Make your own free website on Tripod.com
MAYOR MEL & MARILYN LASTMAN IN THE NEWS !
 

Wednesday, May 12, 1999                Lastman lays low after making death threat

                            By PAULA ARAB -- The Canadian Press

                 TORONTO (CP) -- He's pulled a litany of stunts in his two decades in politics, but it's not every day the mayor of Canada's largest city threatens to kill someone.
                 Toronto's irrepressible Mayor Mel Lastman was at the centre of a controversy Wednesday over his threat against television reporter Adam Vaughan.
                 "It's very disturbing to have one's life threatened," said Vaughan, who was         pondering making an official complaint to police.
                 Councillors were quick to defend Lastman, saying he's been under a lot of  stress since his wife was apprehended and arrested for allegedly stealing a pair of designer pants. She was not charged.
                 "It's personal and the mayor is under a terrible strain," said Coun. Michael Walker, who said he's normally no fan of the flamboyant Lastman but had professional confidence in him despite his family problems.
                 "It's hard for a person," said Coun. Tom Jakobek. "You know you're talking about people's families here. He's very, very close to his wife, maybe other people aren't, but he is.
                 "This is a very, very, very concerning issue to that family and they should be          allowed to work it out for themselves."
                 Lastman avoided the media on Wednesday, the day the Toronto Star reported his wife Marilyn was apprehended on April 19 at a shopping mall.
                 The mayor issued a written apology a day earlier to Vaughan, a CBC television reporter, after publicly threatening to kill him if he didn't leave his family alone.
                 Lastman apparently believed that Vaughan had been spreading the story of his wife's arrest, while Vaughan vehemently denied it.
                 "It's a good thing that the mayor was quick to apologize," said Bruce Taylor, the CBC's regional director of television for Ontario.
                 Taylor added the mayor had agreed to meet with the CBC soon to discuss the relationship between Lastman and the network.
                 Police aren't investigating the incident because no official complaint has been    made, said Sgt. Lorna Kozmik.
                 But she added: "That is a very serious offence, uttering a death threat."
                 York Region police are looking into how the shoplifting report was leaked to the media in the first place.
                 Lastman's wife wasn't charged "due to her age as well as no outstanding offences on her record," said the police report published Wednesday in the Star.
                 One observer said Lastman's outlandish persona allows him to get away with a lot more than any other politician.
                 If someone like former prime minister Brian Mulroney, for example, had threatened to kill a reporter, there might have been a much harsher response, said Henry Jacek, a politics professor at McMaster University.
                 "Lastman has an image of someone who's bombastic and over-the-top most of the time. The shock value is reduced because you expect him to say outrageous things."
                 He added that the fact the threat was made against a reporter also might  have minimized the outrage.
                 "Some sectors of the public might think that reporters might have to deal with some abuse from politicians from time to time, that it comes with the territory."
                 Walker, who's often clashed with Lastman on political issues, says Lastman's outburst was forgivable.
                 "It's his style and I just think we should give him a chance," said Walker.
                 Jakobek agreed.
                 "I honestly do not believe this man is capable of physically injuring anybody.  I don't think there's any excuse for it but he's apologized for it and we should let it go. Everybody's allowed a mistake from time to time."

 

                            Mel Lastman under the spotlight

                 Snow: Called in the military troops to shovel Toronto out from a snow
                storm earlier this year. "Why did this have to happen when I became
                mayor?" he said.

                 Spice: Wrote a letter to Ginger Spice begging her not to leave the Spice
                Girls.

                 Stunts: Once exchanged $2 bills for $1 bills to generate interest in his bad
                Boy appliance store.

                 Political history: According to the Guinness Book of Worlds Records, he
                holds the world record for 10 straight terms as mayor of suburban North
                York, a span lasting over 25 years.

                 Private business: Borrowed $2,000 to open an appliance store and
                turned it into the multi-million-dollar Bad Boy chain.

                 Spiel: Fast-talk, flamboyance, moral outrage.

                 Commercials: Kitschy Bad Boy furniture commercials, in which he asks:
                "Who's better than Bad Boy? Nooooooooobody!"
 

