Toronto Mayor Rob Ford never officially entered the United States last week, according to a report in the Globe and Mail, and his whereabouts are not known.
“He’s in a rehab facility 100 per cent, and he’s getting the support that he needs,” the mayor’s brother Doug Ford said on Tuesday.
When asked where he declined to comment. He also refused to comment on the Globe and Mail article. He did say he had spoken with the mayor who was “progressing” and “doing well.”
The mayor flew from Buttonville airport to Chicago’s Midway airport last Thursday morning. His lawyer Dennis Morris said at the time he left Toronto to seek treatment for substance abuse.
However, while the plane landed at Midway, Rob Ford turned around before officially clearing customs, the Globe reported Tuesday.
Ford was not denied entry but did withdraw his application, Roy Norton, the Consul General of Canada in Chicago, told the newspaper. He wasn’t available for comment.
A call to Ford’s lawyer was not immediately returned.
Speaking to the Globe, Morris reiterated that Ford was in rehab.
Last week, Ford announced he was taking a leave of absence from city hall amid reports of another video of him purportedly smoking crack cocaine, as well as an audio file featuring him ranting and making lewd comments about mayoral candidate Karen Stintz and his wife, Renata.
Meanwhile, the United States is very strict about drug use, even allegations of drug use, the program director of Pardons Canada told CityNews. Ford faced a charge of marijuana possession in Florida in 1999. Those charges were later dropped.
“If you’ve been charged, you’ve been fingerprinted by the police…the Americans can see that,” Andrew Tanenbaum said.
“So even if it’s been withdrawn, the Americans can see that you’ve been in trouble and they could decide to turn you away even if it was ultimately withdrawn. They have the ultimate decision power.”
Lawyer Evan Green said he was surprised Ford was allowed to enter the U.S. in March to appear on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
“He shouldn’t have, if they knew who he was,” Green said. “Usually when people go to the United States from Toronto they go through the airport here in Toronto and they clear immigration here in Toronto. The inspector in Chicago may not have been aware of who he was and his background.”
Green added that typically in emergency situations, such as going to rehab in the U.S., the person would need to obtain permission in advance.
“You’d really need to have your ducks in a row – knowing where you were going, how long you were going to be there, the nature of the program,” explained Green.
Had Ford gotten permission in advance, Green said Ford would not have been allowed in the U.S. in the future.
“He will be in the system as a drug abuser and as such would be inadmissible to the United States.”
According to the Globe, Ford was not “turned away” at the border but decided not to pursue entering the U.S.
Ford was absent for a city council meeting on Tuesday. If he misses that meeting and the next two monthly meetings, he could be removed from office.
City manager Joe Pennachetti said last Thursday that the position of mayor “becomes vacant if [mayor is] absent for meetings of council for three consecutive meetings, without being authorized to do so by a resolution of council.”
If Ford is absent for the June council meeting, he must return for the July meeting — or council would have to approve a resolution to allow his absence.
If the resolution is not passed, the position would then be vacant, Pennachetti explained.