Adam Giambrone drops out of mayor’s race


Adam Giambrone is abandoning his campaign for mayor. His assistant, Kevin Beaulieu, informed the media of this decision after Giambrone suprised the assembled reporters by making no major announcements at the press conference he called this morning.

UPDATE: It appears that Giambrone intended to make the announcement himself, but was unable to finish delivering his prepared comments.

In his remarks, he apologized once again to his partner, Sarah McQuarrie, as well as to his colleagues on council and to the “young people who believed in me.” His statement lasted less than two minutes, and he took no questions.

Giambrone launched his mayoralty campaign at the beginning of the month. Yesterday, he admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with a woman named Kristen Lucas, and then apologized later in the day for having “intimate relations” with multiple women in the past year.

UPDATE: Here is Giambrone’s complete statement. The part in bold is what he failed to read aloud.

Good Morning

Thank you for coming today.

There are weeks that change your life, and this one has dramatically changed mine. This searing experience has taught me, I hope permanently, that a public career of integrity cannot survive deceit in your private life.

My mistakes have caused hurt to my partner Sarah, to my family, my friends and supporters. To them — and to the women I treated disrespectfully — in front of you, I humbly apologize.

I want to apologize as a councillor, to my fellow councillors, for the negative attention I have brought upon them and to this chamber.

I want to apologize also to the communities across this city and to the young people who believed in me. It is my sincere hope that they continue to believe in themselves and their own abilities to make positive change.

Finally, I deeply apologize to my partner Sarah. The pain she endured for my mistakes was deeply unfair to her. She has shown a lot of strength in all of this which has only deepened my respect and admiration for her.

I said at the beginning of this campaign that I would listen and lead. I know I will hear from many in the city, and I will reflect on their counsel with care.

I will spend the next few days in private. My mayoralty campaign ends today. Beginning next week I will return to my normal duties as a councillor.

I will focus with renewed energy on the transformation of the TTC and on building Transit City for the people of Toronto.

Thank you to all my friends and supporters who helped us through these painful days.

Photo by Tsar Kasim


  1. Tsar, what a perfect photo! The captions available referencing Giambrone’s gaze are hilarious.

  2. From a PR point of view there is so much wrong with this whole situation. First there’s the inappropriate behaviour (on a personal and professional level) without which a Crisis PR strategy would not be required. Then there’s the lying, both admitted (misled the Toronto Star) and implied (affair was only textual but one text made reference to the young woman’s naked body). And then he tops it off by calling a news conference and having an assistant awkwardly read his prepared statement. Bad judgement call. If he’s this easily overwhelmed by negative public attention, he’s obviously not ready for office yet…or ever. He is being advised by a well-known PR agency which is frequently brought in to deal with scandals. If they advised this, it’s poor advice but, as any good PR person will tell you, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Ultimately, despite our most sound advice, clients do what they want to do. Of all his mistakes in the past couple of days, getting his assistant to do his dirty work might well be the worst one.

  3. I would be happy to have him back as my councilor as most of the people in my area do. He is not perfect and this is a real mess but he served us far better than Mario Silva did and the last thing we need is a return to the dark ages that our ward was in for so long.

  4. “Seriously baby, I can build any LRT line I like…”

  5. I was once a Giambrone supporter and was taken in by the spin-charm like a lot of my felow citizens.

    Then I experienced him as my local councillor and discovered he was arrogant, dismissive of anyone else’s point of view except his own and that he showed poor judgement. His raw ambition was evident when I asked last election why I should vote for him and his response was “Mayor Miller will make me Chair of the TTC”, showing he was self-absorbed and immature in his communication abilities.

    As one of his constituents, I found him interested only in his own narrow priorities (TTC, supporting Miller) and when asked to help with various local issues, he said, “That’s not my area. I’m the TTC”.

    I do think he meant well but hasn’t the common awareness to be a people’s representative. Personal failures, a figure of tragedy that should be left alone now and not harassed by media any further…

    He should immediately resign as TTC Chair and ward councillor. Why?

    The TTC is in absolute chaos and as the biggest budget item at city hall is essential to the city’s health. Adam has shown he cannot be trusted to tell the truth and shows poor judgement. He is also likely preoccupied with his personal life and has a lot of rebuilding to do in his relationships. He cannot focus on what needs to be done. Who can trust him now?