                              Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
                     
 
 

Friday, May 14, 1999          Lastman: Leave us alone  Offers apology again for incident

                                       By ZEN RURYK, CITY HALL BUREAU
      Mayor Mel Lastman called on the media yesterday to allow him  to deal with his family problems in private.
    Lastman also thanked the public for phone calls, faxes and letters of support following his controversial outburst to CBLT-TV reporter Adam Vaughan and the revelation his wife had been arrested for shoplifting.
    Marilyn Lastman was arrested -- but not charged -- for allegedly stealing a pair of designer pants last month from an Eaton's store in a Vaughan mall.
    "I hope you, the members of the media, will respect my family's privacy at this time and allow me to deal with my personal life," Lastman told reporters.
    He made the comments at a City Hall press conference that was called to unveil three new task forces.
    The bizarre scandal broke Tuesday when Vaughan said Lastman threatened to kill him while the two were standing in a public part of the City Hall council chamber.
    Lastman insisted the incident will not affect his ability to lead council.
    "I'm getting along really well with the council," he said.
    "Everybody has come up to me and (been) very, very nice on council."
    On the day of the confrontation, Vaughan quoted Lastman as saying, "I heard you've been talking about my wife ... Leave my family alone. If you don't f---ing leave them alone, I'll kill you."
    The mayor promptly issued Vaughan a written apology, saying his comments were "inappropriate in tone and language."
    Prior to the incident, Lastman had accused Vaughan of providing the satirical magazine, Frank, with information.
    Vaughan denies the charge.
    Frank ran a story about a politician's spouse who was arrested for shoplifting. The magazine did not identify those involved.
    Lastman said yesterday he plans to meet with representatives of the CBC early next month to discuss what has happened.
    He added support from the public has made him feel "a heck of a lot better."
 
 

                                           Click below to get away from Toronto
                 
                                     Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
 
 

    Friday, May 14, 1999     Board satisfied with handling of case

          By JOE WARMINGTON, TORONTO SUN

      A written report from York Police Chief Julian Fantino on the arrest of Marilyn Lastman will not be necessary, the region's police services board chairman said yesterday.
    "I am satisfied that the police followed proper procedures," said Margaret Black, the mayor of King and a former criminal lawyer.
    Earlier, when details of Lastman's arrest and subsequent release without charges were made public, Black said she would ask Fantino for a "full report" on the entire situation in the interest of public fairness.
    But yesterday, after talking with Fantino, she said there is no need.
    "He has given a verbal report and I am quite satisfied with it," she said.
    Fantino has said he knew of a young constable's decision to not lay the charge April 19 at the Eaton's store in the Promenade mall almost immediately after it occurred and agreed it was the right call. A police officer, he said, has to maintain the right to use discretion.
    He said it is "preposterous" to think preferential treatment was given because Lastman is married to Toronto's mayor.
    Although Black said she is no longer looking for a report, the board still has the option of asking for one should they deem it necessary.
    Board members will have that opportunity at the next meeting April 26, at 2 p.m. at York Region headquarters in Newmarket.
 
 

                                      Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
             
 
 
 

Friday May 14, 1999                     COLIN McCONNELL/TORONTO STAR
                    MEL CULPA: At a news conference yesterday, Mayor  Mel Lastman again apologizes for threatening a reporter.
                  Leadership intact, Lastman says
                  Time `to move foward' after threat to reporter incident
                                 By John Spears            Toronto Star GTA Bureau Chief

