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Ford apologizes to reporter, retracts claims

Ford apologizes to reporter, retracts claimsToronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks in Toronto on Tuesday December 10 2013. In a statement released on Wednesday night, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has retracted statements he made about Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has issued another apology and retracted comments he made about Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale in a televised interview.

“I wholly retract my statements and apologize to Mr. Dale without reservation for what I said,” Ford said in a statement Wednesday night.

Dale said he accepts Ford’s apology, which he demanded last week in a libel notice that called on Ford to retract statements that the reporter said amounted to accusing him of pedophilia.

The notice also called for the mayor to issue an “unreserved, abject, complete apology” of all false claims about what happened during an incident near Ford’s house in May 2012.

“I won’t be taking legal action against the mayor, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work,” Dale said on Twitter.

“I sincerely appreciate Mayor Ford’s complete retraction and unqualified apology, and I’m very glad the truth is no longer in dispute,” Dale tweeted.

During the interview with Conrad Black on VisionTV on Dec. 9, Ford claimed that Dale was in his backyard, “taking pictures of little kids.”

“I am unaware of any pictures Mr. Dale took with his phone of land near my property, and therefore I apologize to Mr. Dale if the words I spoke to Mr. Black left the impression that Mr. Dale had taken pictures of my backyard,” Ford said in his apology.

“Accordingly, I once again apologize to Mr. Dale for the imprecise and inaccurate manner in which I described the events which followed our encounter in May 2012.”

In the interview with Black, Ford also said he caught Dale standing on cinderblocks taking pictures over his fence.

“This recollection of the incident is inaccurate in that I never saw Mr. Dale standing on bricks or cinderblocks, never saw Mr. Dale looking over my fence and never saw Mr. Dale taking any pictures,” Ford’s statement said.

“There was no basis for saying as I did on Dec. 17 and in the past that Mr. Dale was ’lurking’ or ’leering’ near or over my fence or behaving surreptitiously,” Ford said in reference to an apology he made Tuesday in Toronto city council.

Dale had said Ford's first apology on Tuesday didn't even come close to what he sought as it ``blamed the media for its reasonable interpretation of his (Ford's) words.''

The reporter has said he was writing a story about a plot of public land adjacent to Ford’s house that the mayor wanted to buy, so he went to take a look when the mayor emerged from his home to confront him. Dale has said that at no time was he on the mayor’s property nor did he take any pictures.

Dale also decided late Wednesday to drop any legal action against ZoomerMedia after it issued an apology for the interview conducted by Black.

ZoomerMedia said in a statement that it “sincerely regrets“ the part it played in “broadcasting the offending words spoken by Mr. Ford and apologize for that.“

“We can confirm that those words will never again be broadcast on any of our television outlets or websites,” the statement added.

Dale wrote on Twitter that he appreciates Zoomer’s statement and won‘t be taking legal action, adding that it is “hard to understand how the mayor’s comments made it to air.“

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