Cash and car for crack video? Rob Ford says that is an 'outright lie'
Mayor Rob Ford heads back to his office post-workout Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. (Craig Robertson/Toronto Sun)
Mayor Rob Ford’s political survival plan at City Hall appears to be simply sweating out his ongoing crack cocaine scandal.
Ford was spotted at City Hall coming back from a midday workout and, despite the intense media spotlight, he refused to address any of the new allegations now swirling around him.
He is once again under fire after a wave of new allegations became public late Wednesday.
Detailed in the newly released wiretaps and police interviews are allegations Ford may have offered $5,000 and a car for the crack video weeks before the story of the video broke in the media, that Ford’s friend Alexander “Sandro” Lisi traded marijuana for the mayor’s stolen cellphone, that Ford hung out in a crack house where alleged gang members brought him drugs and that Ford may have used heroin.
None of the allegations have been tested in court but they come after Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine and buying illegal drugs since being elected mayor.
Ford refused to speak to any of the reporters about the allegations, going as far as running and pushing through the media horde as he flitted in and out of the executive committee meeting.
Council stripped Ford of his power to lead the powerful committee due to his ongoing crack cocaine scandal. Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly chaired Thursday’s meeting while Ford was barely a presence in the committee beyond unsuccessfully arguing against deferring the Toronto Island airport expansion issue until the new year.
During an interview on “The Sports Junkies” show with a Washington, D.C. radio station, Ford denied the allegation he offered $5,000 and a car for the notorious crack video.
“Number one, that’s an outright lie and number two you can talk to my lawyers about it,” Ford told the hosts before insisting they talk about football.
Ford’s chief of staff Dan Jacobs referred all questions about the allegations to Dennis Morris, the mayor’s criminal lawyer. Jacobs did not respond when asked why the elected mayor would not address the questions himself.
Later in the day, Ford did address the death of Nelson Mandela with reporters but stopped talking when asked about the scandal.
“Mr. Morris is right there. He’ll answer all your questions,” Ford said. “You have the best criminal lawyer in Canada (there), why don’t you ask him the questions.”
Earlier in the day, Morris said the mayor has the right not to speak to the allegations.
“He’s maintaining that right,” he said, adding he has advised Ford not to speak with Toronto Police.
He encouraged reporters to speak to the alleged gang members who are named in the police document.
“Why don’t you ask them?” Morris said.
Given Ford’s penchant for denying first and apologizing later, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was skeptical of Thursday’s adamant denial.
“I will say firstly that it is only an allegation and we don’t know whether it is true or not but the conduct to date has been denial and then apology,” Minnan-Wong said, standing by his call for Ford to resign.
“The recent reports that have come out have him linked closer to the Dixon City Bloods and to guns and gangs and drugs,” he said. “This is not getting better, it is getting worse. This is not a reason for him to stay, it is more reinforcement that he should be stepping away.”
Councillor Doug Ford — who wore a T-shirt with his brother’s photo and the words “Ford Tough” on it — said the mayor is “taking care of his personal business” and doesn’t need to step aside or go to rehab.
“Why don’t you go and work out with him? He’s doing a good job,” Ford said.
Asked what advice he’s giving his the mayor, Ford was blunt.
“Keep going,” he said. “There is a lot of support for him out there.”
— With files from Terry Davidson
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