Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tells to the media to get off his property as he leaves his home in Toronto on Oct. 31, 2013.
(Photo: Nathan Denette AP)
TORONTO (USA Today) -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who long denied allegations that he used crack cocaine, admitted Tuesday morning that he used the drug "probably a year ago" when he was drunk. But in a rambling speech hours later at which he repeatedly apologized, refused to resign.
RELATED | Otis Nixon released on bond
RELATED | Survey: Teen pot use rises, alcohol use declines
RELATED | Thousands of crack convicts up for early release
Ford's startling admission that he used the drug once while in a "drunken stupor" came after months of accusations during which the embattled mayor refused to step down. He denied that he is a crack addict and said he doesn't do drugs.
"Yes, I've smoke cracked cocaine...Yes, I've made mistakes,'' he said. "All I can do now is apologize and move on. I can't change the past.''
In front of a crowded room of reporters late Tuesday afternoon, Ford blamed himself for his woes. "I know admitting my mistake was the right thing to do, and I feel like 1,000 pounds has been lifted from my shoulders."
"Folks, I have nothing left to hide,'' he said. "I would do anything, absolutely anything, to change the past. But the past is the past, and we must move forward,'' he said. "These mistakes will never, never never, happen again."
Ford stopped short of resigning, saying he loved his job and hoped to regain the confidence of voters. "There is important work of we must advance,'' he said. "I was elected to do a job and that's exactly what I'm going to continue."
Ford's term isn't due to expire until October 2014.
His admission over illegal drug use came after Toronto police said they had a video tape that appeared to show the 44-year-old mayor puffing on a crack cocaine pipe. But police said they don't have sufficient evidence to charge Ford with a crime.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine," Ford told reporters Tuesday outside his office. "There have been times when I've been in a drunken stupor. That's why I want to see the tape. I want everyone in the city to see this tape. I don't even recall there being a tape or video. I want to see the state that I was in."
Ford's admission came after he apologized Sunday on his weekly radio show for "a lot of stupid things." He didn't address his drug use on Sunday's show, however, and said he would not resign from the post he's held since December 2010.
Ford said Toronto residents can come to their own conclusions.
"Whatever this video shows, Toronto residents deserve to see it and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video," he said.
Ford's longtime friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi, was arrested last month for trafficking marijuana. Ford has previously admitted to smoking "a lot of" weed in the past.