(CNN) — Toronto’s City Council voted Monday to strip embattled Mayor Rob Ford of most of his powers after a tumultuous meeting in which Ford also apparently accidentally knocked down a council member during a break.
Before the vote, Ford called the move “nothing more than a coup d’etat” and told council members, “What goes around, comes around, friends. Remember what I’m saying.”
Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in a “drunken stupor” and is battling other allegations of excessive drinking and abusing staffers that have emerged during a drug probe. No charges have been filed against Ford, but his friend and sometime driver has been charged with extortion.
Thursday, he denied a female staffer’s allegation that he sought to perform oral sex with graphic language of his own, stunning the reporters who surrounded him — but called the new allegations “100% lies.” He has refused to step down, insisting he would let voters decide on whether to keep him next year.
The council has already called on Ford to take a leave of absence and to strip him of his emergency powers. In a series of votes at the end of Monday’s meeting, it voted to slash his office’s budget and staff and transfer most of his powers to the city’s deputy mayor, Norm Kelly.
Councilor Raymond Cho said Ford, who has touted his expansion of Toronto’s subway system, was running two trains — a “gravy train” and a “crazy train.”
“He needs help, and I said that many times, but he didn’t accept it,” Cho said. “This is the only route that I have to choose, and I leave up to the individual councilors their decision and I hope we made the right decision.”
Ford and his brother, City Councilor Doug Ford, got into shouting matches with spectators in the gallery, some of whom chanted “Shame, shame, shame.” Doug Ford had introduced a separate measure calling for early elections instead.
“There are 383,000 people who voted for the mayor, and a lot of those people voted for each one for you, too,” he said. “They wouldn’t want the mayor to take that right off each one of you, and it’s the same for the mayor.”