On The Late Rob Ford
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Doug Ford, Sr (1933-2006) was born in Toronto. His father, an English immigrant, died when he was three months old; his mother was left to raise nine children in sometimes desperate conditions. Ford left school at thirteen; by 30 he had founded his own company, Deco Adhesive Products, with a friend. Soon he could afford to buy his mother a fur coat; meanwhile he and his wife Diane moved out to Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto, and became known for throwing huge parties at their house. They had four children: Kathy, born in 1960; Randy, born the following year; Doug Jr, who arrived in November 1964, and their most famous child, Robert Bruce Ford, born on 28 May 1969.

In the 1990s Doug Sr started handing the family firm (now called Deco Labels and Tags) over to the next generation. He was prosperous, locally prominent and full of stories about how he’d made something of himself without any help from the government. It was time to go into politics. He stood for election in 1995, served a single term as a Member of the Provincial Parliament in Ontario, then was defeated in 1999 and never held office again. But even as a mere backbencher he left a deep impression, with his loud, rambling, reactionary filibustering, and tendency to repeat anecdotes about how poor he was as a child. Doug Sr’s children idolised him, and wanted to be just like him when they grew up.

In 1994, Doug Jr volunteered to help a family friend run for mayor in Etobicoke. The candidate, later to become Deputy Mayor of Toronto, won easily. Doug Jr became his father’s campaign manager the following year. But he had already started his own family, and had his hands full with running Deco Labels (which now employed 45 people), so his little brother entered politics instead. Rob ran for a position on Toronto city council in 1997 and came in fourth; but he learnt from his mistakes and won a seat in the 2000 election. Doug Jr dreamt of one day becoming the Premier of Ontario; Rob aimed at Prime Minister of Canada.

As for the older Ford children: Kathy became a heroin addict, and never held a steady job; Randy also struggled with drugs, and had a criminal record at eighteen. When he was twenty he got in a fight with a friend of Kathy’s boyfriend at a ‘drink and drug’ party at Kathy’s apartment and bit through the tip of the man’s nose, disfiguring him for life. By the time Doug Sr entered public life Randy had been arrested seventeen times.

In spring 1998 some cash –– enough to buy a car –– went missing from Doug Sr’s basement. For security reasons he kept it in a can concealed behind a brick in one of the walls. A family friend who was a retired police sergeant subjected all four children to lie detector tests. Kathy’s husband Ennio Stirpe also had to take one, since he and Kathy were unemployed now and living with her parents again. He and Kathy failed the test and were kicked out of the house; that was the end of the marriage too. Kathy moved in with an old flame –– the one whose friend’s nose was almost bitten off by Randy. This former ex was also the father of Kathy’s eleven-year-old daughter.

A few months later Stirpe broke into his ex-wife’s new home and murdered her former ex-boyfriend, shooting him point-blank with a sawed-off shotgun in front of Kathy and the daughter. This same daughter also watched her mother get shot, this time with a 12-gauge shotgun, by another boyfriend in 2005; though it was more or less an accident. Apparently he’d been trying to break up a fight between one of Kathy’s houseguests and a drug dealer. The bullet only grazed Kathy’s forehead; there was no lasting damage beyond an ugly scar.

Rob had his first run-in with the law in 1999. He had taken his fiancée to his parents’ vacation condo in Florida for Valentine’s Day. A little after two in the morning on 15th February 1999 a policeman noticed him driving with no lights on around a dangerous area of downtown Miami and pulled him over. Rob had been drinking; the officer asked him to get out of the car. He reacted by throwing his hands in the air and shouting ‘go ahead and take me to jail!’ Then he took all his money and hurled it to the ground. Needless to say he failed all four sobriety tests. At 2:50 a.m. he was handcuffed; then the officer decided to search Rob’s pockets. He found a joint. Rob spent the night in jail.

Thanks to lawyers hired by Doug Sr, Rob pleaded guilty to a charge of driving under the influence; the state of Florida dropped all drugs charges. Rob got off with six months’ probation, 180-day suspension of his licence, 50 hours’ community service and $664.75 in fines and court costs. He was also forced to attend a substance abuse programme. The whole affair was more or less successfully concealed until a journalist for the Toronto Sun dug it up in 2010. First Rob denied it; then, when it turned out that the journalist had a copy of the police report, he claimed he’d forgotten about it; gradually he admitted to a glass or two of wine before getting behind the wheel, or maybe a bottle or two, or was it a litre or two….

