The world may never see the infamous video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (allegedly!) smoking crack, but hope remains, and so the desire to investigate every facet of this crack-riddled mystery has not stopped. Canadian journalists and Gawker have now pinpointed the location of the house in a photo that's supposedly proof of Ford smoking crack, associating himself with drug users, and standing next to dead man.
It all comes down to a garage door — yes, there are kittens, and now it has an address:
Two kittens playing in the driveway of 15 Windsor. Star & Globe report this is where Ford & Smith photo taken. twitter.com/KatieSimpson24…— Katie Simpson (@KatieSimpson24) June 6, 2013
As the Toronto Star's team of journalists report, the house was not involved in the video, per se. Of a more notorious photo of the garage door (still with kitten) alongside "It was provided to the Star by a man who later showed the video to two Star reporters." And Gawker's John Cook adds, "We also believe that the photo... was taken on the same night Ford was recorded smoking crack cocaine."
Cook has an in-depth photo analysis of the house, but the photograph of the garage door that matters — the image of Ford standing with two people who may or not be drug dealers, or linked to dealers — now largely hingest on who else is in the picture and where it came from. One of those other is the late Anthony Smith, who was shot and killed in March outside a Toronto nightclub. Smith may have also had knowledge of the (alleged!) Ford video. Police have said Smith's death was a drunken random shooting, though a Ford staffer told police last month that someone may have been killed because of the video. And it sounds to a lot of people still raising questions like the staffer was talking about Smith.
Knowing the location of the garage-door photo doesn't exactly solve Smith's death, nor did it turn up a video that may be missing or in the hands of the Mounties. Actually, the pinpointing brings up a host of new questions about who Ford knew and why.
How Well Did Ford Know the Homeowners?
"We are told the house belongs to an old friend of Ford's—actually, to the old friend's mother—and that he has been going there to hang out for years," reads Cook's report at Gawker. More specifically, it belongs to a woman named Lina Basso. And her three grownup children seem to live there, too. The Toronto Star reports:
Residents of the house on Windsor Rd. include Mario Basso, 40; Fabio Basso, 45; and Elena Basso, 51. The house is owned by their mother, Lina, who also lives at the home. Their father, a retired bricklayer, passed away in 2009.
And they are fervent Rob Ford fans:
"Rob Ford’s the greatest mayor ever. You guys are scavengers," Elena said in a brief encounter with the Toronto Star. "You come back to my house, I’ll call the police."
Fabio refused to come to the door.
How Close Was the House to Where the Video Was Stashed?
Last week came the story of a staff meeting, at which Ford allegedly told advisers not to worry about the video, of which he has denied the existence, and that he knew the exact address of where it was being kept, at 320 Dixon Road in Toronto — a shady apartment complex with more strange characters. Well, the house where the Basso family live is actually right around the corner from that Dixon Road complex (right). Proximity certainly doesn't prove anything, but apparently neighbors there didn't really like that people from the apartment complex would end up on Windsor road. "In 2011, city council approved the construction of a chain-link fence, which has since been erected, to block young adults from using Windsor Road as a thoroughfare," The Globe and Mail reports today.
Was It a Crackhouse?
Even though there was a fence erected, that didn't seem to stop people from congregating on Windsor, at the House of Basso. "On Windsor Rd., four neighbours from different houses told the Star that they have for years had concerns of drug activity at number 15," the Star reports, adding: "They say the house seems to be the centre for drug activity spilling over from the nearby apartments and that young men have been seen coming and going from the house."
Was the Family's Home Raided?
The Globe and Mail adds that neighbors claim there's constant police activity at the house, which seems to have culminated in a home invasion on May 21 — four days after Gawker announced they were going to start a fundraising campaign to raise $200,000 for the video. The paper's team writes:
A source with Toronto police said there was an armed home invasion at the house that evening at 11 pm.
A husband and wife in a neighbouring home said they heard shouting that evening. "Help me, help me, help me," the wife heard from the bungalow, a plea that was followed by "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God."
And What About Those Cats?
Cook notes: "I neglected to mention the portion of Eifling's report where he noted that 'there were a shitload of cats there. Hanging around the garage, visible on the windowsill in the living room.'" Animal hoarding is, obviously, neither here nor there. But when animal hoarding is the least bizarre part of this investigation, that might tell you we're dealing with something off the charts — or just dealing with Rob Ford.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.