Rob Ford roundup: What the mayor knows about the video and a new arrest

Someone is leaking information to the press


Chris Young/CP

As the scandal involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and an alleged video of him smoking crack cocaine nears the end of its second week, details remain unconfirmed. However, one thing is clear: someone very close to the mayor is leaking information to the press.

A Thursday morning story from the Toronto Star quotes anonymous sources close to the mayor who say that not only did Ford staffer David Price know where the alleged video was being held (as was reported Tuesday by the Star) he got that information from Ford himself. According to sources, the Star reports that Ford called some of his key staff members into a meting on May 17 — the day after the story about the alleged drug video broke — to tell them “our contacts” had information that the video was being held by people connected to two units in a highrise apartment complex in west Toronto.

Thursday’s story, reported by Robert Benzie — who usually reports on provincial politics — and investigative reporter Kevin Donovan, raises the question of just who this source, or sources, might be. If it is someone in the mayor’s inner circle, there aren’t too many people to choose from and the pool is getting ever smaller. Perhaps a disgruntled former staffer? Press secretary George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom resigned on Monday, following former chief of staff Mark Towhey, who was fired the week before. Political observer Mark Sholdice speculates:

Meanwhile, The Globe and Mail follows the crime angle of the story, writing that there has been an arrest in the case of a murdered man who was shown in a photo with Ford. Hanad Mohamed, 23, of Toronto, has been arrested as part of the investigation into the death of Anthony Smith, reports the Globe. A man who appears to be Smith stands with his arm around Ford in a photo provided to the Toronto Star by the same men who showed two reporters the alleged video of a man who appears to be the mayor smoking from a glass pipe and making homophobic statements. Nisar Hashimi, 23, was been charged with murder earlier, reports The Globe. Mohamed was arrested in Fort McMurray, Alta. on Friday and is expected to appear in a Toronto courtroom Thursday, says the report.

While we’re talking about Ford (because, who isn’t?) the Maclean’s cover story this week is also about the mayor. In the story, “Rob Ford: Unstoppable?”, Maclean’s writer Nicholas Köhler looks at Ford’s slow-motion implosion and whether this scandal will be the one that finally removes him from office. Köhler speaks to a source who tells Maclean’s that the stress of being mayor caused Ford to turn to substance abuse early on in his term, leading to his strange behaviour, including erratic hours at work and failure to listen to his staff. The issue in on newsstands today and the full story will be posted to Macleans.ca in coming days.

Some citizens are getting a bit tired of all the Ford family headlines and Global reports that a group is planning a weekend rally in Nathan Philips Square, outside city hall, to urge the mayor to resign. So far, about 1,000 people have said they will attend.

While it may be difficult for columnists to think of anything new to say about Ford at this point, The Grid columnist Edward Keenan manages to do it, by examining what he calls “The Dougie Problem.” That would be the relationship between Ford and his older brother, the quick-tempered Coun. Doug Ford.

His column follows one by The National Post‘s Chris Selley from a day earlier, which suggests that the provincial Progressive Conservatives would be wise to distance themselves from Doug Ford, “a man for whom life seems essentially to be performance art.” The city hall performance artist has also announced his intention to run as a PC candidate in the next provincial election.

If PC leader Tim Hudak needs some stats to back up Selley’s suggestion, the Toronto Star has those Thursday morning, too. A Forum Research survey shows 48 per cent of people think the controversy surrounding Rob and Doug Ford is harming the Ontario PCs.

One last thing: a rap song by Toronto artist Charron about Mayor Rob Ford and this scandal has more than 50,000 views on Youtube. Here’s the link if you haven’t heard it already.

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Rob Ford roundup: What the mayor knows about the video and a new arrest

  1. “Perhaps a disgruntled former staffer?”

    If you’d expand a bit on that you’d be verifying your excellent journalistic credentials.

    As opposed to the two clowns at the Toronto Star who appear to be catching the blogger disease John Cook acquired almost as soon as he inherited the editorship of that esteemed Pulitzer-prize winning, journalistic endeavour Gawker.

    Edit: 2 thumbs-down? You disagree the author has ‘excellent journalistic credentials’? What is wrong with her credentials?

    • I think you’re being thumbed-down for your portrayal of the 2 Toronto Star reporters, who actually have good reputations.

  2. “A man who appears to be Smith stands with his arm around [who appears to be] Ford in a photo provided to the Toronto Star by the same men who showed two reporters the alleged video of a man who appears according to the claims of the two and a half reporters appeared to be the mayor smoking from a glass pipe and making homophobic statements.”


    • “alleged” already implies your second big edit, but if it helps you to make this same point twice in the same sentence, by all means.

      • ‘appears’ in the present tense requires one to assume if the video exists, but is not successfully determined to be fake, then the mayor was smoking from a… etc.

        I will concede perhaps I’m making too fine a point to bother with. There are bigger issues to deal with in this whole Ford debacle.

  3. I think The Toronto Star may need to be a bit more cautious. They are running all these stories from anonymous sources, but even though some of them do turn out to be true and get confirmed, others remain unconfirmed and yet they keep piling up claim after claim from the source(s). From what I have seen they don’t retract the claims if they are denied (such as the claim that the mayor’s office was trying to have documents destroyed yesterday, a claim that was denied by city staff). That style of journalism would appear to be irresponsible, or at least lacking proper caution. Of course, in the end maybe they will be completely vindicated and their stories proven true. But if not, will they make a giant mea culpa, look themselves in the mirror, and decide they need to change? I really wonder.

    • At my last check, both the Star and the Globe and Mail have ‘closed comments’ on all Rob Ford ‘crack’ stories, the G&M apparently because of legal considerations. Although strange to say, they continue prattling on about Ford themselves.

      The media, left and right seem to give them a pass on these tales. They are all in a journalistic echo-chamber together.

      • Star and Globe don’t want nasty comments on their sites…someone may call them liars or insist they reveal their “secret sources”…personally, I don’t believe any thing they write which leads me to not believe what all other media are stating…they simply regurgitate what the Star and Globe claim.

    • they won’t change…they seem to be out to get Ford and I guess, it’s mission accomplished

  4. “…by the same men who showed two reporters the alleged video…”

    Excellent. Lesser journalists have fallen into the presupposition that because Cook, et al., say they were ‘drug dealers’, something they didn’t, to my knowledge, verify by best-practices investigation, that they were drug-dealers.

    • did the Star not initially call them “Somalian drug dealers”

  5. Regarding the still photo: if the video is composited, the photograph a fortiori should be suspect; it’s easier to fake a photo than a 1.5 minute video.

  6. Should Rob Ford be forced out?

    As a West Coaster, who has never voted Conservative at any level, I was surprised to learn Toronto ranked 6th in ‘global competitiveness’ this year, and 8th in liveability last year. The articles appeared, respectively, in those notorious Ford-sycophant outlets the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.

    I think the Torontonians who think Islamabad style democracy, or rocking the boat to remove the captain, is better than voting people out should keep that in mind. We Vancouverite acid-heads managed to excise Harper semi-clone Twisty Clark without replacing the party. I would have preferred an NDP victory, but not by bringing in matadors and picadors into the china shop.

  7. the mayor is inocent. get off his back. bunch of maggotts

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