Before he denied the existence of a cellphone video of him allegedly smoking crack cocaine, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told his senior aides at a meeting in City Hall nearly two weeks ago that he knew such a video had been shot, the Toronto Star reported Thursday. The mayor also reportedly told the staffers not to worry about the video, as he knew the exact location of the tape.
The “unusual” meeting reportedly happened May 17, a day after the Star and Gawker broke the story that a video supposedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine was for sale.
The Toronto Star:
Around the table at city hall on May 17 were operations and logistics director David Price, then deputy chief of staff Earl Provost, press secretary George Christopoulos and others. Missing from the meeting was Mark Towhey, then Ford’s chief of staff. Also not in attendance was communications special assistant Isaac Ransom.
Towhey was fired last Thursday after counselling Ford to seek help for his health. Christopoulos and Ransom resigned “on principle” Monday, and Provost is now chief of staff.
The Star sent emails outlining the allegations, complete with a series of questions, to all people named in this report. As of press time, none had responded to requests for interviews.
Ford has since called reports of the video “false” and insisted he does not smoke crack cocaine. “As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist,” he said after the reports surfaced.
However, according to the Star, two of its reporters, along with an editor from Gawker, have seen the video that Ford claims does not exist.
“The Star journalists described a video showing a rambling and incoherent Ford smoking what appears to be a crack pipe and making homophobic and racially charged statements,” the news organization reported. “The Star reporters were shown the video by a man who said it was shot on an iPhone.”
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.