UPDATED: Rob Ford spent Oscar night in a $2,500 private cabana and handed out magnets
This story comes from TMZ, and so it has to be approached with a certain amount of skepticism. That said, no part of it seems out of character for the mayor. According to the gossip website, Rob Ford and his retinue spent Sunday night in a private cabana at Hollywood’s W Hotel during a post-Oscar benefit. And did the mayor compulsively distribute magnets with his name on them, like he always does? Yes. Yes he did.
TMZ’s story is based on an interview with Meredith Thomas, an actress. (We can trust her, because she’s on TV.) Thomas says that after posing for a picture with Ford and accepting his magnet, she was asked by the mayor to stay in his cabana. She declined.
More about the cabana: according to the event’s website, it cost $2,500 and came loaded with two bottles of “premium vodka” (we know the mayor loves vodka, though not necessarily the premium kind) and one of “premium champagne.” Included with the cost was a “red carpet limo arrival pass” and “celebrity red carpet entrance,” which explain the photo above.
It’s not clear, at this point, whether the mayor paid for the cabana himself. If he didn’t, he risks being accused of accepting an improper gift. (The Fords have said that they’re paying for the most of their L.A. trip.) It’s equally unclear what else the mayor is doing in Los Angeles as he waits to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live! tonight. He has described his trip to Hollywood as a business mission, but to the best of anyone’s knowledge he has no meetings and no agenda.
UPDATE: Amin Massoudi, a spokesperson for Rob Ford, has stated that the mayor did not pay for any cabana on Oscar night. “Mayor Ford never paid to be in a cabana,” Massoudi said. “[Ford] spoke with numerous movie industry insiders last night to promote Toronto and invite them up to our city. He was happy to pose for pictures with anyone who wanted one.” Massoudi did not say definitively whether Ford used one of the W’s poolside cabanas, regardless of who footed the bill.