A front-page Toronto Star story published Tuesday quoted sources, many of them unnamed, who told the paper Ford spoke in a rambling, incoherent manner at the Feb. 23 Garrison Ball and appeared to be intoxicated.
Coun. Paul Ainslie, one of the organizers of the ball, has confirmed to CBC News that he spoke to Ford at the event and told the mayor's chief of staff Mark Towhey that he thought it would be best if Ford left.
"At the Garrison Ball, there was concerns. I asked the mayor's chief of staff for the mayor to leave," Ainslie said.
Ainslie said he spoke with the mayor briefly that night, but would not say why he made the suggestion that Ford should leave.
When asked if people approached him and raised issues about Ford's behaviour, or about how the mayor seemed at the gala, Coun. Ainslie declined to comment.
On Tuesday night, the gala's organizing committee sent out an email statement saying that they did not ask Ford to leave.
"No member of the event’s organizing committee, including Councillor Paul Ainslie, directed the mayor to leave the event that night," the email said.
In published reports Towhey denies the conversation with Ainslie even took place. Ford has called the entire Star story "nonsense" and "an outright lie."
Ainslie stands by his comments
Ainslie told reporters Wednesday that he continues to stand by his comments, despite the conflicting accounts.
"That's their letter. It wasn't my letter," he said.
Ainslie added that there was a table full of people who were behind him who overheard his conversation with Towhey suggesting the mayor should leave. Others who attended the gala spoke to Ford that night and said the mayor did not appear intoxicated.
At city hall on Wednesday no member of council other than Coun. Joe Mihevc would say on the record if they've ever seen the mayor publically intoxicated.
Speaking Wednesday on CBC Radio's Metro Morning, Mihevc was asked about the Star story and confirmed that there's "something there."
“I have seen [Rob Ford] in situations where it appears he is not fully there,” said Mihevc. "It is up to the mayor to come clean and to figure out what he needs to do to pull his life together.”Suggest a correction