In the latest development at Toronto City Hall, Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff Mark Towhey has been fired.

As he was being escorted out of city hall by security on Thursday afternoon, Towhey told reporters, “I am no longer the chief of staff. I did not resign.”

Towhey, who has held the position since August 2012, didn’t say why he lost his job but said it followed discussions earlier in the day with the mayor.

Ford issued a statement thanking Towhey for his “valuable contributions” but didn’t provide a reason for his dismissal which was effective immediately. Deputy chief of staff Earl Provost is now acting chief of staff.

The firing comes amid reports of a video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine. CityNews hasn’t viewed the video and cannot verify its authenticity.

Towhey said the decision didn’t come as a surprise to him and declined to say what advice he may have offered the mayor on the controversy.

“My advice to the mayor is confidential,” Towhey said.

Ford has remained mum on the matter other than saying last Friday it’s “absolutely not true…it’s ridiculous.”

However, his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, defended the mayor on Wednesday, saying, “Rob is telling me these stories are untrue, that these accusations are ridiculous and I believe him.”

Some like political consultant Warren Kinsella were shocked by the departure of Towhey who is considered “the brains of the operation.”

“To let him go in the middle when things couldn’t be darker  I think is astonishing,” he told CityNews.

Statement released by the mayor’s office

Effective immediately, Mark Towhey is no longer working in the Office of the Mayor.
 
Mr. Towhey has been a intricate part of the Mayor’s Office and has made many valuable contributions.  
 
The Mayor thanks Mr. Towhey for his valuable service and wishes him the very best in his future endeavours.
 
Earl Provost, Deputy Chief of Staff, will assume the role of Acting Chief of Staff until further notice. 

With files from The Canadian Press