Rob Ford’s latest scandal: Meeting with a neo-Nazi

0726fordAnother day, another controversy surrounding Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

When Ford is not defending his new, extravagant Cadillac Escalade or getting kissed in the entertainment district, he's watching the price of a Welcome to Toronto T-shirt depicting him giving the finger while talking on the phone go through the roof on eBay.

And don't even start on his tussle with a streetcar driver or slipping off the scale during a media weigh-in. It's enough to make Torontonians long for the days of Mel Lastman.

Today he's taking heat for a photo taken at the 2012 New Year's Levee at Toronto City Hall with a white supremacist. The photo, which appeared on a blog called Anti-Racist Canada, shows Ford proudly smiling in his chain of office shaking hands with Jon Latvis, dressed in a military uniform.

Latvis posted the photo to his Facebook profile with the caption "Me meeting Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford to get an endorsement for the Latvian Homeguard - at Toronto City Hall."

Latvis was a former member of the neo-Nazi band RAHOWA (Racial Holy War).

Ford's press secretary, George Christopoulos, was quick to dismiss the photo according to the Toronto Sun.

"The mayor of Toronto meets and poses for photos with thousands of residents each year," Christopoulos said. "Over the past two years, he has hosted two New Year's levees. Both of these events welcomed thousands of visitors to City Hall. Many of those visitors were greeted and posed for a picture with the mayor."

Fair enough. However, Ford also met with Latvis in March to discuss "transit issues."

"During both the levee and the March meeting, the gentleman identified himself using a name different from the one attributed to him in the recent blog article," a statement from the mayor's office read. "Once the photograph was posted online today, mayor's office staff recognized the individual as someone who had met with the mayor at the levee and again in March."

Getting photographed next to a questionable character during public functions isn't unusual. It happened to former mayor David Miller, who was snapped with Daniel Katsnelson, who was found guilty in 2010 of two counts of sexual assault. And, of course, Mayor Mel was once photographed with various Hells Angels when they were in Toronto celebrating the gang's one-year anniversary in Toronto.

But to have a follow-up meeting with a guy who was wearing a Nazi-like uniform during a New Year's photo opp is something that should have gone through some level of pre-screening before it happened.

"I can confirm (Ford) did not endorse the Latvian Homeguard," Christopoulos said.

Well, thank goodness for that, at least.

(Facebook photo)