The scandal involving Toronto mayor Rob Ford and the accusations of him smocking crack cocaine have taken some interesting twists and turns.
Reporters from the Toronto Star newspaper and Gawker Media, a U.S. media outlet, said they have seen a video that appears to show Ford smoking crack.
Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, said that the mayor is denying “any such allegation.”
Gawker reporter John Cook said he saw the video himself and Gawkers is trying to purchase the video from its owners.
Gawker turned to crowd funding to raise money and named the campaign Crackstarter.
The owners of the video asked for $200,000 to hand over the video to Gawker. While the price is hefty, Gawker reports that the owners of the video “fear for their safety and want enough money to pay for a chance to get out of Toronto and set up in a new town.”
Gawker stated that if they owners decide to sell the video elsewhere Gawker Media will donate the money to a Canadian non-profit that helps people suffering from addiction and its consequences.
In total, 8,388 people donated a total of $201,254. Gawker has yet to receive the money for Indiegogo, the crowd-funding platform they used.
The catch is, Gawker has completely lost contact with the people who own the video. They last time Gawker spoke with the owners was Sunday, May 19.
“He may have decided against selling the video. He may be waiting until the campaign hits its $200,000 mark before coming out of hiding,” Cook wrote in a post on Gawker.
In another twist, Toronto police are investigating whether someone was murdered for the video.
According to the Toronto Star, “homicide detectives are not investigating whether” the cell phone containing the crack smoking video “originally belonged to 21-year-old Anthony Smith,” who was gunned down four days before the Star contacted him about the video. In the same incident, Muhammad Khattak was shot in the arm and back but survived.
Days after the existence of the video became public, Forde aide David Price told Ford’s chief of staff, Mark Towhey, that a source had given him the apartment number where the video located. Price asked Towhey how they should proceed with this information.
Price also reportedly told Towhey, “that the video may have been the reason that Anthony Smith, a person pictured in a photo with Ford, was killed.”
On Friday, Ford spoke out saying, “I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”
On Monday, two of Ford’s top aides left their jobs.
The mayor confirmed that the press secretary and deputy press secretary, George Christopoulos and Isaac Ransom, left on their own accord.
According to Daily Intelligencer, Ford has a history of lewd behavior.
This past March, Ford was accused by Sarah Thomson of grabbing her butt during a photo and saying she “should have been in Florida with him last week because his wife wasn’t there.”
On St. Patrick’s Day, he was kicked out of bar after exhibiting “incoherent behavior.”
Last year, a judge kicked Ford out of office for violating conflict-of-interest laws. Ford successfully appealed the decision, though, and was allowed to remain mayor of Toronto.
Follow Mary Ann Georgantopoulos on Twitter @marygeorgant