On 15 April 2006 Rob was ejected from a hockey game for drunkenly abusing a couple sitting in front of him. They asked him to ‘tone it down a little’; he had spent much of the third period of the game on his feet waving his arms around and yelling things like ‘my sister was a heroin addict and got shot in the head’. He responded by asking ‘who the fuck do you think you are? Are you some sort of right-wing Commie [sic] bastard?’ and ‘do you want your little wife to go over to Iran and get raped and shot?’

When the story got out Rob accused the couple of making the whole thing up and claimed he wasn’t even there that night –– a difficult story to maintain given that he’d been handing out his business card throughout the game to everyone sitting around him. Drunk or sober he had a habit of handing out business cards to people, as on St Patrick’s Day 2012, when he flung a handful of them at a taxi driver and said ‘I’m Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto. If there’s anything I can do for you, call me any time.’ Up to that point he’d been insulting the driver and calling him a ‘Paki’.

To Rob, constituents were like customers, and the customer’s always right. In 2006 he told the journalist Edward Keenan:

I love my constituents. They are second only to my family in my heart. What I try to do is relate to the average person. That’s all I try to be. I hate the word ‘politician’. People call me ‘councillor’. I don’t like that. I just like to be called Rob. I’m just like anyone else. I always tell the community: ‘you’re the boss. Tell me where you want me to be and I’m there. You say ‘jump’ and I’ll say ‘how high?’’

Along with his business cards, he always carried Rob Ford fridge magnets printed with his phone number so that his constituents could reach him day or night. He made a point of personally returning every call, even though there could be between twenty and 200 every day. Rob never refused to help or advise a constituent no matter how trivial the request. These calls were carefully listed in a database; he made tens of thousands of them every year. His former Chief of Staff once referred to his obsessive ‘customer service’ as ‘dialling for love’.

Within months of winning a seat on Council Rob began to attract media attention. In a municipal budget of over nine billion dollars, no expense was too small to complain about. He held up council meetings railing against free parking passes and bus passes for councillors, and the fact that someone was paid to water plants at City Hall. In 2002 Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti blocked his attempt to strip councillors of free passes for the Toronto zoo; Rob exploded, calling Mammoliti a snake and a weasel who belonged in the zoo. For a decade he relentlessly accused his colleagues of wasting taxpayers’ money and couldn’t understand why they didn’t pay for their own office expenses out of pocket the way he did. Yet he seemed to relish his isolation. It was as though he wanted to lose votes 44 to 1.

In 2010 Rob finally ran for mayor. Doug was running for his brother’s old seat on council whilst also organising both of their election campaigns. The outgoing mayor couldn’t even think about running again, thanks to some unpopular taxes and a bruising battle with organised labour that led to a 36-day strike by municipal rubbish collectors. This was during the summer of 2009; the whole city stank of rotting trash. The other candidates ran unimpressive campaigns, not expecting to have anything to worry about with Rob. Rob’s main problem was Doug.

Doug looked like a real politician. Rob at 5’10’ weighed around 330 pounds; his face was perpetually red and sweaty; his hair was falling out, turning from pale blond to white around the temples. Doug, five years older, looked a decade younger: he was only 70 or 80 pounds overweight; his hair was still as thick as his father’s had been. Rob’s pockets were always stuffed with business cards, fridge magnets and bottles of root beer; Doug knew how to wear a suit. He had the manners of a salesman: gregarious, outgoing, always ready to talk; whereas Rob was shy, solitary and uncomfortable around people who weren’t family or his constituents.

Rob’s campaign staff hated Doug. He would talk to business associates, Ford family friends, old political colleagues of Doug Sr’s and God knows who, and listen to their advice over that of paid advisors. Then he would make Rob take that advice. Rob always fought with his brother but could never stand up to him; Doug was too much of a bully. Rob was too, but mainly when drunk; otherwise he preferred telling lies in order to set his employees against each other. Most of the chaos before the election came from Doug: he was impulsive, dictatorial, and never consulted anyone before doing anything, whereas Rob passively took advice, telling his staff ‘you’re the boss, buddy’.

