A second video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking what has been described as crack cocaine by a self-professed drug dealer was secretly filmed in his sister’s basement early Saturday morning.
The clip, which was viewed by two Globe and Mail reporters, shows Mr. Ford taking a drag from a long copper-coloured pipe, exhaling a cloud of smoke and then frantically shaking his right hand. The footage is part of a package of three videos that the drug dealer says he surreptitiously shot around 1:15 a.m., and which he says he is now selling for “at least six figures.”
The footage comes to light weeks after Mr. Ford embarked on a re-election campaign styled on the importance of second chances and forgiving mistakes. Nearly a year ago, the mayor thrust himself into worldwide infamy when another drug dealer, Mohamed Siad, tried to sell another video of the mayor allegedly smoking crack to media outlets in Canada and the United States. At the time, the mayor denied using the drug, only to later admit that he had smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor” and said that he was not an addict.
Since then Mr. Ford has been filmed numerous times in public appearing erratic and acting impaired. In each instance, the mayor has admitted to drinking, but never to using drugs. A few weeks ago when asked directly if he was continuing to use drugs, Mr. Ford said: “You guys ask stupid questions.”
Approached at City Hall Wednesday evening, Mr. Ford declined to respond to questions about the video. Shortly after The Globe confronted Mr. Ford, he issued a statement. "I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as Mayor to seek immediate help," he said.
In one of the clips shown to The Globe and Mail Wednesday, the mayor rapidly shifts his weight back and forth on the spot, talking into his cellphone and his right arm swinging at his side. When the camera pans around the room, a man that looks like Alessandro “Sandro” Lisi, the mayor’s former driver who has been charged with drug dealing and extortion, can be seen in the background. Mr. Ford’s sister, Kathy, who has admitted in media interviews to being a drug addict, is sitting in front of her brother. In the last of three clips, Mr. Ford is holding the pipe and speaking to his sister.
A man who answered Mr. Lisi’s cellphone told The Globe not to call back. Mr. Lisi’s lawyer, Seth Weinstein, said: “I think the only thing I can tell you now is that, until such time the video’s contents are authenticated, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.” A reporter attempted to contact Ms. Ford at her home, but there was no answer.
In all three clips, the mayor is wearing a white shirt and a dark-coloured tie with a pattern of thin white marks. This is the same shirt-and-tie combination he was wearing Friday afternoon at a press conference where he was critical of the dismissal of Gene Jones, who was appointed by the mayor to run the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and was removed after a damning ombudsman investigation. The drug dealer who showed The Globe the videos said that the mayor was also ranting about Mr. Jones’s ouster in his sister’s basement. In one of the video clips, the camera pans onto a second cellphone, which is flipped open and shows the time and date.
Unlike the first notorious video that captured the mayor apparently smoking crack cocaine, the mayor is not smoking from a glass pipe, rather a metal one. Scott MacIntyre, the former common-law spouse of Kathy Ford who is now suing the mayor, said in an interview that the mayor’s sister smokes crack from metal pipes that can also be used to smoke marijuana. When shown a photo of the mayor holding the pipe, Mr. MacIntyre said it is similar to the crack pipes that the mayor’s sister has used. “She uses those brass elbows,” he said, referring to plumbing that can be converted into a pipe.
All three clips were shot in a cluttered, dimly lit room with a white tile ceiling. The drug dealer selling the video identified it as the basement of Ms. Ford’s home. When asked what the ceiling of Ms. Ford’s basement looks like, Mr. MacIntyre said it has white perforated tiles.
The drug dealer who approached The Globe said that the audio on the three clips was not available because the speaker on his phone was broken when he recorded the footage. The dealer said he supplied the crack that was smoked that night and that he had decided to sell the footage to “make money.” He supplied an alias to The Globe and urged the paper to publish his nickname because: “I want someone to come to me.” The Globe is not publishing that nickname because of concerns about the drug dealer’s intentions.
The Globe cannot confirm the substance inside the pipe.
Reached late last night, Mr. Ford’s long-time criminal lawyer Dennis Morris questioned the authenticity of the video. “If these guys are drug dealers and there’s money involved, they can say whatever they want to get more money, to extract more money from the people who are paying.”
It’s difficult for anyone to prove what the mayor is smoking in the video, Mr. Morris said. “So say for example it was marijuana,” he said. “Would [you] pay more for a video if I told you it was marijuana or crack cocaine?”
The Globe did not purchase the video but it did buy a series of screen grabs from the three clips.
The Globe reporters met the dealer and one of his associates, who said he was not in Ms. Ford’s basement but also identified himself as a drug dealer, at a strip-mall parking lot west of Toronto. The drug dealer selling the video said that he sold drugs to the mayor several times over the past year.
Since the first crack video emerged, his brother and campaign manager, Councillor Doug Ford, has repeatedly said that voters aren’t concerned with the mayor’s drug use.
“You’re out of touch with what the people care about. People don’t care about that,” he said in January.
With reports from Ann Hui, Renata D’Aliesio, Elizabeth Church and Patrick White
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