Update, 4:51 p.m.: Gawker crossed the $200,000 plateau for its "crackstarter" campaign to buy the tape within the last hour. Rob Ford briefly spoke Monday afternoon to apologize for calling reporters "maggots" on his Sunday afternoon radio show and to announce the departures of Christopoulos and Ransom. He refused to answer questions about why three people in his office have quit in the week since the crack scandal erupted.
Update, 2:57 p.m.: Mayor Ford's entire communications staff resigned Monday. The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale and the Globe and Mail's Elizabeth Church and Jill Mahoney reported the mayor's press aides, George Christopoulos and Isaac Ransom, both resigned around lunch time. The mayor confirmed their departures in a statement to the press. The CBC's Jamie Strashin reports they resigned "on principle." The Mayor's chief of staff Mark Towhey was fired last week. Despite not having a communications staff, the mayor is expected to speak with reporters shortly.
Original: The video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford smoking crack doesn't exist, according to the mayor, but that didn't stop one of his staff members from meeting with homicide police detectives this week to discuss the tape, and where it might possibly be located, and how it might be connected to a murder.
The Globe and Mail reports Monday morning that a senior staffer in the mayor's office met with police earlier this week to discuss the alleged crack tape and how it might relate to a homicide investigation. This is what the staff member allegedly knows:
The informant in the mayor’s office purported to know the address and unit number where the video was being held.
They went on to say that the video originally belonged to an individual who may have been killed for its potentially valuable contents, according to a source.
When Gawker and the Toronto Star reported the video showing Ford smoking crack, they included a picture of the mayor standing with Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old killed in front a Toronto night club in March. The implication here is the guys who have the video now, who are allegedly Somali drug dealers, may have killed Anthony Smith, or paid someone to do it for them, so they could sell the crack video to the highest bidder.
But that's not all. Toronto Staff Inspector Greg McLane told with CP24's Katie Simpson the interview with mayor's staff member was not about a homicide investigation. "McLane tells me the reason homicide investigators conducted the interview, is they have expertise other officers may not have," Simpson reports. The officer would only say the interview was about an "ongoing investigation in the media," without elaborating further. The implication here is that the Toronto police may be investigating the existence of the tape, or the Somali drug operation in general. Remember: Gawker's John Cook reported these guys sell cocaine (rock and powder) to "a lot of prominent people in Toronto," and that is usually something the police would be interested in.
That's all the bad news in the world of mayor Ford. The good news? At least his poll numbers can't get any worse. He would still be soundly defeated by his biggest competition if there was an election held today.
So someone in the mayor's office knows where the video is. Or, at least, they think they do. It's hard to know where a video is when that video doesn't exist. And his boss, mayor Ford, said the video doesn't exist yesterday during his weekly radio show. But the guys who are selling the video have gone underground and no one has heard from them in over a week. And Gawker's "Crackstarter" campaign to crowdfund the video is now 17 hours away from finishing and $15,000 dollars short of its goal. This whole thing is coming down the wire but, with new information coming out every day, we suspect this will wrap up sooner than later.
Ford also called the media "a bunch of maggots" on his radio show yesterday, though he didn't offer an opinion on snitching staff members. His brother, city councillor Doug Ford, also denied being a hashish dealer in the 1980s. These Ford brothers refuse to go up in smoke.
(Correction: This originally said Ford was polling favorably in the mayoral race. In fact, the poll shows him losing, but the crack story hasn't affected his position at all.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.