Dec 05, 2013

By Jane Brown

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Mayor Rob Ford told a U.S. sports radio station this morning, there’s no truth to the latest allegations that he offered gang members $5000 and a car for the infamous crack video.  Wiretaps released by the courts reveal a conversation where a gang member says what Rob Ford offered wasn’t enough and he was going to ask Ford for $150,000.  Ford laughed off the allegations with the morning show hosts on WJFK FM in Washington DC.  “Number one, that’s an outright lie.  And number two, you can talk to my lawyers about it.”

Newly released police documents indicate Rob Ford’s habit of doing drugs with gang members, including heroin, led to him being targeted in an apparent extortion plot related to the crack cocaine video.

At one point this past March, a gang member alleged in a telephone conversation intercepted by police that Ford offered $5000 and a car in exchange for the embarrassing video – an offer that was rejected.  The same gang member, Mohammed Siad, planned to ask for $150,000 from Ford in return for the video which appears to show him smoking crack cocaine and making homophobic and racially charged remarks.

In another wiretap, a different gang member is heard saying “he had Rob Ford smoking on the ‘dugga.’ He said has so much (sic) pictures of Rob Ford doing the hezza (slang sometimes used to describe heroin).”

Ford lawyer Dennis Morris says these latest allegations are baseless and the police document is unfairly focused on Ford, who was not a target of the investigation.  “He was involved in that only as a prop because 99 percent of the material released by the court had to do with Mayor Ford and had to do with embarrassing him, humiliating him and having people say he should go away for a rest, or resign,” Morris explained to CP24.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair refused to discuss the latest allegations, saying they constitute evidence before the courts.  “We conducted an investigation that needed to be done. We’ve gathered our evidence and we’ve placed it before the courts and any comment beyond the evidence we’ve placed before the courts is inappropriate,” Blair explained, “There are a number of criminal prosecutions that have yet to take place and I’m very mindful of maintaining the integrity of those prosecutions and we’ll deal with the evidence in an appropriate way, as we have done.”

City Councillors who’ve spoken out against Rob Ford in the past are renewing their calls for him to step down altogether.  Council stripped Ford of most of his mayoral powers last month.

The documents also reveal that Toronto Police were told this past May, the notorious crack video was the motive for the murder of alleged gang member Anthony Smith.  The document says Ford’s logistics director David Price disclosed that the cell phone containing the recording of interest belong to the deceased Anthony Smith and that it was the motive for his murder.  But the new police information also says this theory is not correct based on previous interceptions relevant to the murder of Smith.

The Rob Ford scandal has certainly drawn the attention of American media in the past several months.  A media-monitoring analysis by Influence Communications says the Ford story has captured more U.S. media attention than any other Canadian news story since the start of the 21st century.  It found Rob Ford was mentioned in some 14,000 stories on U.S. TV, radio, websites and newspapers last month after his admission that he had smoked crack in a drunken stupor.  The group says if Ford were an advertiser, he would have had to spend $1.1 billion to buy up all the global media space he occupied.

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