The Fords never hired enough staff to work on Rob’s campaign, and the pay was well below average. Even so they put together a team that was disciplined, resourceful and quick-witted, especially in the face of a PR crisis. Yet public opinion never really mattered. After ten years of obsessively returning constituents’ phone calls Rob had built up an enormous following. He had two simple messages: ‘respect for taxpayers’ and ‘stop the gravy train’. Whatever these meant, they were enough for his supporters. Also, he had charm.

Toronto newspapers generally portrayed Rob as a crass, ignorant, boorish, hysterical buffoon. Nobody denied that he could be offensive, and lacked self-control. But in front of the right audience he could radiate a magical charisma. Then his tantrums and lying only made you think of Rob as a scared, frustrated, lonely little boy. Once you felt sorry for him, you could laugh at his ranting and gaffes. His tasteless remarks and simple-minded platitudes only alienated some of the public. He knew how to communicate with voters who were as inarticulate as he was.

When Rob formally announced he was running for mayor on 26th March 2010, two thousand people attended the launch. That summer five thousand people showed up for free hamburgers and beer at Ford Fest, a party that Diane had been throwing every year since 2000 at the family home in Etobicoke. Rob’s campaign raised over $900,000, mainly from small donations of between $20 and $200. As the election approached it became increasingly clear that he was going to win. On 25th October he did, with 383,501 votes –– 47% of the vote.

Doug won his race too, and expected to be made Deputy Mayor. Since Rob’s staff wouldn’t allow that, he asked to have a door put in between his office and Rob’s. This was also refused. He appointed himself the administration’s de facto spokesman without being authorised by Rob’s staff, and held private meetings in the Mayor’s boardroom without notifying anybody in advance. Municipal employees found him exasperating; he picked fights with them on the slightest provocation. Rob wouldn’t intervene to stop any of this. His first Chief of Staff left within months. In the first year of the Ford administration more than a dozen city managers quit.

Rob himself didn’t really seem all that keen on his job. Now that he was mayor he barely spoke during Council meetings; his main interests remained constituency work and his long-term job coaching the football team at Don Bosco Secondary School in Etobicoke. He took time off every day between 3 and 5 p.m. during football season to coach his team; it didn’t matter whether he missed important votes. This duty was sacred. In 2012 the Don Bosco Eagles went all the way to the city championship, then lost. The following year the Toronto District Catholic School Board banned Rob from coaching at any of their schools, after he told a journalist that many of his players were gang members, or came from broken homes.

For all his apparent apathy Rob had a remarkably successful first year in office. He had promised to cut $325,682,075 from the municipal budget in his first year, and eliminate $3,018,549,221 in spending over the four years of his term. The figures were reassuringly precise, and his Executive Committee remained committed to his proposals. In Rob’s first six months he won every vote on Council 29-16 or 28-17: vehicle registration tax was eliminated, property taxes were frozen, public transport fees were frozen, councillors’ office budgets were slashed; the previous mayor’s pet projects were cancelled, including his plans for bike lanes and a pedestrian bridge. Then Rob hired consultants to advise on how and where to slash the budget even further.

KPMG’s initial report came out in July 2011. There was little room for cutting: Toronto was legally obliged to supply most of its services. To bring down spending to the level that Rob and his staff wanted they would have to stop fluoridating the water supply, cut down on snow removal in the winter and do away with recycling programs and late-night bus routes. Funding for a great many initiatives would have to go. The report even suggested shutting branches of the Toronto Public Library ‘and/or constraining the hours of service’ to save money.

There was no plan to close any libraries: it would be too unpopular. But the very idea caused outrage; within days 23,000 people had signed a petition to save Toronto’s libraries. Members of Rob’s Executive Committee publicly distanced themselves from the suggestion. Doug’s spokesmen blithely told the press that there were more libraries than Tim Hortons coffee shops in his ward. This wasn’t true. He also said he’d close an ‘underused’ library in his ward ‘in a heartbeat’. Margaret Atwood attacked him on Twitter. He replied:

Good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don’t even know her. She could walk right by me, I wouldn’t have a clue who she is. She’s not down here. She’s not dealing with the problem. Tell her to run in the next election and get democratically elected.

