Rob Ford Drug Allegations: Not The First Mayor At The Centre Of Scandal

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may be dominating headlines with allegations of crack cocaine use that he has labelled ridiculous, but he's hardly the first to earn attention for questionable behaviour. Here are a few other mayors who have found themselves in an uncomfortable spotlight, in courtroom or occasionally even behind bars.


Ray Nagin: The former mayor of New Orleans shot to public prominence as a vocal critic of the U.S. government's response to hurricane Katrina. He earned a reputation as a colourful presence and staunch anti-corruption fighter from 2002 to 2010 when he held the city's top job. Three years later, however, he was up before a federal grand jury facing 21 counts of public corruption. Charges include allegations that he received more than $100,000 in bribes. Nagin has pleaded not guilty to all charges and will go to trial later this year.


Jim West: West served as a state representative for more than 20 years, during which time he supported several pieces of anti-gay legislation. When he became mayor of Spokane, Wash. in 2003, however, allegations began to surface that told a different story. He was accused of sexually abusing young boys several decades earlier and of hiring young males for unpaid internships in his mayoral office. He denied the charges, but admitted to having homosexual relationships. An FBI investigation eventually found there was no cause for federal charges, but West was ousted in a special election in 2005.


Kwame Kilpatrick: This mayor of Detroit was a controversial figure almost from the day he was elected in 2001. Early on he was accused of charging hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of massages, swanky meals and posh vacations to city credit cards, but those soon faded into insignificance when it surfaced that he'd been having an affair with his chief of staff. He had originally denied those accusations under oath, but text messages later discredited his testimony. He was forced to resign in September 2008 after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. He served three months in jail, was released for good behaviour, but sent back to prison in 2010 for violating probation. In March of this year, he was convicted on 24 felony counts including wire fraud and racketeering.


Sharpe James: The long-serving mayor of Newark, N.J. held office for 20 years between 1986 and 2006, but his legacy was tarnished two years later when he was charged with five counts of fraud. He was accused of conspiring to rig the sale of some city properties to his mistress. He was sentenced to 27 months in prison.


Marion Barry: The mayor of Washington D.C. served six months in jail after being captured on video smoking crack in a local hotel room. The scandal didn't hold him back for long, however. Barry returned to the city’s top job in 1995, held it for four more years and currently sits as a city councillor.


Joe Fontana: The mayor of London, Ont. has steadfastly remained in office despite a cloud of suspicion that's hovered over him for months. Last November the RCMP charged him with fraud, breach of trust and uttering forged documents. He has denied any wrongdoing and will be in court this fall to find out whether the case against him will proceed to trial.

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