Brother: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford starts rehab, will overcome 'this little challenge'

The Associated Press

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home early Thursday May 1, 2014, in Toronto. Ford will take an immediate leave of absence to seek help for alcohol, he said, as a report surfaced about a second video of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

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By ROB GILLIES, Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford expects to overcome his "little challenge" with substance abuse and get back to work after a stint in rehab, his brother said Friday.

Even as Ford began his treatment at an undisclosed location, another report of the mayor behaving inappropriately while intoxicated emerged Friday. A report written by City Hall officials said Ford turned up intoxicated at the front security office at City Hall on St. Patrick's Day and threatened a guard who had reported the mayor for similar behavior two years ago.

But Ford's brother said the mayor is on a path toward recovery. The mayor of Canada's largest city announced he was taking a leave of absence and checked into rehab Thursday, a day after reports emerged of a second video that appears to show Ford puffing from a crack pipe.

"He's in a good place. Everything is fine. He's going to get over this little challenge and get back to business," Doug Ford told The Associated Press.

Doug Ford, a city councilor who is also his brother's re-election campaign manager, said he has been in touch with the mayor, but declined to say where he was being treated, or how long he would stay there.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly is now in charge of the city, but he had already assumed most of the powers that were stripped of Ford last year by Toronto's City Council. The scandal over Ford's crack use started last May when news reports emerged of a first video showing him smoking the drug. After police said they had obtained that video, Ford admitted that he had used the crack in a "drunken stupor."

Although Ford has not abandoned his bid to seek a second term in October elections, the revelation of a second crack video raised skepticism about his chances of prevailing. His decision to seek treatment comes months after he announced he was finished with alcohol — only to have steady reports of more drunken behavior emerge.

"He still has some fans," said Grace Skogstad, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto's campus in Scarborough, one of the amalgamated suburbs where Ford has been most popular. "Had he sought the kind of help he needed earlier, he could have had a fighting chance for re-election."

The City Hall report released Friday disclosed another incident on March 15. His speech slurred, Ford visited the security desk at City Hall and handed out St. Patrick's Day beads. He then threatened to "get" a guard who reported that on St. Patrick's Day two years ago, the mayor was walking around City Hall with "a half empty bottle of St-Remy French Brandy."

Top executives of the city met with Ford days later and asked him to apologize to the guards but he declined, saying he had not seen the report.

"A copy of the report has now been provided to the mayor. To our knowledge, he has not apologized to the staff involved," said city spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza.

The City Hall report was publicly released in response to freedom of information requests filed by Canadian news organizations. It was not immediately clear why the city officials did not disclose the incident earlier.

The mayor's chief of staff didn't respond to a messages seeking comment Friday.

Ford was elected four years ago on a wave of support from Toronto's suburbs, galvanizing conservative voters with promises to slash spending, keep taxes low and end what he called "the war on the car."

Some loyalists are sticking by him.

"He's been involved with the people, he wants to save people money," said Kalyan Gohain, 43, a sales executive who lives in Ford's suburb of Etobicoke. "For those people who aren't financially well off, he knocked on their doors to see where their problems were. That's what the mayor should do, to see and hear from the people what they want."