Sun, May 19, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Purported crack video of mayor causes stir

LIVING THE HIGH LIFE?Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been embroiled in controversies since being elected in 2010 and was arrested in Florida for marijuana possession in 1999

AP, TORONTO

A video purportedly of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack has caused an uproar in Canada. Ford on Friday called the allegations “ridiculous.”

The video has not been released publicly, and there is no way to verify whether it is authentic. Reports by gossip Web site Gawker and the Toronto Star said it was taken by a man who claimed he had sold crack to Ford.

The conservative mayor refused to take questions on Friday. In brief comments outside his office, he said it was “another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me. And that’s all I’ve got to say for now.”

A lawyer for the colorful, often unscripted Ford did not respond to messages seeking comment. Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said investigators were “monitoring the situation closely.”

The Star reported that two reporters watched a video that appears to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it.

The Star also reported that Ford made an anti-gay slur against the leader of the federal Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Ford later appeared on Friday at a ceremony marking International Day Against Homophobia.

Ford has been embroiled in controversies about his behavior since being elected in 2010, but these are the most serious allegations he has faced yet. The Toronto Star reported earlier this year that he was asked to leave a gala fundraiser for wounded Canadian soldiers because he appeared intoxicated.

During his campaign for mayor, Ford held a news conference to discuss a 1999 arrest for marijuana possession in Florida. He ultimately pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and failing to give a breath sample to police.

While in office, he has been accused of flouting conflict of interest rules and making obscene gestures at residents from his car.

Ford, a city councilor for years, once said Toronto would be better off if it did not accept more immigrants. Half of the city’s population was born outside Canada.

Toronto deputy mayor Doug Holyday questioned the authenticity of the video, saying “video can be altered” and “drug dealers can’t be trusted.”

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