Mayor Rob Ford apoligized for his actions at Toronto City Hall, Nov. 27, 2012.
Credits: MICHAEL PEAKE/Toronto Sun/QMI Media
TORONTO -- Contrition replaced defiance Tuesday as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized for plunging his administration into a conflict-of-interest case that could cost him his job.
"Looking back, maybe I could have expressed myself in a different way," Ford said, sighing heavily and coming close to tears.
"To everyone who believes I should have done this differently -- I sincerely apologize."
It was a sharp contrast to Ford's performance Monday in the immediate wake of the judge's decision stripping him of office, when he dismissed his problems as "left-wing" political attacks.
One Tuesday, Ford was subdued and tired looking when he finally appeared before the media, after twice bolting away from reporters with the help of police and security.
He had looked upbeat at a noon-hour rally for the Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts, proclaiming Argos Day and bellowing the team's name.
"I respect the court's decision that was released (Monday)," Ford said. "My decision to appeal is not a criticism of the court. But, I feel it is important to work through the appeal system so I can continue to do the work I was elected to do."
The mayor stressed he had been elected by a popular vote and didn't want to leave his position unless told to do so by the electorate.
"The people elected me to bring respect for taxpayers back to city hall, and I will keep working to do exactly that for as long as I can -- or, until the people elect someone else to do the job," he said. "This entire matter began because I love to help kids play football."
Added Ford: "When this came to council for the vote in question, I felt it was important to answer the accusations that had been made against me. I was focused on raising money to help underprivileged youth.
"I never believed there was a conflict of interest because I had nothing to gain. And the city had nothing to lose."
A judge found Ford did indeed have something to gain during the vote in question. He was being asked to repay $3,150 the city's integrity commissioner found he had solicited improperly from donors.
The judge suspended his ruling for 14 days to give the city time to deal with the change, which would mean Ford's tenure is done Dec. 10.
But the mayor's staff said he will be in court Dec. 5, asking for a judicial stay of the ruling. He also has an appeal, expected to be heard Jan. 7.