Top Rossi aide preparing to jump ship, order doughnuts

Top Rossi aide preparing to jump ship, order doughnuts

The most delicious story this Monday morning has to be the Globe’s report on a top Rocco Rossi aide who is contemplating jumping to the Rob Ford campaign (and bringing a bunch of staffers with him) should Rossi drop out of the race. Like all great Canadian conspiracies, the sensitive negotiations took place at Tim Hortons:

John Capobianco offered his support and that of a handful of Rossi staffers during a Sept. 29 meeting at an Etobicoke Tim Hortons with Nick Kouvalis, Mr. Ford’s deputy campaign manager, sources tell The Globe and Mail.

Two sources, one a Liberal close to the Rossi campaign, the other a Conservative close to the Ford campaign, also said Mr. Capobianco inquired about whether the Ford team would pay some of his workers for the final three weeks of the campaign.

Mr. Capobianco, who confirmed the meeting took place, dismissed as “absolute nonsense” the suggestion he sought money from the Ford campaign or spoke for anyone but himself.

This report comes right on the heels of last night’s debate, in which John Stall of 680 News straight up asked Rossi and Joe Pantalone when and if they’ll drop out. Both said no pretty clearly. On the record, at least, these two men are “full speed ahead” until election day.

Still, it’s not exactly baseless speculation to wonder why a top Rossi aide would be soliciting other options if he thought his boss was “in it to win it,” as Rossi has said a number of times. The Globe article says that Rossi has been getting tons of pressure from the provincial Liberals to drop out and endorse George Smitherman, so far to no effect.

The question about Pantalone is a bit more interesting, if only because in recent debates Pantalone’s distaste for Ford, Smitherman and even Rossi has been pretty obvious. He’s been coming off as angrier and angrier, which will make it all the more jarring if the deputy mayor comes around and endorses one of his rivals.

• Key Rossi staffer in talks to jump to Ford [Globe and Mail]

UPDATE: John Capobiano has released a statement that indicates that he is a personal friend of Rob Ford’s, but flatly denies any negotiations to move over to the Etobicoke councillor’s mayoral campaign. From the statement:

Kelly Grant reports in today’s Globe and Mail that I attended a meeting with Nick Kouvalis, deputy campaign manager for Rob Ford, and discussed leaving the Rossi campaign for the Ford camp.

The story contains numerous errors, unsubstantiated rumours from unnamed sources and is a biased account of a meeting that did take place.

Last week, on my way home from work downtown to my home in Etobicoke, I stopped by the Ford family’s place of business, Deco Labels and Tags. I did not meet, nor have I ever met Mr. Kouvalis in a Tim Hortons coffee shop as Ms Kelly reports in her story.