A few days later a special meeting was held to allow citizens to voice their concerns about KPMG’s report. More than 340 people showed up to make presentations to the Executive Committee; 167 were heard in a marathon 22-hour-long session; the rest had to be scheduled for another day.

Less than a year into his term Rob was losing control of Council. Never one to show grace under pressure, he increasingly skipped meetings, especially in the mornings; he was rarely seen around City Hall. His weight ballooned. Staff suspected a drinking problem; he was spotted around Toronto buying half-bottles of cheap vodka. Their quick-fix solution was to send staffers to buy his booze for him instead. At least then they would know how much he was drinking. Advisors tried to think of a way to get help. He was starting to ring them late at night.

After ugly scenes on St Patrick’s Day 2012, senior staff had a new code name for Rob: ‘The Addict’. They tried to keep the office functioning whilst quietly drawing up plans to get the mayor into rehab. On Sunday 22 and Monday 23 April he simply disappeared; nobody knew where he was or what had happened; his ‘body man’ finally got him to pick up his phone at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday. He was blackout drunk, at the home of an unknown woman in Etobicoke.

That spring a junior staffer came by Rob’s house on his day off to fix a computer. He and a girlfriend were forced to sit in the basement with Rob and his wife whilst a joint was passed around. Only Rob smoked it. The same staffer sat in Rob’s car one day watching with alarm as Rob chugged down a twelve-ounce bottle of vodka whilst driving, alternating each sip with a mouthful of Gatorade.

By summer 2012 Rob was working no more than three or four hours a day at most. His new Chief of Staff –– his third in less than two years –– discovered that one of the mayor’s special assistants had been ordered to drive from City Hall to Etobicoke every day to buy a submarine sandwich for his finicky seven-year-old daughter, get it to her at school in time for lunch, then drive back. Rob insisted that the sandwich be bought fresh each morning. His daughter wanted tomatoes in it; if he got it the night before and put it in the fridge it would be soggy by lunchtime.

On top of drugs and alcohol, an ongoing war with the media, rumours of domestic abuse and a thoroughly toxic atmosphere at City Hall, Rob’s staff had to deal with three court cases: a libel suit, an audit of Rob’s election finances and a conflict of interest charge. The last of these involved $3,150 in donations for the Rob Ford Football Foundation that had been solicited from lobbyists on City of Toronto stationery. Toronto’s integrity commissioner had been hounding him about this since 2010.

Rob appeared in court on 5 September. He defended himself by demonstrating that despite twelve years on council he didn’t understand the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and had never bothered to read it or look it up. On 26 November a judge declared that Rob had flagrantly violated codes of conduct and had to be removed from office. Rob’s lawyers appealed the decision; on 25 January 2013 it was announced that he could stay in office after all. Rob’s staff were secretly disappointed: they hoped that he would lose the appeal and be booted out.

On 26 March 2013 the Toronto Star ran a cover story by Robyn Doolittle and Kevin Donovan with the headline ‘“Intoxicated” Ford Asked To Leave Gala: Inner Circle Repeatedly Urged Mayor To Enter Rehab’. A week later, a tipster contacted Doolittle on behalf of a friend who had in his possession an incriminating video featuring a prominent Toronto politician. The friend, a drug dealer, was offering the video to the Star for $100,000. The Star refused to pay; to do so would violate its code of conduct.

Doolittle and Donovan managed to see the video at the beginning of May. Ninety seconds long, it featured Rob talking incoherently about politics, ‘fucking minorities’ and the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, whom he referred to as a ‘fag’. He was evidently smoking a crack pipe. At the end of the video Ford looked directly at the cameraphone recording him and warned: ‘that phone better not be on.’

Gawker broke the story about the crack video on 16 May 2013. John Cook, Gawker’s editor, had also seen it; he didn’t buy it either, but to prove it existed he published a photograph of Rob cheerfully posing with three young men, one of whom, Anthony Smith, had been gunned down outside a Toronto nightclub on 28 March. Doolittle convinced the tipster to send her a copy of the picture too. The Star published its own story within hours of Gawker’s.

The story became an international scandal. Rob and Doug furiously denied any and all allegations, but avoided answering any questions. It took Rob eight days to make a statement; Doug was standing by his side:

I’d like to take this opportunity to address a number of issues that have circulated in the media over the last few days. There’s been a serious accusation from the Toronto Star that I use crack cocaine. I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have not seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence….

