Sarah Thomson’s allegations of sexual impropriety against Mayor Rob Ford have sparked a series of statements from conservative councillors and pundits attempting to discredit her version of events. Among the most vocal has been Councillor Carmine Perrelli, who claims nothing inappropriate went on at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee event Thursday night.
Sarah Thomson’s executive assistant, Sarah Patterson, was present at the event and says that her experience involved an intoxicated looking Rob Ford and an offfensive Carmine Pirelli.
I sat down with her to hear what she had to say.
On Thursday, March 7, you spent the evening with Sarah Thomson, what were you guys doing?
Last night was my first CJPAC Action event, and it was quite the memorable experience. I met numerous people, members of the political community and city leaders. I was attending with my new boss Mrs Sarah Thomson, Chair of the Toronto Transit Alliance.
How did the event begin for you two?
Sarah was a great sport and introduced me to everyone as she met up with old friends and former colleagues. We mingled with the likes of Kathleen Wynne, Justin Trudeau, and Tim Hudak. It was a surreal experience.
How did Sarah Thomson come to encounter Mayor Ford?
During the evening Mayor Rob Ford was in attendance. He stood beside the entrance doors with his entourage, back in the corner, being surrounded by those wanting pictures and hand shakes. Sarah noticed and went over to say hello as they were former opponents in the Mayoral Candidacy Race of 2010. Sarah asked if I could get some pictures for her on her new iPhone, adding to the celebrity filled evening.
Sarah managed to squeeze her way through the crowd to greet Mayor Ford, while I was stuck behind other enthusiasts. All I could do to get pictures was to hold the phone high above my head, snap away, while standing on the tips of my toes.
This is where the now infamous photo of the two came from?
Apparently my photography skills are not the best and I managed to get a few shots of the wall, the back of some heads, and finally a somewhat in focus shot of Sarah and Mayor Ford. I left the swarm of people and met up with Sarah to give her back her iPhone. When she approached me, she had a look of shock on her face. She stated that Mayor Ford “had just grabbed [her] ass!” I was a little shocked, but had noticed that Mayor Ford was acting a little peculiar, I just assumed it was associated with open bar. He was ridiculously red in the face, sweating profusely, dime-eyed, and acting rather abrupt.
Would you say that Mayor Ford appeared to be very intoxicated?
What did you two do after this?
From this point we continued to mingle where the “ass grab” had become a comedic reference to the events of the night. I was able to meet numerous city councillors, one of which has since decided to throw myself and Sarah Thomson under the bus: Councillor Carmine Perrelli. He and I chatted and Sarah brought up the incident with Mayor Ford. Perrelli asked if we had a picture of this event, he believed it would have been amusing to see. Sarah being quite laidback, had stated that she didn’t have a picture of the incident , but was sure this wouldn’t be difficult to acquire considering the current state of Mayor Ford. We were curious if the “ass grab” was a one time occurrence or if this was occurring to other female attendees.
How was Mr. Perrelli behaving?
Sarah and I left Councillor Perrelli because his actions and comments were starting to border on the offensive line. I must point out that Perrelli was wearing sunglasses indoors, and when I asked him why he said it was to check out woman without getting caught. He also asked to see the length of Sarah’s hair and when she turned around he looked her up and down, then learned over to me and told me that he was really checking out her butt. After this we left the conversation, Perrelli grab my arm and stated “Don’t worry, you have a nice ass too”.
You yourself got a photo with Mayor Ford, correct?
Later on in the evening. Sarah and I returned to the upper level of the event where Rob Ford was still in attendance. I took this opportunity to meet Rob Ford, get my picture taken and to see if he was in fact being inappropriately friendly with other female guests. I went up, introduced myself and shook his hand. We got our picture taken, smiles and all, and Mayor Ford was polite and friendly, and that was that.
How have you felt in the aftermath?
I wake up today to see the media abuzz with Sarah Thomson being “groped” by Mayor Ford. My office phone is ringing off the hook, my inbox has been filled with reporters wanting to know what I saw, what I said, what I did, etc. The majority of the response from the media has been negative, claiming Sarah Thomson as a liar, and a schemer, and that we set up Mayor Ford.
What do you say to anyone who doubts the validity of Sarah Thomson’s accusation?
If someone can explain to me how we can set up an “ass grab” I would like to know. The worst part of this experience is seeing how the boys club of politics stick together. Those that were commenting on my physique last night are calling me liar today. This being my first big political outing with my new boss at my new job has really taught me a lot.