Ford was being interviewed last week on VisionTV and described a confrontation between himself and Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale near Ford's home.
Ford told the interviewer he was alerted to a man reaching over his fence and taking pictures of his children. He then confronted the person, who turned out to be Dale.
"Daniel Dale is in my back yard taking pictures. I have little kids. He's taking pictures of little kids. I don't want to say that word but you start thinking what this guy is all about," Ford said during the interview.
Speaking to the City Council Tuesday, Ford denied his unsaid word was "pedophile" -- and criticized media outlets for ascribing the sentiment to him.
He did not clarify what he meant to imply by the remark.
"I did not mean to insinuate anything about Mr. Dale personally in my interview with [VisionTV]," Ford said. "I certainly did not intend to suggest that he is a pedophile. I was merely commenting on the thoughts that went through my mind [at the time]."
Ford said he had trusted his neighbor, who called to alert him to Dale's presence. The neighbor, Ford said, was the person who said Dale was taking pictures over the fence but the mayor admitted he did not personally see it happen.
The Star said Dale was in the area investigating a lead concerning the property behind Ford's home and was not in the area to snoop or photograph Ford's family.
Dale filed court documents threatening a libel suit against Ford and the television network if Ford failed to publicly retract his comment, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., reported. It wasn't clear whether Ford's comments to the council qualified.
Ford has been at the center of a controversy for weeks after admitting to crack cocaine use and the purchase of illegal drugs. Ford denied the reports for months until police said they had obtained a copy of a video showing him smoking crack. Ford has thus far resisted near-unanimous calls from city leaders to resign and has engaged in numerous public spats with lawmakers and reporters.