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Rap-Sheet Mayors

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Despite admitting last week that he did, after all, smoke crack, Toronto mayor Rob Ford has resolved to run for reelection in 2014. His odds look dicey, but voters have returned worse mayoral misbehavers to their posts. Here are six American scandals the embattled Canadian might want to study before making his next move.

Rob Ford
2010–present
Ford to Torontonians: “Folks, I’ve nothing left to hide.”
Outcome: in office


Tony Mack
2010–present
Trenton, New Jersey
Charges: corruption
Outcome: still in office, awaiting trial
Mack’s 2010 campaign finances sent up red flags—how, for instance, did he lend the campaign $20,000 while his home faced foreclosure? In 2012, federal agents raided his home. He was arrested that September for his involvement in a $119,000 bribery scheme to build a Trenton parking garage.


Vincent “Buddy” Cianci
1975–84, 1991–2002
Providence, Rhode Island
Convictions: assault; later, racketeering
Outcome: resigned, reelected, resigned again
Cianci’s first felony was his 1983 assault of a friend using a fireplace log, lit cigarette, and ashtray. That charge barred him from Rhode Island politics for several years. He was reelected in 1990, but his public service was cut short by another felony, this time for racketeering.


Sheila Dixon
2007–10
Baltimore, Maryland
Conviction: embezzlement
Outcome: resigned, put on probation (which she was accused of violating in 2012)
Though the state prosecutor’s office began investigating Dixon for corruption in 2006, it wasn’t until 2009 that charges stuck. She was found guilty of using Old Navy and Best Buy gift cards donated to charity to purchase items like a PlayStation and an Xbox 360.


Kwame Kilpatrick
2002–08
Detroit, Michigan
Conviction: 27 various counts
Outcome: resigned, currently serving a 28-year sentence
Kilpatrick’s tenure was dogged by many scandals (e.g., the mysterious death of a stripper who allegedly had visited the mayoral residence). The one that did him in involved perjury over an affair with his chief of staff. He did 99 days’ time, only to return to the Big House later for corruption.


Bob Filner
2012–13
San Diego, California
Convictions: false imprisonment, two counts of battery
Outcome: resigned, banned from politics
Months after he took office, three women accused Filner of sexual harassment. Other reports of groping, kissing, and lewd behavior followed. He asked the city to pay his attorneys, then caved to pressure and stepped down—taking his $98,000 in legal fees with him.


Marion Barry
1979–91, 1995–99
Washington, D.C.
Conviction: cocaine possession
Outcome: served a six-month sentence, later reelected
In 1990, Barry, then a third-term mayor and rumored addict, was caught on video smoking crack with an ex-girlfriend in a hotel room under FBI surveillance. After prison, Barry wasted no time: He ran for city council, then mayor, winning both.

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