                  Mayor Mel Lastman says his ability to lead Toronto council has not been damaged after angrily threatening CBC reporter Adam Vaughan in the council chamber.
                  In his first news conference since Tuesday's incident, Lastman  told reporters yesterday that city councillors have been very  supportive.
                  Asked whether the effectiveness of his leadership has been impaired, he replied: ``No, I don't think so.
                  ``I'm getting along really well with the council. Everybody has come up to me and been very, very nice.''
                  Deputy Mayor Case Ootes offered the mayor his support. ``I've not talked to one councillor who has expressed a lack of  confidence.''
                  Lastman apologized to Vaughan after he threatened to kill the reporter, and said he would have him fired.
                  The mayor had blamed Vaughan for publication of an article in Frank, a satirical magazine, about his wife Marilyn.
                  Lastman has been under pressure since April 19, when Mrs. Lastman was apprehended at the Promenade Mall in Thornhill in the theft of a $155 pair of slacks. She was detained by York Region police but released without being charged. A police incident report said no charges were laid because of her age and lack of criminal record.
                  Lastman read a brief statement concerning the incident with Vaughan at the start of the news conference.
                  ``I want to thank the members of the public,'' Lastman said.  ``They've been just fantastic. Their support has been just great. The phone calls have been unbelievable.
                  ``I want to thank them for their calls, their letters, their faxes.  And I want to thank the members of council for their support. I appreciate their kindness and I thank them on behalf of my wife and myself.
                  ``I would once again like to apologize to Mr. Vaughan for my remarks,'' the mayor added.                   ``I also apologize to the people of Toronto who may have been offended by the incident. But it's now time to move forward.
                  ``I hope you, the members of the media, will respect my family's privacy at this time and allow me to deal with my personal life.''
                  Lastman leaves today for a two-week holiday with his wife.
 

                                                           !Register-It! Promote Your Web Site!
                                    Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
             
 
 
 

   The story behind the blow-up story The incident was common knowledge in virtually every newsroom in the city for weeks. Senior editors decided to leave it alone, until Mel Lastman's eruption in City Hall brought it to the fore

                    Chris Eby                   National Post

                    The story that no one in the Toronto press would report -- that Marilyn Lastman, the mayor's wife, was stopped by security guards after allegedly shoplifting a pair of stretch pants from Eaton's -- has now become the story that's got everyone talking.
 While the incident was common knowledge in virtually every newsroom in the city for weeks,    there seemed to be consensus among senior editors that it be left alone.
"We were aware from a very early stage about the incident, but when weighing the public interest of the story, [we] felt it did not justify the obvious pain it would cause Mr. Lastman's wife," said Martin Newland, deputy editor of the National Post.
 But feelings changed after Mel Lastman reportedly threatened Adam Vaughn, a CBC television reporter, on the floor of the council chamber Tuesday, accusing him of slandering his wife by leaking the story to a satirical magazine.
  "Leave my family alone. If you don't leave them alone, I'll kill you,"
Mr. Vaughn recalled the mayor saying.
As a possible explanation for Mr. Lastman's outburst, The Toronto Star reported yesterday that "the mayor had been under personal strain since his wife Marilyn was apprehended April 19 in a Vaughan mall and arrested over stealing a pair of $155 designer pants."
  The Star published an incident report obtained from the York Regional Police that confirmed a woman, later identified as Mrs. Lastman, was seen by a store investigator entering into a change room with two pairs of slacks. Later, she paid for one pair.
 The woman then left the store and was approached by Eaton's security who found another pair of pants in a bag. She was told she was going to be placed under arrest and was advised of her rights, the report said.
  "Mrs. Lastman was apologetic and concerned that her husband was not made aware of the incident. She is presently on the prescription drug paxel [sic], which is an anti-depressant drug, but does not blame the drug for her actions," the report, as reprinted in the Star, said.
 She was released after store officials decided not to press charges, according to the report. 
Statistics show that police often release people arrested for theft of  small items without charging them. The Star was the only one out of the four major dailies in the city that opted to run the story; other papers, including the Post, did run items about Mr. Lastman's blow-up with Mr. Vaughn. 
"The background to this incident had been bubbling around for some time, and when it blew over in a public place, in front of the public, it became a different issue," said Jim Travers, the Star's executive managing editor.
"The incident involving Mrs. Lastman was secondary, but it was  significant to understanding why the blow-up occurred." 
The Post's Mr. Newland was adamant about his decision.
                    "The principle remained," he said. "There was no licence to delve into personal matters such as this."
Peter Brewster, associate managing editor of the Toronto Sun, said that his newspaper had nothing solid to go on, and, as far as he was concerned, there was no decision necessary as to whether to run the story.
"We don't deal in rumours. As far as we are concerned it is a non-issue."
He said the only incidents worth reporting were the threats made by the mayor to the CBC reporter.
Senior editors at The Globe and Mail were not available for comment.
 Julian Fantino, York Region's chief of police, said that he was  "extremely disappointed" that the incident report was published.  And he announced yesterday that he had launched an internal investigation into how the Star obtained the document.
It is generally known by reporters that cover the City Hall beat that Mr. Lastman blamed Mr. Vaughn for a piece that appeared in Frank magazine, an Ottawa-based gossip publication, which made an oblique reference to the incident involving Mrs. Lastman.  However, the magazine never named her in the story.
                    "The mayor made a reference to Frank magazine in a scrum last week and looked at me," Mr. Vaughn said. "But I went to his office right away as I wanted to assure him that even though I knew about the story, I would not be covering it as a professional journalist."
Mr. Vaughn refused to speculate on why the mayor, by his account, blew up at him, but described their relationship as "stormy."
Mr. Lastman issued an apology to Mr. Vaughn shortly after the heated exchange occurred and he expressed a desire to sit down with the reporter and discuss what he called "the difficulties we've had in our working relationship during the last approximate two years."
Bruce Taylor, the CBC's director of television for Ontario, has also asked for a private meeting with Mr. Lastman to discuss the "ongoing relationship between [the mayor] and the CBC Evening News."
    Questions continue to swirl about the ethics of publishing the details of the incident involving Mrs. Lastman, however    "I don't think it's the ethical thing to do," said Mr. Vaughn.
     "Members of politicians' families should not be held up to that kind of scrutiny."
But Don Wanagas, the National Post's City Hall bureau chief, took a different view, saying the mayor has only himself to blame for theunwanted attention.
      "Unfortunately for the mayor, he's the one whose focused the media spotlight on the matter by threatening a television reporter who he believed leaked details of the incident to Frank magazine," he said.
"You don't go around threatening to kill people on the floor of city council or anywhere else for that matter."
 