Rob didn’t tell his staff that the video didn’t exist; instead he assured them that he knew exactly where it was. Meanwhile, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair launched a secret investigation to find out whether Rob had indeed smoked crack with gangsters. On 1 June the research company Ipsos Reid released the results of a poll: 45% of Torontonians thought that the crack video story was ‘a hoax and part of a conspiracy to discredit the mayor’.

At last, on 5 November, when a reporter asked Rob why Doug was doing all the talking for him, Rob stopped and gave a sort of answer: ‘You guys have asked me a question. You asked me a question back in May, and you can repeat that question. You asked me a couple [sic] questions, and what were those questions?’ Jason Proskow from Global News obediently asked, ‘did you smoke crack cocaine?’ Rob looked him in the face. ‘Exactly! Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. But, no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably approximately a year ago.’

Two days later Rob was apologising for another leaked video that showed him in a wild drunken rage, pacing around a room and threatening to kill someone. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside City Hall demanding his resignation; he still wouldn’t resign. The police released further documents alleging that Rob used marijuana, cocaine and OxyContin (‘hillbilly heroin’), had partied at City Hall with a prostitute, physically abused male members of staff and made aggressively lewd comments to female ones. Rob denied using cocaine, OxyContin or prostitutes; as for harassing his policy advisor Olivia Gondek: ‘It [sc. the police document] says that I wanted to eat her pussy…. I’ve never said that in my life to her. I would never do that. I’m happily married. I’ve got more than enough to eat at home.’

Rob took advantage of his newfound fame and gave TV interviews for the American media: Fox News, CNN and NBC’s The Today Show. Doug was at his side throughout. They acted as though they had won a stunning victory. A council meeting on 18 November descended into slapstick farce, with Rob and Doug heckling councillors and spectators alike. Rob ran around council chambers and accidentally knocked over Councillor Pam McConnell, giving the petite former schoolteacher a swollen lip. Council voted to strip him of all remaining powers and most of his remaining staff.

Despite all the humiliation, Rob decided to run for re-election. Enough of his supporters remained loyal that he stood a chance of winning a second term. He took part in a televised debate on 26th March 2014 and easily trounced the other four candidates. His campaign was only spoilt by a second video, released on 30th April, that showed him smoking crack in his sister Kathy’s basement. He spent two months in rehab. On 30th June he emerged looked tanned and relatively fit, and resumed his campaign. But then he suddenly fell ill on 10th September and had to be rushed to hospital. There was an aggressive malignant tumour in his abdomen.

Michael Ford, Kathy’s son with Ennio Stirpe, had been running for Rob’s and Doug’s old seat in Etobicoke. He dropped out and filed papers to run for school board trustee instead. Then Rob’s campaign agent formally withdrew Rob from the mayoral race and filed papers for him to run as a councillor again. Then Doug announced he was running for mayor. He just made the deadline for nomination.

Doug lost the election, though didn’t do nearly as badly as expected. Rob won his race with 60% of the vote despite being too ill to campaign; he resumed his constituency work and attended council meetings as frequently as he could. By June 2015 he was recuperating from surgery and was declared cancer-free; then, at the end of October he was back in hospital; two new tumours had been found on his bladder.

In the wake of the crack video story, Robyn Doolittle received an email query from a literary agent. She ended up with a book deal: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story was published in February 2014 and became a bestseller in Canada. Doolittle is a shrewd and resourceful journalist; she and her researcher deserve credit for uncovering any number of telling details about the Ford family and Rob’s early life. Yet the book is a disappointment. The acknowledgements note that Doolittle had only three months to write this book, research time included, and the haste shows throughout: even the timeline at the beginning is sloppily edited. Also, the author is a competent reporter but not much of a writer; her tone and style are inconsistent, and she doesn’t always organise her material coherently. There are too many chapters where she becomes a part of the narrative: Rob Ford can be fascinating; writing articles about him is not. Still, Doolittle shows herself to be scrupulous, principled and impressively fair-minded; for all its flaws Crazy Town is basically reliable, and likely to remain the standard biography.