    Yes, he quit the mayoral race (after a lot of lies). Toronto expects more integrity from such a leadership position.

    Why then should his own consituents accept his tendency to lie, to show poor judgement and to be sidetracked by his own ambition and desires?

    What I am now most concered about is the damage he’s done to his own youthful supporters.

    In a time when political apathy is growing alarmingly (35% of voters vote), he has offered yet another example of:

    ALL POLITICIANS ARE CROOKS…. contributing to apathy.

    Shame on him for this.

    Ken Wood
    Ward 18 City Council candidate

    PS: I would like to see city council appoint someone else as interim councillor with a commitment they will not run in the Oct 25, 2010 election. Perhaps one of his hard-working office workers?

  6. I’m not sure what more I can say except “Wow.” I’m not sure Toronto has ever seen this spectacular a burn-out of a mayoralty campaign, in the span of only two days.

    He was definitely a longshot to begin with, and frankly his handling of the TTC and his affairs meant I wouldn’t vote for him. At the same time, I think it’s sad to see him out of the race, as others have mentioned, it would have drawn much needed focus on the TTC to the race.

  7. His wife cannot trust him so tell me why should we. Your word is your bond and this behavior is unfortunately “A” typical of what tax payers have grown to dislike about politicians. Adam Giambrone is a light weight and the responsibilty of the TTC is miles above his pay grade.

  8. Nice try Adam, but now all you need to do is resign from City Council and the TTC chairmanship. It’s sad but you have made too many mistakes in the last month and even in your own riding with the street re-construction in your ward which the people of your ward were against. It’s no surprise, you finally made a right decision, now there is only one more to make. If you want to be a councilor you must respresent what the people want.

    Daniel ………….Toronto

  9. I agree that he should resign as TTC Chair but what would be the point of resigning as councilor if he’s going to run for re-election in October?

    If his constituents don’t want him back, they’ll have the option in 8 months. Whatever his indiscretions have been, they are no worse than what other councilors have done in the past. They didn’t resign nor should they have.

    It’s Ward 18’s decision, let’s not forget that.

  10. He’ll be back.

    Atleast he’s got the TTC to prove himself, if (and its a big if) he can get that back on track. The ball is definately in his court for the next time the top seat opens up. It all depends on what he does with it until then. Maybe its as simple as, fix TTC and people would have a reason to vote you in. Or, maybe Adam needs to sit down with Brian Burke and Brian Colangelo and get some tips on making blockbuster deals to save the TTC.

  11. He probably did the right thing, for the wrong reason though. It is his incompetence (as demonstrated by the organizational mess called TTC) that should bury his mayoral ambition, not his personal life.

  12. While it’s uphill to fight an incumbent, ultimately as James points out, it’s up to Ward 18.
    This could be seen as a reason for a shorter term for our Councillors – 3 or back even to 2-year terms lets in a lot more opportunity for “shift” change.
    We may well miss Giambrone’s advocacy for the TTC, as imperfect as both the TTC and Mr. Giambrone’s record as Chair may be – it’s not nearly as simple as what some other candidates prescribe.
    In the absence of more investigative journalism, I’m curious if any links might ever emerge between one of these women and other candidates. Politics can be very nasty.
    And given what’s been happening in Belleville, and in contrast to another example of Navigator’s clients, no one was physically harmed – and let’s hope some (more) women comment on all of this.

  13. Toronto needs a Mike Bloomberg. His archetype is the only kind, short of a dictatorial and borderline-shady Daley, that can properly run a big city. I like Giambrone’s transit advocacy but would never have voted him for mayor. Now he may drag down Transit City with him…

    Vote for Mike, if you can find one.

  14. @hamish wilson

    He’s not all that popular in his ward, either. If you’ve seen the construction projects that have been unnecessarily disruptive and his dismissing of any complaints, you’d see why. He’s become notorious to local community groups for ignoring any criticism at all. He focused completely on the TTC and ignored his ward.

    Personally, I didn’t like them because he did what many left wing politicians continuously do, which is expand and build out while the stuff that’s already there is creaking by. The city has a $300-400million deficit and they’re not cutting costs at all. This is both him and miller being more concerned with a legacy than making things work. I think Giambrone probably saw the Mayor’s seat as an ultimate springboard to even higher office.

    If he decides to run in his ward again, it’ll be an interesting election.

