Mayor Rob Ford continues to stand by the embattled head of Toronto Community Housing, characterizing the recent criticism against Gene Jones as a witch hunt while questioning the motives of the city’s ombudsman.
Ford accused ombudsman Fiona Crean of playing politics in her damning report, issued earlier this week, which described an "abject failure of leadership" and a host of irregularities at the social housing organization, which provides about 58,000 low-income residences around the city.
"I am not happy with the politics being played out in this report," Ford said at an afternoon news conference. "The ombudsman's report is supposed be impartial and objective."
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Ford questioned why there is "no mention" of Jones’ accomplishments at TCH. Jones was hired two years ago to clean up the troubled organization, which Ford said was once rife with "corruption, waste and poor service."
Ford has stood by Jones throughout this and earlier controversies, and said Thursday he wants Jones to remain on the job. The TCH board of directors met Tuesday to discuss the report, and is scheduled to meet again Friday.
Ford said he plans to attend the meeting. In a statement released Wednesday evening, the mayor called on supporters to be outside TCH headquarters in the morning.
"Come out and show support for a man whose key message has always been to put the tenants first," Ford said in the statement.