John Filion’s The Only Average Guy is less a biography than a portrait. Filion, a Toronto city councillor who first got to know Rob in 2000, claims to be Rob’s best, or only, friend at City Hall. Or at least they started a football pool on council together. Filion cannot be accused of taking advantage of his relationship with Rob; indeed, once he mentions it in the first chapter he seems to forget about it almost entirely. This book is based on over 100 interviews with 77 different people (Rob wasn’t one of them), and it adds nothing to Doolittle’s account beyond a few details, not least some gossip about Rob’s wife Renata. Otherwise, Filion relentlessly tries to psychoanalyse his subject from a distance; the result is rambling and tiresome. He also attempts to settle old scores throughout. One of his nemeses from the mayor’s office has come out with a book that not only overshadows The Only Average Guy completely, but also conspicuously fails to mention Filion even once.

Mark Towhey’s Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable is a model political memoir: vivid, absorbing, stylishly written and elegantly structured. As an introduction to the blood sport of municipal politics it deserves to be read alongside Robert Caro’s classic 1974 biography The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Although it has none of the detachment, depth or grandeur of Caro’s book, it is refreshingly lucid about the inner workings of Toronto City Hall. Mark Towhey, a former army officer with an MBA, got what was supposed to be a temporary job advising Rob on his election campaign and ended up staying with him for three intensely stressful years, spending nine months as Rob’s third Chief of Staff before being fired in June 2013 for refusing to force junior City Hall staff to organise a pizza party in Diane Ford’s basement for the Don Bosco football team. At that point the Catholic School Board had not merely banned Rob from coaching, but forbidden him any contact with players as well. Presumably they would not approve either when Rob told these teenagers that it was OK to drink in the basement, but if they wanted to smoke pot they should do it in the back garden.

Towhey’s book is everything one could hope for in a memoir of the Rob Ford Administration. Much of the credit is surely due to his co-writer Johanna Schneller, who has ensured a tightly controlled narrative. Towhey is so frank and observant about his former colleagues that he seems unlikely to work for the mayor’s office in Toronto again. This is an insider’s view of Rob’s time in office, and focusses entirely on what went on in the office. Yet details of Rob’s often sordidly tacky private life are unavoidable even there. Advisors eventually spent more time covering up Rob’s drinking than on any real work.

The most telling anecdote in Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable takes place early in the book, during Rob’s first Christmas as mayor. Towhey was put in charge of the office. Rob wanted it to stay open on Christmas and Boxing Day so that someone could answer constituents’ phone calls. On Christmas Eve, at the end of the day, Towhey suggested that Rob walk around the office to wish staff ‘Merry Christmas’. He reluctantly agreed, then walked up to each employee in turn, engaged in stilted small talk, and handed over a twenty-dollar bill as a Christmas gift. Then he went back to his office to return constituents’ phone calls. Let Towhey tell the rest of the story:

Around four o’clock, Rob came out and found me at the reception desk. He looked startled. Then he grunted and reached into his pocket. As I stood up from the desk and walked around the chest-high counter to say goodnight, he pulled out a twenty-dollar bill. He flung his hand out toward me and the bill slipped from his fingers and fluttered to the floor between us.

We stood for a brief moment, each of us looking at the other, then at the twenty-dollar bill. ‘Merry Christmas,’ Rob finally wheezed.

‘Uh…thank you,’ I replied. I didn’t want to bend over and snatch up the bill like it was going to blow away. But I also didn’t want to ignore what he obviously intended as a generous gift. Slowly, awkwardly, I leant down to pick the money off the carpet. ‘Merry Christmas to you too, Mayor,’ I said. I put the twenty dollars in my pocket.

Rob grabbed a fistful of Dubble Bubble gum from the large pink bucket he kept on the reception desk and padded out the door, into the empty second-floor mezzanine, and onto the elevator.


Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle. Viking, 384 pp, $26, Feb. 2014, ISBN 978-0-67006-811-1. Updated paperback edition: Penguin Canada, 408 pp, $18 CDN, September 2014, ISBN 978-0-14319-090-5

The Only Average Guy: Inside The Uncommon World of Rob Ford by John Filion. Random House Canada, 368 pp, $29.95, October 2015, ISBN 978-0-34581-599-6

Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable: How I Tried To Help The World’s Most Notorious Mayor by Mark Towhey and Johanna Schneller. Skyhorse Publishing, 360 pp, $ 24.99, October 2015, ISBN 978-1-63450-042-5

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