                              Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
                             Welcome To Casino Universe    
 

                                  Councillors stand by Lastman after threat
                  By Bruce DeMara and Phinjo Gombu Toronto Star Staff Reporters

                  Toronto city councillors rallied around Mayor Mel Lastman a
                  day after he threatened a TV reporter in council chambers.
                  But the mayor was uncharacteristically silent yesterday.
                  Lastman - who is normally accessible for scrums, especially on
                  days when city council meets - dodged the media throughout
                  the day, refusing to offer comment on the incident involving
                  CBC reporter Adam Vaughan on Tuesday.
                  Fellow politicians stood by the mayor, saying his outburst
                  against Vaughan - who the mayor accused of provided details
                  about a shoplifting incident involving his wife Marilyn - was
                  understandable.
                  Yesterday, York Region police Chief Julian Fantino ordered an
                  immediate investigation into what he called the unauthorized
                  release of an incident report detailing Marilyn Lastman's arrest
                  April 19.
                  Details of her arrest in the theft of a $155 pair of pants from a
                  Vaughan Eaton's store were published by The Star yesterday.
                  Marilyn Lastman was not charged ``due to her age as well as no
                  outstanding offences on her record,'' the police incident report
                  said.
                  While Eaton's has a ``zero-tolerance policy on any type of
                  criminal activity,'' each case is handled on its own merits,
                  vice-president of public relations Sigi Brough told The Star.
                  Mayor Lastman angrily threatened Vaughan during the council
                  meeting, blaming him for a brief item on the shoplifting incident
                  - which didn't name Lastman or his wife - in Frank, an
                  Ottawa-based satirical magazine.
                  Lastman later apologized for the outburst, during which he
                  threatened to kill Vaughan or have him fired.
                  ``There's no excuse for it (threat) but I think he's apologized. I
                  think we should leave him alone,'' Councillor Tom Jakobek (East
                  Toronto) said.
                  The curtains on the windows of the mayor's office facing
                  Nathan Phillips Square were closed throughout the day, an
                  unusual occurrence.
                  At one point, as a group of reporters gathered outside his
                  office, Lastman left by a side door to avoid them.
                  Jakobek blamed Lastman's desire to protect his family for the
                  outburst.
                  ``You're talking about people's families here and he (Lastman) is
                  very, very close to his wife. Maybe other people aren't, but he
                  is,'' Jakobek said.
                  Councillor Doug Holyday (Markland Centennial) called the
                  issue a personal matter.
                  ``Unfortunately, he (Lastman) has family problems and he'll deal
                  with that himself,'' Holyday said.
                  Councillor Brian Ashton (Scarborough Bluffs) also downplayed
                  the seriousness of the threat.
                  ``It's no more of a threat than what schoolyard kids might do, or
                  you might say when you stub your toe in the workroom,''
                  Ashton said.
                  ``It becomes a criminal offence if you really, truly believe the
                  person who said it . . . is prepared to carry through with it. 5
                  ``That's just not what it is. It was a loss of temper.''
                  Bruce Taylor, the CBC's regional director of television, thanked
                  Lastman in a letter for offering a quick apology to Vaughan.
                  Taylor requested a meeting to discuss the ``ongoing
                  relationship'' between CBC and Lastman.
                  Taylor also offered to let the broadcaster's ombudsman deal
                  with any complaints.
                 Lastman is not expected to meet with the CBC immediately.
 
