Friday, April 18, 2014
The Associated Press
TORONTO — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied Friday that he smokes crack cocaine and said he is not an addict after a video purported to show him using the drug. The mayor of Canada's largest city did not say whether he has ever used crack.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford
The Associated Press
Ford did not take questions from reporters at a news conference at City Hall held after a week of silence and after close allies released a letter urging him to address the video. The video apparently shows Ford smoking crack.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," Ford said. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist."
Ford had been ducking the media and his only comments before Friday on the scandal came a week ago, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack smoking allegations "ridiculous" and said the Toronto Star newspaper was out to get him.
Ford said he had kept quiet because his lawyer advised him "not to say a word."
The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn't seen the video.
The Star reported that two journalists had 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. Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.
The Star also reported that Ford allegedly made a racist remark about the high school football students he coached.
Ford criticized the media for judging him.
"It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I've been judged by the media without any evidence," Ford said.
City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he was profoundly disappointed in the mayor's statement and called on Ford to resign. De Baeremaeker said he believes the reports about Ford's alleged drug use and believes Ford's tenure is over.
"I don't believe the mayor," he said. "He should resign and then go seek help."
De Baeremaeker said he's observed erratic behavior from the mayor.
"The mayor is just imploding," he said. "The mayor had an opportunity to acknowledge that perhaps he does have a problem, and to take a leave of absence, perhaps to take care of himself and his family, instead he went on the attack."
Other councilors said the mayor wasn't comprehensive enough and said the distraction is not over. Councilor John Parker called the statement too little too late.
"I'm not sure we've heard the whole truth," Parker said. "Questions continue to swirl around him."
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, a close ally of Ford who was standing near Ford during the news conference, acknowledged it's not over.
"He would have been a lot better off had he made this statement earlier in the week but for whatever reason he did not," Holyday said.
The allegations have caused an uproar in Canada and have become the fodder for late night TV in the U.S.
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