Toronto mayor Rob Ford is still in office as of Tuesday morning despite allegations he smoked crack cocaine. But his office is losing employees at an alarming rate and Gawker is poised to buy this crack video as soon as they can get their hands on it. But, more importantly, at least the police might know where the crack video is.
The Toronto Star has a blockbuster story on how the mayor's office reacted the morning Gawker and the Star unveiled the crack smoking allegations against mayor Ford. The mayor told his top staff members the video never existed, but director of operations and logistics David Price went to then-chief of staff Mark Towhey and asked for advice because, just maybe, he knew where the crack smoking video is. And maybe, if he knows where the video is, what they should do about it:
Price contacted Towhey late on May 17 and asked “hypothetically” what if someone had told him where the video was. “What would we do?” Towhey was asked. ...
Towhey, a former military man and the most experienced official in Ford’s office, was alarmed at Price’s comments. Price went further and said, “What if a source has told me where the video might be found?”
Towhey's advice for Price was simple: go to the police. Price then allegedly disclosed Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old killed in front a Toronto night club in March, may have been killed because of the video. Smith was the only face not blurred out in the picture of the mayor given to Gawker and the Star by the men selling the video. One of the other men in the pictures is Muhammad Khattak, a 19-year-old who was shot in the arm and back in the same drive-by that killed Smith, the Star revealed Monday morning. He has since gone into hiding since the crack allegations came out. Towhey allegedly told Price "We’re not getting the f---ing thing!" because he was worried someone might be killed for it. This is the same video Ford told the press doesn't exist.
Towhey called the police himself and went in to give a sworn statement about the video. Price gave Towhey the details he knew about the apartment before his interview with police. This all corresponds with the Globe and Mail's report yesterday relaying the conversation between Towhey and the police. It's never established how Price knew where the video might be. Price's role in the mayor's office has never been clearly defined. No one knows what he does, exactly. The Globe and Mail linked him as a former hash dealing associate of the mayor's brother, Toronto city councillor Doug Ford.
So Gawker and the Toronto Star drop their stories about the crack video on May 16. Price told Towhey the video was being kept in an apartment building on "floor (17th) of a building in Rexdale," a community in the Toronto suburb Etobicoke where the mayor lives. On May 21, a man was shot in the leg around 4 a.m. on the 17th floor of a Rexdale apartment building.
Towhey quickly found himself on the outside of the mayor's inner circle after going to the police. He was fired last week as the mayor's chief of staff for allegedly asking the mayor to get help with an addiction, according to multiple reports. He was walked out of the building by security.
And then yesterday the mayor's office plunged into further turmoil after it was announced the mayor's press aides, George Christopoulos and Isaac Ransom, both resigned around lunch time. We now know they didn't even wait to say goodbye. Per the Globe and Mail:
Mr. Christopoulos and Mr. Ransom had been seen by reporters in the glass-walled “fishbowl” area that contains the offices of Mr. Ford’s staff. But at about noon, they informed the mayor by phone that they were leaving, sources in the mayor’s office said. Mr. Ford asked them to wait until he got to the office, a source said, but the two left their letters of resignation on his desk instead. About two hours later, Mr. Ford was seen visiting the staff offices accompanied by the head of security and the city manager, but both men were gone.
They saved themselves the shame of being escorted out by the mayor and his security guards. The mayor would go on to say they were pursuing new things and that he wished them "best of luck in their future endeavours."
So the mayor's office is in complete disarray while the video showing the mayor allegedly smoking crack cocaine is still out there. It's somewhere and everyone is looking for it, maybe even the police. They may already know where it is. They my have been to the apartment where it was being held. But the men haven't been seen in weeks. Gawker reached its $200,000 goal in the "crackstarter" campaign Monday afternoon, so we know they're doggedly in pursuit of the guys selling the video. The Star reports the sellers are "laying low," according to the middle man brokering the sale. We asked Gawker editor John Cook if he succeeded in contacting the sellers since the campaign reached its goal. "Not yet," he said.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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