Mayors Behaving Badly
Rarely does the name of a Canadian politician -- and a mayor, no less -- draw headlines weeks of headlines within the United States, but Toronto mayor Rob Ford isn't exactly a rising star. Rather, Ford's shocking misbehavior has drawn negative attention to our congenial neighbor to the north.
In addition to a lengthy history of substance abuse, a video has surfaced that purportedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine. Refusing to acknowledge that he used drugs, Ford has apologized for his "mistakes", but plans to stay in office and even run for reelection in 2014, the Toronto Star reports.
Whether governing a small town or a large metropolis, a mayor's chair is never too small to make some very big, bad decisions.
Former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick shows just how far and fast mayors can fall. Elected to office in 2001 as the youngest mayor in Detroit's history, Kilpatrick's administration immediately courted scandal with the improper use of city funds for personal expenses.
Kilpatrick's six years in office would see everything the mayor tied to everything from fraud to tax evasion to obstruction of justice to sexual misconduct and more. Just last month, Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison from 24 counts that included bribery, extortion, fraud and racketeering.
With less than a year in office under his belt, former San Diego mayor Bob Filner wasted no time becoming mired in scandal.
A total of 19 women allege that Filner sexually harassment them, with behavior including forcible kissing, groping and other inappropriate touching. Forced to resign from office in light of the accusations, Filner faced criminal charges and plead guilty to felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor battery charges against three women.
Medford, N.J. is a small town of just over 23,000 people, over whom mayor Chris Myers governored until 2011. That year, Myers retired following a sex scandal that went public in an unusual way.
On a trip to California, Myers, a married father, paid $500 for sex with a male prostitute. According to the male escort, Myers further promised gifts and a car. When Myers didn't come through, the escort posted online suggestive photos of Myers wearing briefs and lying in bed.
The scandal forced Myers to resign his office.
U.S. State Department
With a population of less than 6,000 people, Prosser, Wisc. seems like an unlikely candidate for a mayoral scandal that grabs national attention.
In 2010, mayor Linda Lusk was arrested for having a relationship with a 14-year-old boy that included sexting and inappropriate touching. The teenager was the boyfriend of Lusk's daughter.
Lusk served a 90-day jail sentence and had to register as a sex offender, as reported by ABC News.
If there's one person any ambitious politician probably shouldn't mess with, it's their campaign manager -- and the spouse of the campaign manager for that matter.
In 2007, then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom admitted to having a sexual relationship with his campaign manager's wife, and issued a public apology.
At the time, the affair threatened to derail Newsom's reelection bid and rising political career, but Newsom instead was reelected with 72 percent of the vote and now serves as the Lieutenant Governor of California.
If Toronto's mayor were to look for a road map to salvage some kind of political future, he might want to study D.C. "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry.
Like Ford, Barry walked right into a scandal after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine. The effort was part of a sting operation in 1990. Barry also didn't leave office once the news broke, and instead, stuck around for reelection even while he was on trial.
Despite jail time and a tarnished reputation, Barry retook the mayor's office in 1994 and still sits on the D.C. council today.
Former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci held the office of mayor for 21 years, over two nonconsecutive administration -- nonconsecutive because in both Cianci was forced out of office due to corruption.
In 1984, Cianci first resigned from office after pleading no contest to a felony assault charge. Despite being forced from the mayorship, Cianci tried to run in the special election to replace himself.
Six years later, Cianci would launch a political comeback that would see him once again as mayor of Providence. In 2001, facing an unopposed race for reelection, Cianci and eight others were indicted for taking $1.5 million in bribes on city contracts. Cianci was sentenced to five years in prison and forced to leave office.
Frequently cited as the most corrupt mayor in American history, William Hale Thompson was elected to the mayor's office in Chicago in 1915. Losing his post in 1923 due to a bribery scandal, Thompson returned to power in 1927 with the promise of keeping open the businesses that had been shuttered by the previous administration, specifically speakeasies that had taken root in violation of Prohibition laws.
Thompson's campaign was field by criminal cash, including notorious gangster Al Capone, and Thompson even brought gang affiliates into city hall during his administration. Thompson only lasted one term before losing another reelection bid.
Since Thompson's departure from office, no other Republican has yet been elected mayor of Chicago.
James Michael Curley might have been a corrupt politician, but he was a popular figure nonetheless. In fact, Curley even won office as an alderman while serving in prison.
Jailed over the years for fraud, bribery and other corruption charges, being forced from office in disgrace proved no setback to Curley's political career, who climbed the ladder of city government, served in the U.S. House of Representatives, served as mayor of Boston and even the governor of Massachusetts.