Rob Ford, adding blackmail and extortion to his tarnished mayoral record, allegedly offered suspected drug dealers a car plus $5,000 if they would give him the notorious video in which it appears that the embattled Toronto mayor is smoking crack cocaine. The offer appears on wiretaps that were placed on the phones of alleged gang members by police. In one moment, an alleged gang member tells another that he rejected Rob Ford’s offer for the video in hopes of getting Ford to fork over “150,” or $150,000.
An April 20 recording contains one of the alleged gang members stating that “Rob Ford was smoking his rocks today” along with an intention to post a photo of Ford using crack on Instagram. On the tapes, the alleged gang members also discuss making drug deliveries to Ford as well as their possession of pictures of Rob Ford doing drugs, including marijuana and heroin.
Leaving his office today, Ford ignored questions regarding the release of the redacted portions of previously released documents as he laughed and smiled.
Although he has admitted to smoking crack last year while in a “drunken stupor,” he has previously denied that the video of him doing so existed. The video came to light as part of a police investigation into a friend of Ford, Alexander Lisi. Court records released today indicate that police learned of Rob Ford’s drug use from an episode in which Ford’s phone was stolen or misplaced at an alleged crack house and Lisi was attempting to recover it. According to police, Lisi spoke with the gang and threatened that the mayor’s office would “put the heat on” if they would not return Ford’s phone. The alleged gang members replied that they would not stand to be threatened, especially since they claimed possession of a picture of Ford smoking crack. The phone was recovered after Lisi exchanged it for marijuana. Two months later, reports surfaced that alleged drug dealers had a video of Ford using crack and hoped to sell it for a big payday.
The court documents do include the possibility that the alleged drug dealers videotaped Ford because they knew how valuable such a video could be. Either way, the possibility of the video becoming public and tarnishing his mayoral record caused Rob Ford to attempt to add blackmail and extortion to the alleged crimes he has committed. Rob Ford has not been charged with any crime to date, nor have any of the allegations against been proven in a court of law.
Toronto city police will not comment on today’s documents because the phone recordings are part of the evidence in a case against Lisi, who currently is facing trial on charges of drugs and extortion.
Ford has been under increasing pressure to resign from his mayoral office in the wake of a number of embarrassing incidents, from appearing in public extremely intoxicated to starring in a different video in which he raves incoherently while making threats of “murder.” Due to his refusal to resign, the city council of Toronto stripped him of the majority of his mayoral powers, cutting by 60 percent his office budget and permitting his current staff to switch to the deputy mayor’s office, which is the most that the council is permitted to do under Canadian law. With Rob Ford still serving as Toronto’s mayor in name only, the possibility exists that even more embarrassing allegations will be added to his mayoral record, which now include drug possession, drug use, drunken driving, blackmail and extortion.
By Jennifer Pfalz