                             Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
             
 
 
 

                Thursday, May 13, 1999 Toronto Sun    Police board seeks 'full report'

          By JOE WARMINGTON, TORONTO SUN
      York Police Chief Julian Fantino said he knew of Marilyn Lastman's arrest the day it happened and supported a police constable's decision to not charge her.
    "I am satisfied the matter was handled properly by us," he told The Toronto Sun last night.
    Police board chairman Margaret Black said yesterday that she will ask Fantino for a report on the incident.
    "We are trustees of the public," said the King mayor. "I will be asking for a full report on this -- all aspects of it ... On how the decision to not lay charges (was made) and who made it."
    But, she said, the board has not made any early conclusion and only wants the facts.
    "We need to have some answers," said the former criminal lawyer. "I want to be careful that we are being fair to everyone.
... We do need to understand what happened here."
    Fantino, who arrived home late from a meeting of chiefs in Sudbury, has launched an internal investigation to determine how the police report was leaked. He said he will deal with and respond to any requests the board makes of him.
    But, he said, this is not a situation that needs much scrutiny. "It's ridiculous for people to read anything into this," he said, adding it's "preposterous" that special treatment was given.
    The officer made the decision based on "things known to him at that time and I accept that.
    "The incident occurred April 19 when the 64-year-old wife of Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman was arrested for alleged shoplifting in the Eaton's store at the Promenade Mall.
    Rookie Const. Dave Wales wrote in his report that "store representatives decided that due to her age as well as the lack of outstanding offences on her record, they did not wish to proceed
    with charges."
    Store management said such decisions with "no exceptions" are never made by anybody but police, who ultimately decide how to proceed.   "We read them their rights and call police," said loss-prevention manager Will Rinna. "Police take over the investigation."   Fantino agreed, saying this decision was and is a type of police decision made every day.
   Fantino said he was made aware of the incident and an officer's decision to not lay a charge soon after it happened.
    After being filled in, he said, he immediately backed him and will do so in future.
    "I am backing the right of a police officer to use discretion," he said. "Decisions are made based on all the issues...This case is closed for me."
    Fantino called the incident a "routine event in every aspect" that doesn't deserve to be turned into a "political football.    "You take the name out of it and it's no big deal," he said.
 

