Tyler Albrecht, whose appointment was part of the cronyism scandal that led to the resignation of Premier Doug Ford’s former chief of staff, released a statement on Twitter Friday about the “truth” of the job that was offered to him.
“Stories have constantly referred to me as a 26-year-old lacrosse player who received a patronage appointment from a close friend for a high-paying job. I’d like to set the record straight,” Albrecht wrote.
Albrecht was appointed as an agent general to New York during Ford’s cabinet shuffle on June 20. Albrecht was later revealed to be a lacrosse buddy of one of the sons of then-chief of staff Dean French.
Albrecht was to earn an annual salary of $164,910. At the time, critics questioned why Ford would appoint the young man to such a senior position.
In his statement, Albrecht wrote that he is proud of his numerous accomplishments, including earning a degree in finance from Loyola University and having a “prestigious” internship with a well-known Wall Street firm.
He also denies being a close personal friend of French or his son, saying he knew both of them from when he was playing high school sports as a teenager.
“French’s son also earned a U.S. sports scholarship in lacrosse … we follow each other on social media,” he said. “I am not distancing myself from the French Family. I do like them and am thankful Mr. French offered me an opportunity.”
Ford revoked Albrecht’s appointment on June 21, a day after it was announced The same day, he also accepted French’s resignation.
Albrecht also wrote that the “much had been made” of the compensation he was offered for the position. While he said it was an “attractive” pay for someone of his age, he added that competition for talent in the finance sector is “fierce and firms are willing to pay for the right people.”
“Several of my fellow graduates are earning that much and more,” said Albrecht in his statement.
Albrecht also apologized for the offensive posts he made to Facebook in 2012, when he was a teenager. The posts were scrubbed as his appointment was being announced, but screen-grabs captured them.
Ford’s office later denounced the postings made by Albrecht. “The comments made by Mr. Albrecht are hurtful and unacceptable, and have no place in public discourse,” Ivana Yelich, the premier’s press secretary, said at the time.
In his statement on Friday, Albrecht wrote that he was “embarrassed by the thoughtlessness of (his) 16-year-old self,” and said he apologizes for what he thought were — at the time — juvenile jokes and comments.
“Being labelled a homophobe was particularly difficult for me. I have two close relatives that are LGBTQ, and one of them lost his battle with mental health. I think of him often and am ashamed that my inconsiderate comments would have been hurtful to him,” wrote Albrecht.
Albrecht closed his statement by saying he is grateful to French for having the confidence to give him a chance, and that if he had been given the opportunity he would have delivered “value to the people of Ontario.”
Emma Sandri is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @emmarosesandri