In another bizarre turn to the Rob Ford "Crackstarter" saga, The Star reports that the embattled Toronto mayor told his staff "not to worry" about a video that allegedly shows him smoking crack because "he knew where it was."
According to the report, Ford held a meeting on May 17 to address the video scandal with senior staffers. The Star's sources say that during the briefing, Ford told his aides he not only knew the video's whereabouts, but also gave an exact address, which he said he obtained from "our sources."
These details come in direct conflict with Ford's public denial, made a week later.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," Ford said on May 24. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist."
The Star goes on to write that operations and logistics director David Price approached then-chief of staff Mark Towhey with a hypothetical situation regarding the video:
“Hypothetically,” Price asked Towhey, if someone had told him where the video was, “What would we do?”
The straitlaced former military man told Price that nobody should do anything other than contact police.
At one point, according to an account of the conversation, Towhey was heard to remark, “We’re not getting the f---ing thing!”
His concern was that, if a video existed, someone could be killed for it.
A week after the staff meeting to address the scandal and a day before his public denial of the video, Ford fired Towhey on May 23. According to The Star, Towhey was fired after he suggested the mayor "seek help for his health."
More eyebrows have been raised in the case since it was revealed that Anthony Smith, 21, who appears alongside Ford in a photo sent to Gawker by the video's owners, was shot and killed at the end of March, The National Post reports.
Two reporters for The Star and John Cook, an editor for Gawker, claim that the men who sold Ford drugs have shown them the alleged video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack and spouting slurs. Gawker subsequently launched its "Crackstarter" campaign to raise $200,000, the asking price for obtaining a copy of the recording. The campaign has hit its goal, though Gawker has not yet obtained the video.
Rather than shrink from the controversy, Ford has taken to the offensive, calling the media "a bunch of maggots" on his weekly radio show.
On Monday, Ford's press secretary George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom quit their positions in city hall. The Toronto mayor also apologized for his public outburst against the media.