Mayor Rob Ford video sellers have disappeared: Gawker
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford takes in the casino debate at Toronto City Hall Tuesday, May 21, 2013. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun)
So where are the guys who are trying to sell the notorious alleged Mayor Rob Ford "crack smoking" video?
And where is the most sought-after video in Toronto history itself?
The guy trying to buy it for $200,000 would like to know.
As of right now they, as well as it, have disappeared.
"I haven't been in contact with them since last Tuesday," said Jon Cook of Gawker, who has a "Crackstarter" group collection drive going on line. "The guy who put me in touch with them has not heard from them since Sunday."
So where are they? In custody?
Or just lying low?
It seems while one set of strange circumstances is occurring with the mayor and the questionable way he's handling the crisis, at one end there is a whole other drama unfolding with the originators of the story.
"My feeling is they are frightened and concerned for their own security," said Cook. "There has been an intense amount of scrutiny. I think they are scared and in hiding."
He hopes the $200,000 will smoke them out.
Cook says with the clock ticking on more than just the survival of Ford, he needs to locate them if he is going to be able to purchase the video and post on his site for all to see.
Having raised $155,000 online, with the deadline for $200,000 coming Monday, he is preparing to legally make the transaction.
Toronto Police have said they are monitoring the situation. Some feel if laws are broken, they could seize the video.
In order for the deal to take place, Gawker must raise the full $200,000 before any money comes out of donor's accounts. If it is less, it means the fundraising deal is dead.
Gawker has said if they reach the $200,000 target but can't complete the deal with the drug dealers peddling the video, then the money raised would go to a Canadian non-profit that works on substance abuse issues.
Cook is hoping, however, he will find them first.
"I want them to be aware that $200,000 is within their grasp," he said. "I hope they know."
On the Gawker collection page it states the owners of the video "told him that they will not feel safe in the city after the video comes out" since "Ford is a powerful man, with powerful friends, and these are young kids who fear a possible frame-up from Toronto cops or worse. The money they are asking for will, they say, cover their departure from Toronto to get set up in another city where they will feel safer."
But what if they don't make contact in time?
"If we reach the goal I don't want to sit on this money for too long," said Cook.
In other words, this money could end up going to charity and the video would not surface at this time.
However, he acknowledges, having lost contact "could slow the collection down."
"If you are considering contributing, you should be aware that our confidence that we can get a deal done has ... diminished since we came up with this idea," Gawker states on its website.
"So: Proceed with caution. We will update you just as soon as we have any further information on how this might play out. Don't smoke crack."