Toronto Mayor Rob Ford had his high school players roll in goose droppings, threatened to beat up a teacher, showed up drunk at a practice and reneged on a promise to buy $5,000 worth of football helmets for his team, according to internal school board documents released today.
The documents, released as Ford aims to be re-elected in the Oct. 27 municipal vote, outline problems and complaints about Ford that were raised by school board officials and staff at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, where he served as a volunteer coach for 10 years before the school board fired him in May 2013.
The documents suggest Ford — an avid football fan who often speaks about his commitment to coaching as a way to help underprivileged youth — posed problems and was the source of multiple conflicts.
In one incident in August 2012, Ugo Rossi, Don Bosco's principal at the time, alleges Ford threatened to beat up teacher-coach John Royiwsky.
According to Rossi, Ford became angry when Royiwsky tried to enforce a school rule that prevents team practices from happening outside of the school year.
Rossi told the board that Ford confronted Royiwsky, called him a "pussy" and threatened to beat him up.
"He kept repeating, 'I will kick your ass, F you, you're a pussy.' I run this program not you," according to one document.
The confrontation happened in the presence of students and left Royiwisky "shaken." The mayor later apologized.
Rossi also claims Ford offered the school's janitors "cash money" if they would stay past their regular work hours to keep the building open and allow football practices to continue past 4 p.m.
In another incident outlined in the documents, Ford reportedly had his players "roll in goose scat" and called them "c--ksuckers" after he was unhappy with their efforts in a game.
A player who spoke to the Toronto Star about the incident, however, told the newspaper that players were given a choice between rolling in the grass and running, which is a common punishment for football players. The student also told the Star that players could leave practice if they wanted. The player also denied Ford called the players "c--ksuckers."
Other allegations about Ford contained in the documents released Thursday:
- He repeatedly disregarded requests for mandatory criminal record checks for himself and his coaching staff. Eventually, Ford did submit to a record check, which he passed, according to the documents.
- Reneged on the $5,000 promise for football helmets. The school ordered the helmets, but Ford refused to pay. The school board ended up covering the bill.
- Used his high-school players as a "human shield" so he could leave the field without having to speak to reporters.
- Showed up "inebriated" and "incoherent" at the final practice before the Metro Bowl, the city's high school championship game.
Many of the allegations occurred when Ford was mired in a growing scandal amid revelations about his drug use.
Earlier this year, Ford spent more than a month in a rehab program. He told reporters last week that he is as "sober as a judge."