                                Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
              
 
 

                                        Thursday, May 13, 1999 Toronto Sun

                    Cops probing leak    -    Lastman silent on issue of wife's arrest

           By ZEN RURYK, CITY HALL BUREAU
      Mayor Mel Lastman dodged reporters yesterday as York Regional Police ordered an investigation into the unauthorized release of a shoplifting report involving his wife.
    The usually publicity-hungry mayor refused interview requests following the revelation his wife, Marilyn, was arrested for allegedly stealing a pair of designer pants last month from an
    Eaton's store at a Vaughan shopping mall.     York Regional Police Sgt. John Sheldon said his force will investigate how a report containing details of the incident was released to the media.     Marilyn Lastman, 64, was not charged in connection with the matter.     "We release information with regards to charged persons, not non-charged persons," Sheldon said.
    A spokesman for the mayor said Lastman was too busy with city council business to comment.     The issue came to a head on Tuesday when Lastman confronted CBLT-TV reporter Adam Vaughan in a public section of Toronto's city hall council chamber.
    Lastman later issued Vaughan a written apology, saying his comments were "inappropriate in tone and language."     Vaughan said Lastman accused him of talking about his wife.
    "Leave my family alone. If you don't f---ing leave them alone, I'll kill you," Vaughan quoted Lastman as allegedly saying.     Lastman recently accused Vaughan of providing information to the satirical magazine Frank.
    Frank had published a story about a politician's spouse who was arrested for shoplifting. The article did not identify those involved.
    "The only connection to Frank magazine is they requested information from me and I told them as far as I was concerned politicians' families are off limits," Vaughan said yesterday. He refused to specify what information Frank wanted.
    Lastman's office released copies of a letter -- bearing yesterday's date -- from CBC regional TV director Bruce Taylor, which said the network appreciated how the mayor quickly apologized to Vaughan.
    It invited Lastman to meet with senior CBC representatives to discuss "the ongoing relationship between you and the CBC Evening News."
    Some Toronto politicians, meanwhile, rallied 'round the mayor.
    Councillor Tom Jakobek said Lastman is sincerely sorry for the comments he uttered to Vaughan.
    "I really have to tell you that I think the people of Toronto should leave it and allow the man to carry on his duties," he said.
    Councillor Doug Holyday said it's up to the public to pass judgment on the mayor's actions.
    "I don't know if I'd like to use the word sympathy, but you certainly always have a feeling for someone who, perhaps, has a problem in their family that is difficult."
    And Councillor Brian Ashton said that when it comes to his family, Lastman is "protective and instinctive."
 

                                 Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
             
 
 

 
                        Thursday, May 13, 1999 -   Public pain now public shame

                      By MICHELE MANDEL, TORONTO SUN Oh, Mel, Mel, Mel.

