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The garage door of an Etobicoke house appears similar to the background of a photo of Rob Ford with Anthony Smith. (J.P. MOCZULSKI FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
The garage door of an Etobicoke house appears similar to the background of a photo of Rob Ford with Anthony Smith. (J.P. MOCZULSKI FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Etobicoke family find themselves at heart of Rob Ford photo mystery Add to ...

The house at 15 Windsor Road, which appears to be the backdrop for a photograph that depicts Toronto Mayor Rob Ford standing next to a man who was shot to death on a downtown street, is home to a widow and her adult children, one of whom has a history of low-level crime.

Court records show Fabio Basso, 45, has a $150 drug fine stretching back to 1988 as well as a 2002 charge for possession of a controlled substance that was withdrawn two years later. Last year, he was convicted of stealing items from a Wal-Mart. He was fined $500 and given six months to pay.

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That photo and the allegations behind it – it was shared with two news organizations by a person who offered for sale a video that allegedly showed Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine – have mired the mayor of Canada’s largest city in a political and personal morass. Mr. Ford has stated that no such video exists and said, “I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” Six members of his staff have departed (including his chief of staff and his spokesman), his political agenda has stalled and calls have come from within city hall and even from the Premier for Mr. Ford to clear the air.

The home has changed, neighbours say, since 2009. Late that year, the family patriarch, Elio, died. Since then, neighbours say they have seen foot traffic to the house proliferate along with the many cats prowling the property.

The Basso home’s garage appears to be the backdrop of a photograph that was reportedly supplied to journalists from Gawker.com and the Toronto Star by a person who claimed to have for sale a video showing the mayor smoking crack cocaine. In the photo, Mr. Ford is seen with an arm around 21-year-old Anthony Smith, who was killed in a shooting on March 28. Another man who survived the gunfire appears at the right of the picture.

Dennis Morris, Mr. Ford’s lawyer, said this week that the mayor has his photo taken with many people every day and likely would have no recollection of the photo ever being taken. “Say somebody says ‘here, take a picture’ and it’s in front of a certain location. You have no idea that location may be involved in something illegal or improper, allegedly, that type of thing,” he said.

On the night of May 21 a man forced his way into the Basso home and assaulted two people inside with a weapon, police said. There have been no arrests. The same day at 4 a.m. there was a shooting at a nearby Dixon Road condo tower linked to the alleged Ford video, and a man was wounded. The incident was not connected to the video, Toronto police and security guards have told The Globe and Mail.

At a news conference Thursday, Mr. Ford responded to media questions about the city’s surplus figures for the 2012 budget released earlier this week but twice repeated “any other questions?” when reporters asked about the Basso family and the circumstances behind the photo.

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