Toronto mayor verified existence of crack-smoking video to staff weeks ago
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reportedly verified the existence of a video showing him smoking crack cocaine to aides in a May 17 meeting in his office. According to the Toronto Star, Ford even gave the exact address of the person he believed to be in possession of the video.
In the meeting, Ford supposedly told his staff not to worry about the video, that his “contacts” had alerted him to its existence and that he knew where it was and who had it.
The Star said, “Ford then blurted out the address of two 17th-floor units — 1701 and 1703 — at a Dixon Rd. apartment complex, to the shock of staffers.”
The meeting took place on May 17. On Friday, May 25, Ford held a news conference in which he denied the video’s existence and said that he does not use drugs.
“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist,” he insisted to reporters.
The Star sent letters to everyone believed to be present at the May 17 meeting, including now former chief of staff Mark Towhey and former press secretary George Christopoulos. Ford’s acting chief of staff is former deputy chief Earl Provost.
The letters, delivered via email, asked the staffers how Ford could have known the apartment numbers of the person holding the video, as well as other questions about the scandal. So far, none of the addresses have responded.
Also on May 17, Ford’s operations and logistics manager David Price reportedly approached Towhey asking what plans were in place should the video be made public. Price also speculated that the murder of Anthony Smith may have been related to the video.
On Friday, May 18, Towhey went to Toronto Police with his concerns, said the Star. Police assigned two detectives to interview Towhey and carry out a full investigation of the matter.
Ford fired Towhey last week when the staffer urged the mayor to get help with his drug problem.
Editors from The Star and from Gawker.com claim to have seen the video, in which a red-faced and disheveled Ford is reportedly shown smoking crack and making remarks that have been described as racist and homophobic. Gawker has raised more than $200,000 through its “Crackstarter” campaign in hopes of purchasing the video and making it public.
[image of Mayor Rob Ford via Shutterstock.com]