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Rob Ford refuses to comment on latest allegations in drug scandal


 

TORONTO – Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford refused to comment on new allegations Thursday that he claimed to know the location of an alleged video that appears to show him smoking crack cocaine.

In a story based on unidentified sources, the Toronto Star alleges Ford told senior aides not to worry about the video because he knew where it was.

Ford has said publicly that he does not smoke crack cocaine and the video does not exist.

The mayor pushed his way through a crush of media Thursday, refusing to address the latest allegations.

As reporters attempted to get him to respond, Ford only said “move!” as he elbowed his way into his city hall office.

The Toronto Star said sources told it that after Ford said he knew where the video was, he told the senior aides at the city hall meeting the address of two 17th-floor units at a west-end apartment complex, citing “our contacts” as the source of his information.

The newspaper said the sources told it that staffers were alarmed by the implication of hearing so precise a location.

The Star says its report is based on accounts given by those privy to what was discussed the day after the Star and the U.S. website Gawker published news of the alleged crack cocaine video shot on a cellphone.

Neither of the original reports about the video has been independently verified and the Star itself has said it could not vouch for its authenticity.

The Star said it sent emails outlining allegations in its latest report, complete with a series of questions, to all people named in its story. It said at its press time, none had responded to requests for interviews.

Ford’s brother, Coun. Doug Ford, questioned the credibility of the sources in the Star report and blamed the latest allegations on a “disgruntled” former city employee. The mayor parted ways with three staff members in the last two weeks, including his chief of staff.

“If they’re so reliable, they’re so credible, why don’t you come out, why don’t you stand there in front of the cameras like I do every single day and explain this?” Doug Ford said.

“In my opinion, we have a disgruntled employee, ex-employee I should say, that obviously is upset that’s thrown these false accusations out.”

He also said the mayor was determined to remain in office despite calls for him to resign.

“How long can he handle the scrutiny? All the way to the next election — October 2014.”

But the controversy has upset many city councillors who say the crack video scandal has disrupted business at city hall.

Coun. James Pasternak expressed dismay Thursday at how Ford has refused to address the allegations in a substantive fashion.

“We’re looking for unequivocal statements from the mayor,” Pasternak said.

“The ducking and weaving and waffling just won’t work around here.”

Pasternak said the circus that has surrounded Ford since the allegations first broke two weeks ago are a damaging distraction.

“We need a full-time mayor who is focused on city building,” Pasternak said. “It’s damaging to the city (and) the longer it lasts, the more destructive it becomes.”

Meanwhile, Toronto police say a second arrest has been made in the killing of a Toronto man believed to be seen with Ford in a photo linked to the crack video scandal.

Police say a 23-year-old Hanad Mohamed was arrested last week in Fort McMurray, Alta., in connection with the death of Anthony Smith. Mohamed is being returned to Toronto and will appear in court Friday.

He is the second man charged with first-degree murder in the killing. Nisar Hashimi, 23, was arrested in April in connection with the death of Smith.

When asked about the photo on his weekly radio show Sunday, Ford said he takes pictures with many people and doesn’t know them all.


 
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