Mayor Rob Ford
Credits: File/Veronica Henri/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO -- Mayor Rob Ford can't even hit the gym without igniting a controversy.
A Twitter photo of Ford working out threatened to spark yet another scandal for the embattled mayor on Wednesday when it appeared he had hired a man convicted of dealing steroids in the United States as his trainer.
But Coun. Doug Ford told QMI Agency's Joe Warmington that Valerio Moscariello isn't the mayor's trainer.
Ford is working on losing weight in the wake of his ongoing crack cocaine scandal.
The mayor's office didn't respond to a request for comment about the Twitter photo and Ford ignored questions as he left City Hall Wednesday about who he's relying on as a trainer.
Moscariello of Team Body Pro Athletics tweeted a photo Tuesday night of Ford working out and seemed to indicate he's helping the mayor get fit.
"Toronto Mayor Rob Ford killing him on cardio today!" he tweeted. "Man on a mission."
The tweet included a photo of Moscariello with Ford and his driver, Jerry Agyemang, on a treadmill.
"Putting Toronto mayor Rob Ford through a Valerio workout. The BodyPro training system!!!" he wrote in a post on the social media site Instagram.
The posting quickly caused a stir in social media circles, particularly because media reports connect Moscariello to a November 2005 press release from the Nevada U.S. attorney's office which states he was sentenced to five months in federal prison and three years probation for pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute anabolic steroids.
QMI Agency was unable to reach Moscariello and put the steroid allegations to him for confirmation.
Moscariello's Twitter account also included posts to Canadian-born porn star Nikki Benz -- a Penthouse Pet of the Year.
Benz had used her Twitter account to publicly invite Ford to Whiskey A Go-Go, a strip club in Concord, Ont. Moscariello wrote back asking Benz if she "seriously" wanted him to bring Ford.
"I just started training him," he wrote.
No one from Team Body Pro Athletics responded to media requests about the photo and the posts.
The company's website, its Twitter account and its Instagram account were all taken down by the end of the day. A note on the company's website said it was undergoing "scheduled maintenance."
Moscariello, who also goes by the name Valerio Mosca, told the National Post it was a "joke picture" that has been "blown up for no reason."
"I do wish him luck. I should not have posted a joke picture like that I didn't realize what this caused. I'm sorry," he told the Post.
The mayor's lawyer, Dennis Morris, told reporters Wednesday that Ford is now exercising two hours a day.
"You have to see him," Morris said as he left the mayor's office. "He looks amazing."
-- with files from Chris Doucette