Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends an executive committee meeting at Toronto City Hall on Thursday December 5, 2013. Ford sparked yet another controversy and the threat of legal action when he appeared to accuse a newspaper reporter of having pedophilic tendencies in a televised interview.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young Chris Young/The Canadian Press
Conrad Black appears unlikely to be putting a Rob Ford re-election sign on the lawn of his Toronto home next year.
The former media mogul recently sat down with the mayor for a taped interview that aired on Vision TV Monday night.
Following the interview, Black said Wednesday that some people have been left with the mistaken impression that he wants to see Ford run for a second term as mayor.
"I gather, it has been imputed to me that I am aligned with Ford and a supporter of his for re-election — that is not the case, I never said any such thing," Black said in an interview with CBC Radio’s As It Happens.
"And that would not, in fact, be my view, unless his opponent was somebody that was just really terribly unacceptable."
Star reporter considers legal action
During the Vision TV interview, Ford made allegations about Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale, in which it appeared that the mayor accused the journalist of being a pedophile.
Dale said Ford’s suggestion was "false," "malicious" and "defamatory." The journalist is considering whether to take legal action as a result of the mayor’s comments.
The newspaper’s editor in chief, Michael Cooke, has also slammed the mayor over his remarks.
"Just when you think Mayor Ford has said the most stupid thing, such as letting the whole world know about his sex life at home, he tops himself with another outrage," Cooke told The Canadian Press after the Vision TV interview aired.
"Mr. Ford calling reporter Daniel Dale a pedophile tells you all you need to know about our mayor's brain. So sad for all of us."
The mayor’s remarks also spurred Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly to denounce Ford’s "dead wrong" comments and call on him to apologize.
Black told As It Happens that he did not believe the mayor was necessarily making a pedophilia-related allegation.
From Black’s viewpoint, Ford made his comments when describing an interaction he had with Dale at the back of his property in May of last year.
The Star journalist had been gathering information about public land the mayor hoped to purchase adjacent to his Etobicoke home when Ford confronted him at the rear of his property. Police were called and they investigated the matter, but within days determined that no charges would be laid.
When describing the incident to Black, Ford cast it as an occasion in which his children were playing outside and the reporter was taking pictures.
"That doesn’t mean he’s a pedophile, I didn’t take it that was what Ford was saying," said Black, who believed the mayor may have been suggesting that Dale could be "unduly nosy in the way, frankly, that lots of journalists frequently are."
Ford’s account to Black contradicts what Dale said at the time of the May 2012 incident, namely that he didn’t look over the mayor’s fence and wasn’t there to take pictures.
The journalist has since reiterated that he never took photos of the mayor, his family or his house, which Dale said was what the police investigation found as well.
Latest controversy for Ford
Ford has made headlines around the world for a drug-related controversy that has raged for months.
In May, reports emerged that someone had been shopping a video showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Ford long denied both using the drug and the video’s existence, until police revealed in October that they had obtained a video file that was consistent with what the media had reported.
Within days, Ford admitted he had smoked crack cocaine. The mayor also admitted to buying illegal drugs while serving in office and also to drinking to excess.
Ford also admitted being "extremely inebriated" in a separate video that came to light, showing him ranting and swearing. The Star paid to obtain the video, which it published on its website.
The mayor has ignored all calls to step down, or even to take a leave of absence in the wake of his many admissions and related apologies. Ford has sat down for a number of high-profile interviews, including with NBC, Fox News, CNN and more recently with Black.
Despite the controversy and others that came before it, Ford has said he will run for re-election next year. He has also said it will be an "outright war" between him and his opponents on council.