A newspaper report published Friday says a 911 call was made from the home of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Christmas Day. The Toronto Star says police were called to Ford's Etobicoke home on Christmas morning between 4 and 5 a.m.
The report says the mayor's mother-in-law placed the call, claiming that the mayor had been drinking and was taking his children to Florida against his wife's wishes. Toronto police are investigating the event, the newspaper said.
Another newspaper, the Toronto Sun, later quoted the mayor's brother, Coun. Doug Ford, taking issue with that account.
Doug Ford dismissed the incident as a "minor disagreement" that was quickly resolved, adding that the mayor was not drinking, as reported.
911 calls have come from the mayor's home before.
The most well known incident was in October, when Rob Ford called 911 to complain that a TV crew from the CBC comedy program This Hour Has 22 Minutes was on his property.
CBC News reported that Ford was verbally abusive during his calls with 911 dispatchers. Ford later apologized for using the F-word.
Sources have told CBC News there was another 911 call later that same day — this time, it was a domestic issue.
'We have to be very, very careful'
Stefan Baranski, a public relations consultant at Counsel Public Affairs Inc. in Toronto, says the public shouldn't judge the mayor based on allegations.
"They are allegations courtesy of quote unquote inside police sources — you know, not anything official, so I think we have to be very, very careful and probably give the mayor the benefit of the doubt in this case," he said.
Baranski says Ford can weather this storm.
"Voters in Toronto, particularly, have proven that they're willing to divorce what happens personally, or personal controversy, from a politician's perceived ability to do their job," he said.
Other Toronto politicians who have had their private life on display include former councillor Adam Giambrone, who dropped out of the Toronto mayor's race in 2010 after publicly admitting to having had a number of intimate relationships with women other than his live-in partner. And, in 2000, then-mayor Mel Lastman admitted to having a long-term affair.
CBC's Steven D'Souza spoke with a number of Toronto residents Friday — some feeling that a politician's private life was irrelevant to his or her job, while others said it was a politician's job to set a good example.
CBC News spoke with a number of councillors who didn't want to comment on the Star report, though some said off-camera that they had concerns about private 911 calls being made public.
Calls to the mayor's office were not returned. Ford's next planned public appearance is Jan. 2 at his New Year's Day levee at Toronto City Hall.