VANCOUVER — Toronto’s embattled mayor didn’t succeed in leaving controversy behind during a trip to the West Coast this weekend, receiving a slap on the wrist from the law in a Vancouver suburb.
Ford spokesman Amin Massoudi confirmed Rob Ford received a jaywalking ticket on Friday night.
A Global News report cites a witness who said Ford, who was in B.C. to attend the funeral of a friend’s mother, was crossing a road linking the Vancouver-area municipalities of Burnaby and Coquitlam when police stopped him.
Global reported the mayor had visited a Coquitlam pub earlier that night, and some revellers snapped photos that were posted online of a smiling Ford dressed in suit and tie.
The Toronto Sun quoted Ford as saying he was shocked officers gave him a jaywalking ticket and "they went out of their way to do this."
The RCMP, which is responsible for policing Coquitlam, refused to comment on the reasons Ford received the ticket or how many tickets are issued for jaywalking.
"The RCMP does not routinely disclose or publicly comment on matters that do not involve Criminal Code or other serious offences including violation tickets. This policy is applied for all individuals regardless of who they are," RCMP Sgt. Rob Vermeulen said in an email.
Local council members in Coquitlam dismissed any suggestion police singled Ford out.
"I would say it’s just laziness on his part," said Coquitlam Coun. Brent Asmundsen. "He keeps making the moves, no matter what he does."
Craig Hodge, another Coquitlam councillor, said Ford shouldn’t expect preferential treatment from the law.
"If the police caught him crossing against the light or not following the signals, I would expect him to be treated as any other citizen in our city," he said in a phone interview.
There is no excuse for jaywalking because traffic signals and signs very clearly indicate where and when a pedestrian can cross the street, Hodge said.
Global earlier said the witness stated Ford had said he was also ticketed for public intoxication, but the TV network said Saturday the person has since retracted that statement.
Massoudi said in an email Saturday Ford was only ticketed for jaywalking and "did not receive any other tickets or citations."
Still, the ticket would seem to be the least of Ford’s ongoing troubles.
Earlier this week an ex-boyfriend of Ford’s sister filed a lawsuit claiming the mayor conspired to have him attacked in jail to prevent his illicit behaviours from becoming publicly known.
Scott MacIntyre alleges in his statement of claim Ford arranged for jail staff to facilitate the beating.
MacIntyre was jailed in early 2012 after pleading guilty to a charge of threatening the mayor.
It was there in March 2012 that he was brutally beaten, more than a year before the Toronto Star and U.S. website Gawker reported the existence of a video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
None of MacIntyre’s allegations has been proven in court, and Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, says "They’re without fact or foundation."
The mayor, however, has admitted to consuming too much alcohol on occasion, as well as smoking crack cocaine, likely in a "drunken stupor," and to smoking marijuana.
One of his friends, Alexander Lisi, is facing drug charges as well as an extortion charge for alleged attempts to retrieve the notorious crack video.
— The Canadian Press