Mayor Ford won't talk about 'private' exchange with columnist

Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t want to talk about "a private conversation" that a local newspaper columnist says involved the city’s chief magistrate calling him on his cellphone, swearing at him and berating him over his work.

Toronto Sun columnist says mayor called him, swore at him, berated him

A Toronto Sun writer says the mayor called to complain about a column. 2:47

Mayor Rob Ford doesn’t want to talk about "a private conversation" that a local newspaper columnist says involved the city’s chief magistrate calling him on his cellphone, swearing at him and berating him over his work.

Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington told readers in his column Monday that he had received a call from the mayor on Sunday evening.

According to Warmington, the mayor indicated he was "f------ angry" about a recent column in which the writer had decried seeing Ford and Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti call for a city employee’s termination because of a photo that appeared to show the man napping.

Warmington said the mayor was upset to see the columnist refer to allegations about his personal behaviour at public events that he has denied are true.

Mayor Rob Ford has had a testy relationship with the Toronto media at times. On Monday, the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington reported that the mayor had phoned him to personally berate him for a column he recently filed. (The Canadian Press)

When describing the phone call to reporters outside the Sun’s King Street office on Monday, Warmington said that he has often defended the mayor against such allegations in print.

But Warmington said that when he experienced a verbal lashing from the mayor, he felt justified in reporting the conversation.

"I’m with my family and when he starts swearing and he’s belligerent and I’ve covered before him being accused of such things, I thought that it was only fair that I report it," Warmington told reporters.

Warmington also said the mayor made reference to "others" being upset with him.

The mayor said little about the column when asked about it on Monday.

Coun. Doug Ford says that his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, and Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington have a 'unique relationship.' (CBC)

"That’s a private conversation between Joe and myself," Ford said when striding through a throng of reporters standing outside his office at city hall.

The mayor’s brother, meanwhile, suggested that Ford has a "unique relationship" with the Sun columnist.

"They got in a little tiff, no big deal," Coun. Doug Ford said Monday, when speaking with reporters about the column and the conversation that sparked it.

Mayor Ford has had a testy relationship with the media, which has closely covered his work at city hall and his life outside of it.

With a report from the CBC's Jamie Strashin

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