George Christopoulos Quits: Rob Ford's Spokesman Resigns

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George Christopoulos, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's spokesman, has resigned, according to multiple reports. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail/CP)
George Christopoulos, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's spokesman, has resigned, according to multiple reports. (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail/CP)

George Christopoulos, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's spokesman, has resigned, according to the mayor's office.

Deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom also resigned.

The CBC reported that it was told both staffers quit 'on principle'.

Ford made a statement to the media Monday in which he confirmed the resignations.

"I want to inform you that George Christopoulos and Isaac Ransom have decided to go into another avenue and I was informed of that decision..." he said.

"I want to thank them for working hard in this office."

According to the Toronto Sun, Sunny Petrujkic will act as interim press secretary.. Petrujkic is currently a senior policy advisor in the mayor's office, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Amin Massoudi will replace Ransom.

"It's business as usual. We have our executive committee," said Ford.

Reporters pressed Ford on the resignations, noting that three of the mayor's staffers are now gone after he fired his chief of staff Mark Towhey last week.

"I don't want to get into personnel issues," said Ford, refusing to answer questions about why there has been so much turnover in his office.

"I've obviously told everyone that ever worked for me if an opportunity comes up, go. I have a young staff. Great experience for them."

He also dismissed a Monday Globe and Mail story, which reported that police had interviewed a senior member of Ford's office after a staffer in the mayor's office allegedly received a tip that linked the alleged video of him smoking crack cocaine to a recent homicide in Toronto.

"Everything is fine, I have no idea what the police are investigating," said Ford.

He also apologized for a comment he made on his Newstalk 1010 radio show Sunday, in which he called the media "maggots."

"I would like to apologize for the comments I made to you on my radio show," he said.

"That doesn't justify using the terminology I did. I sincerely apologize to each and everyone of you. I understand you have a job to do."

Christopoulos took over as Ford's press secretary in January, 2012.

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Adrienne Batra, Ford's former press secretary, joined the Toronto Sun as the editor of the paper's comment section.

On Saturday, Batra wrote a column defending the mayor's staff during the crack video crisis.

From her column:

In the latest scandal about the so-called crack video, the mayor would have been wisely (and repeatedly) advised by his staff on a number of potential courses of action.

They would have included, depending on what Ford himself knows to be true, everything from completely rejecting the allegations, to stepping aside and dealing with whatever issues he may have.

Last week, after Ford fired Towhey, sources later said that he and the mayor had a fierce disagreement after Towhey told the mayor to "get help."

Towhey tweeted at both Christopoulos and Ransom Monday, calling them "2 outstanding, honest & honorable professionals for whom I have enormous respect."

On Monday, the Toronto Star reported that Ford had hired a 21-year-old former football player as a "special assistant".

MORE FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS: For the past 10 days, the mayor has been embroiled in a scandal involving allegations that a drug dealer videotaped him smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.

The mayor has called the allegations "ridiculous," but in his one substantive comment to date on Friday, he would only say that he does not smoke crack and is not an addict.

The allegations, by U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star, have not been independently verified, and the Star has said it cannot vouch for the authenticity of the video.

By mid-afternoon Monday, Gawker has raised more than $195,000 toward a $200,000-goal to be used to purchase the video. The campaign was set to end at 3 a.m. Eastern Tuesday.

On the weekend, his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, joined in the attack on media — calling most reporters "nasty son-of-a-guns.''

He also disputed a Saturday Globe and Mail story that he was a drug trafficker 30 years ago, but did admit to smoking a few joints in high school.

Ford said his brother's executive assistant, Amin Massoudi, would become his new communications director.

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