  15. Hopefully, with this individual out of the way as a mayoral candidate, there is room to float a credible left or left of centre candidate, whether from Council or outside. Among those on the current Council, I don’t see anyone more capable of making a credible bid than Shelley Carroll. As for Councillor Pantalone, he has a record… but I don’t think he’s endeared himself to enough people. Councillor Giambrone’s record as TTC Chair and Councillor simply did not warrant the level of support he had garnered for his mayoral bid. No doubt, many were hoping that the image being crafted would be enough to overcome the lack of substance/competence/integrity. If that was the case, I think that shows poor judgement on the part of his supporters. Despite what some might think, I would take no comfort in seeing Smitherman or Rossi becoming mayor (at least in terms what I understand their platforms to be). With the tremendous amount of energy now un-coupled from Councillor Giambrone’s stalled bid, here’s hoping that some credible, high profile types take the plunge.

  16. Biggest laugh of the day…

    iSkyscraper calls Chicago mayor Richard Daley “borderline shady”. That’s like calling Adam Giambrone a borderline trainwreck.

  17. @Christopher

    He may not be as popular but he won last time by 44% (took 67% of the total vote), that’s plenty of room to spare.

    If the people in his ward were truly dissatisfied, there would’ve been more than 30 people protesting at his kickoff.

  18. Ken Wood > You don’t have a clue what you are talking about. I am involved in many ward 18 initiatives from Railpath to the community naming project and Adam has supported and in some cases played a major role in making things happen. There are some people who don’t like choices he made but leaders cant please everybody and often the loudest complainers are the fewest in number. Adam will have no trouble getting reelected in the ward. Lets wait and see how many votes YOU get.

  19. @James

    Did you see his kickoff? it was all 20-somethings. They’re not going to win your election (though they’ll help). The homeowners that have trouble getting home because a lane is ripped up for 7 blocks for 6 months will. And most regular voters don’t protest, except at the polls.

    Yesterday I went through his ward on the streetcar and traffic was blocked for a film crew during rush hour, stopping the streetcars as well. He’s supposed to be keeping an eye on these things. What I was saying is that his popularity took a rather hard hit especially since he started to ignore his ward after becoming TTC chair, a position that recent news events doesn’t shine nicely on him either.

    Before all this scandal stuff, he probably could have hung on to his ward if he wasn’t running for mayor and if there was no other credible candidate (such is municipal politics).

    Maybe I’m wrong. I’m curious to see if he’ll even run in his ward again. The next election will probably see a shift rightward and he’s not going to keep his TTC chairmanship even if he does win.

  20. Christopher > Its the same 30 people who protest every single thing Adam says or does and a majority they do not make. I heard the same whining the last election and somehow through magic Adam was reelected.I have never said he was perfect as opposed to your gross exaggerations of “He’s not all that popular in his ward, either.”Sure he is that’s why gets reelected.Why dont you or one of the samg club run and test your ideas in the public marketplace. It would be a nice break from your broken record rants.

  21. Christopher: I’m not taking sides in this discussion but since I was at the launch I can tell you it was not full of 20-somethings. Yes there was a good showing of that demographic, but not out of the ordinary. But most of the volunteers were young.

    It was similar to most any gathering of lefty campaign events: looks of different colours and ages. There were more big-shot politicos in that room than I’d seen outside of city hall in some time. Granted, I’ve been hibernating a lot this winter.

  22. @scottd
    Maybe I’m wrong (I alluded to that), but you’re obviously biased and your insults are immature. :-/ We’ll never be able to see who is right because recent events will obviously skew the results if he decides to run again. 😛

    I agree with your point on the protesters; that’s the same anywhere. I see the same guy holding the big CAW flag at anti-poverty protests to anti-prorogue or anti-globalization rallies. The converse is true with right wing protesters.

    Personally I think this whole mess of the TTC, city budget, etc is a shame. I support bike lanes, walkability, and transit, but see unions and overspending as bad for long term progress. I have no idea who to vote for.

    The kids stole the show though, so they’re whom I, and everybody else, noticed.

