff and Canadian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment. U.S. Customs and Border Protection had no immediate comment.
Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and Peter Galloway