03/27/2013 11:59 EDT

Rob Ford Drunk Allegations: 3 Councillors Claim Mayor Has A Drinking Problem

Three Toronto councillors have gone public with concerns about Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged alcohol problem.

The Toronto Star, which claims an impaired Ford was asked to leave the Toronto Garrison Ball in February, shared details of an email sent by Councillor Paul Ainslie to members of the ball’s organizing committee on Tuesday night.

In it, Ainslie wrote that at least eight people approached him with concerns about “the Mayor’s state” that evening.

According to the Star story, Ainslie found Ford to be “somewhat incoherent” and told Ford’s chief of staff, Mark Towhey, it would be best if he left the gala.

But Towhey told The Globe and Mail on Tuesday afternoon that he was never asked to escort the mayor out of the event.

"No one asked the mayor to leave and no one asked me to ask the mayor to leave," he said.

Ford has vigorously denied the charges, saying the report is an “outright lie” by a newspaper he claims has an axe to grind with him.

“It's the Toronto Star going after me again and again and again," he said at a tense press conference on Tuesday.

Six members of the organizing committee from the event have also penned an open letter defending Ford. The letter says that Ford was not asked to leave the gala, for any reason.

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Yet, two other councillors, Joe Mihevc and Sarah Doucette, have also expressed concerns about the mayor’s alleged drinking.

Mihevc, a left-leaning politician who has clashed with the mayor in the past, appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Wednesday and said Ford’s full denial of the story was “not accurate.”

Mihevc said he has seen Ford in situations where he is “not fully there,” and suggested he should seek help.

“It is up to the mayor to come clean and to figure out what he needs to do to pull his life together,” he said.

Doucette, also a left-leaning councillor, told The Toronto Star that Ford’s alleged alcoholism has been an open secret at City Hall for some time.

“We didn’t want to go to the news with this because we would’ve been accused of being lefties picking on the mayor,” she told the paper. “But in some respects, I wish this had gotten out earlier, because if he needs help, please do it now.”

While the salacious story has been the talk of Toronto and beyond, not everyone is pleased with The Toronto Star.

National Post columnist Christie Blatchford said the rival newspaper doesn’t have “clean hands” and that reporters haven’t distinguished themselves in covering Ford.

"Mostly, to be perfectly honest, on an ordinary human level, I feel badly for Mr. Ford,” she wrote. “If he has an alcohol problem, how dreadful to see it splashed across the front page; if he hasn’t, how does he demonstrate it?”