    The little mayor that could had been doing so well lately, winning over even those who worried he was more bombast than action, as he tirelessly championed this city with his trademark motormouth.     But inevitably, that infamous mouth has landed him into a storm of
    controversy.  Mayors, even outrageous and endearing ones, simply can't go around threatening to kill people.  Yesterday, looking somber and strained, Lastman attended a city    council meeting and refused to talk about his outburst against  CBLT-TV reporter Adam Vaughan.
    Instead, he seemed a beaten man who hadn't lost the sad irony that in threatening a reporter to keep quiet Tuesday, he had unwittingly opened the Pandora's Shoplifting Box himself, exposing his wife to the very publicity and shame he was nobly trying to prevent in the first place.  For weeks, some media had sat on the story, but thanks to Lastman's outburst, every media outlet is now running with the news that his wife had been picked up for shoplifting and that the mayor believed Vaughan was the one leaking the story.
    According to Vaughan, the mayor stormed up to him in the council chamber Tuesday and said, "I've heard you've been talking about my wife. Stop talking about my wife. Leave my
    family alone. If you don't f---ing leave them alone, I'll kill you."    Lastman was referring to a bizarre episode last month in which his wife Marilyn, was arrested for allegedly shoplifting a pair of pants from Eaton's at the Promenade mall.
    The glitter girl famous for wearing expensive couture dresses was stopped by a security guard with a pair of Jones of New York pants in an Eaton's bag. The police report notes that Lastman was on a prescription anti-depressant drug and was apologetic and concerned about her husband being told. It goes on to say that noting her age (64) and "no outstanding offences," the store decided not to press charges.
    It is all very sad and, I think, very private. Did Lastman's name get her off? Perhaps, but then again, statistics for York Region show that more than a third of shoplifting cases investigated by police are handled without laying charges.
    So this was a personal problem the fiercely protective Lastman wanted to keep private. You can understand that he wanted to shield his wife from the humiliation of publicity. You can
    empathize with his rage when he believed a reporter had leaked the story to Frank magazine.
    You can even imagine the personal strain he's been under. But no matter how upset or angry, no one, least of all the mayor of Toronto, can go around uttering death threats.
    Now given Lastman's reputation for over-the-top hyperbole, I don't think Vaughan needed to buy a bullet-proof vest any time soon. What was more worrisome, I believe, was the mayor's
    threat to call whomever necessary at the CBC to get Vaughan fired.
    That is chilling. Lastman is a powerful man. He can't threaten to wield that power against his citizens when they do something His Worship doesn't like.
    Now these two have clashed before: Lastman has been angry with Vaughan ever since the TV reporter nearly cost him the megamayor's job. In an interview Lastman insisted was taken out of context, Vaughan quoted the then-mayoralty candidate saying there was no homeless problem in North York. While Lastman was making his remarks, police were trying to identify the body of a homeless woman found dead in a North York gas station.
    Lastman spent the rest of the campaign fighting an unfair image of insensitivity and callousness.
    So the mayor doesn't like a reporter -- hardly a first in politics, but leaders cannot go about threatening their detractors. After all his years in public life, Lastman should know that. But even his limp apology soon after the incident reveals a stunning lack of insight into what he has done.
    "It was improper to have a private conversation with you in a public place," the mayor wrote. "It was also a conversation inappropriate in tone and language.
    "If you have been offended by our conversation then I am sorry for my words ..."
    "If you have been offended." That's hardly the language of someone who truly regrets his behaviour.
    Lastman, I believe, owes the reporter a more sincere mea culpa.
    But he must also do more. The mayor owes the people of Toronto a public apology for what can only be viewed as inappropriate and intimidating behaviour.
    The city, I think, would quickly forgive him.
    It's this uncharacteristic silence they can't understand. 
 

                                Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
             
 
 

                                                May 13 - Toronto Sun Editorial
 

Mega Mouth

 Until now we were pretty sure Mayor Mel Lastman would seek a second term as megamayor.
Based on his performance at City Hall on Tuesday, he may want to reflect on whether he should.
 It's irrelevant what real or imagined grievances brought on this latest erratic episode. Remember Lastman's recent trip to a Toronto emergency ward which turned out to be not quite the frightening experience he had initially made it out to be? Perhaps those exaggerations were just another example of "Mel being Mel."
 But this time, no excuse justifies the mayor's reported threat to kill or have fired a City Hall reporter - the CBC's Adam Vaughan.
 Vaughan, son of CITY-TV's Colin Vaughan, broke the story in the last election of Lastman's
infamous claim that there were no homeless people in North York, even as a homeless woman was found dead in the city of which he had been mayor for 25 years.
 There's no love lost between the two but that's no excuse for Lastman's bizarre conduct in the
council chamber, witnessed by others, in which he confronted Vaughan. According to Vaughan, Lastman said: "I've heard you've been talking about my wife. Stop talking about my wife. Leave my family alone. If you don't f... leave them alone, I'll kill you." He then threatened to have Vaughan fired.
 Lastman apparently believed - wrongly says Vaughan - that Vaughan was the source of a story that first appeared in Frank which reported, without mentioning her name, that Lastman's wife, Marilyn, had been arrested, allegedly for shoplifting a pair of pants.
 Several media, including the Sun, knew about parts of this story, including the fact no charge was laid. A police report said the store didn't want to prosecute due to Marilyn Lastman's age and lack of any outstanding offences. It noted she was on anti-depressants, although she didn't use the drug as an excuse. Until the Star, which obtained a copy of this report, published it yesterday to explain the context of Lastman's warning to Vaughan to stop talking about his wife, no media outlet except Frank had reported any of this.
 We sympathize with the mayor's desire to protect his wife, but even so, he still seems unaware of his enormous error, apologizing as he did to Vaughan for "inappropriate" tone and language and for having a "private conversation with you in a public place."
 In fact, what Lastman did was wrong in public or in private. If he can't see why, he might want to reassess his future in public life.
 
