After Reported Crack Video, Toronto Mayor's Troubles Mount

Ford faces reports of crack use, resignations of top officials.

May 28, 2013, 12:51 PM

May 28, 2013 — -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is facing a whirlwind of troubles this week as top staffers have departed amid reports that members of Ford's family had ties to drug dealing and questions about a purported video supposedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Ford's problems began earlier this month with the purported video said to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine out of a glass pipe.

On May 16, the Toronto Star newspaper and the gossip website Gawker reported that Ford was captured on video smoking crack. Reporters from both outlets said they had seen the video and that it clearly was Ford lighting and smoking the pipe.

Ford denied the video existed and said he does not smoke crack cocaine. His office did not return requests for comment from ABC News.

Neither the Toronto Star nor Gawker obtained the video and it wasn't published. Reporters said the video's owner wanted $200,000 for it.

On Monday, Gawker raised enough money from its readers, donated through crowdfunding website Indiegogo and nicknamed the "Crackstarter Fund," to buy the video from its owner. But Gawker said later Monday that the purchase of the video had stalled, as they were unable to make contact with the owner.

"We have had no further contact with the people we believe to have custody of this video since the last update," the editor of the site wrote on Indiegogo. "Our confidence that we can consummate this transaction has diminished."

Gawker did not respond to request for comment from ABC News.

Though Gawker's efforts have stalled, Ford has faced trouble elsewhere as his press secretary, George Christopoulos, and his assistant, Isaac Ransom, both resigned Monday.

Ford fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey, last week.

On Saturday, national Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail published an investigative story detailing how members of Ford's family allegedly sold drugs in the 1980s. The newspaper said the investigation had been in the works for 18 months and included dozens of interviews with associates of the family who said that the mayor's brother, Doug Ford, sold hashish.

Both Rob Ford and Doug Ford, who is now a Toronto City councilman, denied the reports on their weekly radio broadcast on Sunday. Rob Ford also called the media "a bunch of maggots."

Today, Ford emerged from his office at city hall to a barrage of questions from waiting reporters, who asked him whether his staffers had tried to obtain the video. He declined to answer any questions.

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