  23. What a repugnant character.

    Many commentators elsewhere are going on about how he is “not even married” and how “puritanical” it is to condemn him for this. However, I’m with Don Corleone on this thread — especially if you stop and think for a moment about other possible “personal” actions a person might take. For example, it’s none of my business if someone enjoys cock fighting or fox hunting, but if they did and wanted to represent me as a politician, you bet I would have an opinion about it, as it reveals a lack of morals and self-control. If someone treats their partner, wife, husband, children, or parents with disregard, it does not inspire confidence in how they will think of my interests, a mere faceless voter.

    Giambrone has blown it, big time, over something so preventable. Time for him to resign as TTC Chair as well.

  24. iSkyscraper, we might have had our own ‘ Bloomberg’, in John Tory. He was smart enough to realize that without a true strong Mayor system, his ability to enact change was limited.

  25. Hamish: you have your wish, a woman is commenting on this.

    I was intensely annoyed at Giambrone’s use of Sarah McQuarrie as an obvious, arm-candy prop. She was wearing a “politician’s wife” dress and pearls, for crying out loud! Royson James in the Star today also commented on this.

    This guy is transparently, cravenly ambitious, putting his own glory and desires ahead of everything else.

    And here I was thinking that we live in a society where women are more than just semiotic signifiers of “capable, trustworthy politician.”

    Speaking of female (wannabe) politicians, can we see more Spacing articles on Sarah Thompson? At least she’s accomplished something constructive in her life so far…

  26. This afternoon, John Tory reported on his radio show that the reason Giambrone didn’t finish his speech is because he didn’t have the second page of it with him on the podium.

    If this is true, it seems to me that the tip had to have come in to Tory from someone on the Giambrone team, because…well, who else would know, right?

    So here’s my question: why in the world would Giambrone reveal this information? All it does is make the hard-working people who work for him look foolish. It does nothing whatsoever to make the situation better.

    This whole thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

  27. @Aaron…Giambrone can’t say the words “I’m dropping out of the race” without page 2 of his speech? I think we dodged a huge bullet, in that case. We almost had a George W on our hands.

  28. @Crimson Cass

    The problem with Sarah Thomson isn’t that she’s a women, it’s the she doesn’t have any idea what she’s talking about.

    I attended the Eglinton LRT open house a week ago and her plan was to convert the LRT into a subway by (and I’m obviously paraphrasing here), “Working together as politicians and as community members we can make it happen.”…um, Hello, where are you going to get the billions of dollars needed to do this? There was no mention of money, engineering, or feasibility. Just hope.

    I wish Shelley Carroll was running.

  29. “@Aaron…Giambrone can’t say the words “I’m dropping out of the race” without page 2 of his speech? I think we dodged a huge bullet, in that case. We almost had a George W on our hands.”


    Well, better that than having a R. Budd Dwyer on our hands…

  30. Giambrone still has his supporters but there are more than the 30 people from his ward protesting his mayoral announcement who are upset with him. Most people who are upset with him, such as myself, don’t have time or interest in going to these demonstrations. The fact that anyone was at his announcement protesting was I think a first in Toronto politics. As much people want to give him a free pass on this whole episode, it highlights a level of deceitfullness and manipulation that give credibility to those who say he does not act in a fair and transparent manner as a councillor. Personally, I think he may yet be able to hold on to his Council seat because you have people who will support him no matter what he does. But he’s not a good Councillor no matter how much rahrahing people want to do for him — and neither was Racco.

  31. James,

    Thanks for the news on Sarah Thomson – I depend on media outlets like Spacing and the established newspapers for this kind of info; I guess what I’m saying, is that I would like more of an examination of all of the candidates, not just the ones that everyone is talking about. Like a lot of people, I’m busy with work and other commitments, and though I have an ideal of actually attending every candidate’s major events, it’s just not practical. That’s why we have journalists in a democracy, when the job is done well, it’s a real public service.

    Btw, I’d already concluded that Thomson was a bit nutty, by a job posting that the Women’s Post had on Craigslist a few years ago … it was more of a rant about the person that they’d just fired than an actual job posting. I didn’t apply.

    Is Enza Supermodel running for mayor again? She’d have my vote, given the current state of the candidates ….

  32. I certainly agree that this was the best move he could have made in the circumstances.

    His career at this point is in the hands of Ward 18. I certainly live nowhere near there, so I leave it in their hands to see if they are willing to trust him based on these events and on his record. If they cannot, then so be it.

  33. @Adam: that was way out of line. You should be ashamed of yourself for even mentioning it.

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