 
 

                                 Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
                  

          

                                            Thursday, May 13, 1999   Edmonton Sun
                                            T.O. mayor quiet on cop report about wife

               By ZEN RURYK, SUN MEDIA
    TORONTO --  Mayor Mel Lastman dodged reporters yesterday as cops ordered an investigation into the unauthorized release of a shoplifting report involving his wife.
    The usually publicity-hungry mayor refused interview requests following the revelation that his wife, Marilyn, was arrested for allegedly stealing a pair of designer pants last month from an Eaton's store.
    York Regional Police Sgt. John Sheldon said his force will investigate how a report containing details of the incident was released to the media.
    According to the police report, Marilyn Lastman, 64, was not charged in connection with the matter "due to her age as well as no outstanding offences on her record."
    "We release information with regard to charged persons - not non-charged persons," said Sheldon.
A spokesman for the mayor said he was too busy with council  business to talks to reporters.
    The issue came to a head on Tuesday when Lastman confronted local CBC-TV reporter Adam Vaughan in a public section of Toronto's City Hall.
    Lastman later issued Vaughan a written apology, saying his comments were "inappropriate in tone and language."         Vaughan said Lastman accused him of talking about his wife.
    "Leave my family alone. If you don't f---ing leave them alone, I'll kill you," Vaughan quoted Lastman as allegedly saying.
    Lastman recently accused Vaughan of providing information to the satirical magazine, Frank. The magazine has published a story about a politician's spouse who was arrested for shoplifting. The article did not identify those involved.
    "The only connection to Frank magazine is they requested information from me and I told them as far as I was concerned,  politicians' families are off limits," Vaughan said yesterday.
    Lastman's office released copies of a letter from CBC regional television director Bruce Taylor which said the network appreciated how quickly the mayor apologized to Vaughan.
 

                                Click on our sponsors banner to support STRAIGHT TO MEL !
                                                     
 
 

                                        Thursday, May 13, 1999   Calgary Sun

                            Mayor hunkers down - Lastman won't comment on wife or death threat

               By ZEN RURYK, SUN MEDIA
    TORONTO --  Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman dodged reporters  yesterday as police ordered an investigation into the unauthorized release of a shoplifting report involving his wife.
    The mayor refused interview requests following the revelation his wife, Marilyn, was arrested for allegedly stealing a pair of designer pants last month from an Eaton's store.
    York Regional police Sgt. John Sheldon said his force will investigate how a report on the incident was released to the media.
    She was not charged.
    "We release information with regards to charged persons -- not non-charged persons," said Sheldon.     A spokesman for the mayor said Lastman was too busy with city council business to comment to reporters.
The issue came to a head on Tuesday when Lastman confronted TV reporter Adam Vaughan in a public section of the council chamber.
    Lastman later issued Vaughan a written apology, saying his comments were "inappropriate in tone and language."
    Vaughan said Lastman accused him of talking about his wife.
    "Leave my family alone. If you don't (expletive) leave them alone, I'll kill you," he quoted Lastman as allegedly saying.
    Lastman recently accused Vaughan of providing information to the satirical magazine, Frank.  Frank has published a story about a politician's spouse who was arrested for shoplifting. The article did not identify any of those involved.
    "The only connection to Frank magazine is they requested information from me and I told them as far as I was concerned, politicians' families are off-limits," Vaughan said, refusing to
    specify what information the magazine wanted.
    Some Toronto politicians, meanwhile, rallied in support of the mayor.
    Councillor Tom Jakobek said that Lastman is sincerely sorry for the comments he uttered to Vaughan.
    "I really have to tell you that I think the people of Toronto should leave it and allow the man to carry on his duties." 



 This page was last updated May 15, 1999              From Toronto, Ontario, Canada                    ( The Megacity )
 Dave Parkinson & Tracy Lamourie