Councillor Doug Ford says he told a longtime family friend to stop calling the mayor’s weekly radio show as soon as he learned of the situation.
CBC reported Tuesday that David Price, currently Mr. Ford’s director of operations and logistics, called the show at least six times before he joined the mayor’s staff in April. During the calls Mr. Price took swipes at former mayor David Miller and those on the left of the political spectrum.
A Globe investigation, published last month, revealed that Doug Ford sold hashish for several years in the 1980s. He denied the allegations. The investigation, which spanned 18 months, also found that Mr. Price participated in the drug enterprise. Mr. Price did not respond to requests for comment for that story.
The CBC report said Mr. Price was only identified on air by his first name and location. Sometimes he was “Dave from Etobicoke.” At other times he was “Dave from Scarborough.”
The mayor and Councillor Ford have said the calls they receive on the show are not planted.
Councillor Ford told reporters Tuesday he did not recognize Mr. Price’s voice “right off the hop.” But when Mr. Price told him he had been calling the show, Councillor Ford said he urged him to stop.
"After we found out he called ... we told him to stop calling in. Simple," Councillor Ford said, adding he thought the story was a joke.
CBC said Mr. Price did not return its calls. He did not answer his phone when called by The Globe and Mail on Tuesday.
Mr. Price, a former financial adviser, started working at city hall in April, though the exact nature of his job has never been made clear.
When asked at the time why Mr. Price was hired, Councillor Ford said: “You can’t teach loyalty.”
Mr. Price is also a player in the probe surrounding the alleged video that purports to show the mayor smoking crack.
The Globe and Mail has reported that Mr. Ford's then chief of staff, Mark Towhey, went to the police in May after a tip from Mr. Price about the alleged video.
On May 17, the day after the website Gawker broke the video story, Mr. Price told Mr. Towhey he had reliable information about the location of the video, a source in the mayor's office said. He gave an address and a unit on Dixon Road, and Mr. Towhey told him not to try to find the video, a source said.
According to the source, Mr. Price insisted to Mr. Towhey the intelligence was dependable, and Mr. Towhey gave the information to police. Police confirmed members of its homicide squad interviewed Mr. Towhey and the force took a statement from Mr. Price. Neither the mayor nor Mr. Price responded to requests for comment at the time.
The Fords have hosted the show, on Newstalk 1010, for more than a year.
Mike Bendixen, Newstalk 1010’s program director, said in an interview Tuesday the station has no way of tracking who calls in. He said the station operates on the honour system.
Mr. Bendixen said the station does its best to have a variety of callers on the air. He said none of the callers receive preferential treatment.