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TIMELINE: Key events in Rob Ford’s tenure as Toronto politician

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Mayor Rob Ford attends an executive committee meeting at Toronto City Hall on May 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu

Since May, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been embroiled in a controversy over a video that allegedly shows him appearing to smoke crack cocaine. The controversy around the mayor widened Thursday when a different video surfaced showing him in an expletive-laced tirade. Here some notable moments in the Rob Ford video controversy:

May 16: The Toronto Star and U.S.-based news site Gawker report that Mayor Rob Ford was seen on video smoking what appears to be crack cocaine and making racist and homophobic comments. They also say the video is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade.

May 17: Ford calls the allegations “ridiculous” and accuses the Toronto Star of “going after” him. Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris calls the reports “false and defamatory” and says it’s impossible to tell what a person is smoking by watching the video.

May 24: Ford issues a short statement insisting “I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine.” He adds he can’t comment on a video that he has never seen and does not exist.

May 26: On his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010, Ford says he’s “moving forward” from the allegations and plans to run for re-election. He attacks the media for how they’ve covered the growing scandal, calling them “a bunch of maggots.”

May 30: The Toronto Star alleges Ford told senior aides not to worry about the alleged video because he knew where it was. The mayor refuses to comment, but says he won’t step down.

June 13: Toronto police raid several homes including an apartment building where reports have said the alleged video was located. Police Chief Bill Blair won’t say if there’s any connection to Ford.

June 15: Reports in the Star and The Globe and Mail say two of the suspects arrested in the raid also appear with Ford in a widely publicized photograph connected to the alleged crack video scandal. Ford has said he poses for photos with “everybody.”

Aug. 9: Videos appear on YouTube showing Ford interacting with fellow attendees of a local street festival. Ford is slurring his speech and allegations surface that he was drunk. Ford addresses the allegations on his radio show, saying he had “a couple of beers” but was not intoxicated.

Aug. 18: The Star says two of Ford’s associates tried to obtain the alleged crack video after the allegations surfaced. Doug Ford dismisses it as “just another attack” by the paper.

Oct. 1: Ford’s friend and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi, is arrested and charged with four drug-related offences, including trafficking marijuana. Ford defends Lisi the next day, calling him a friend and a “good guy.”

Oct. 23: A Superior Court judge releases documents that show Ford wrote a character reference for Lisi following the man’s conviction of threatening to kill a woman. The letter dated June 4, 2013, praises Lisi’s leadership and work ethic and was part of a pre-sentencing report. Lisi is appealing his conviction.

Oct. 31: Chief Bill Blair announces Toronto police recovered a copy of a video file that depicts images of Ford “consistent with those previously reported in the press.” Blair said police have no “reasonable” grounds to criminally charge the mayor based on the video. But he said they have charged Lisi with extortion for allegedly making “extortive efforts to retrieve a recording.”

Nov. 3: Ford apologizes on his weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010 for making mistakes including appearing in public while “hammered” and texting while driving. But he tells AM640 the next day: “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not a drug addict.”

Nov. 5: Ford admits he smoked crack cocaine about a year earlier while in one of his “drunken stupors.” Despite the admission after months of denials on the drug use question, he insists he had been truthful. “I wasn’t lying,” he told reporters. “You didn’t ask the correct questions. No, I’m not an addict and no I do not do drugs.” Ford says he has nothing left to hide.

Nov. 7: A video is posted online by the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun that shows Ford spewing obscenities and using threatening words, including “kill” and “murder.” The mayor tells reporters moments after the video is posted that he was “extremely” drunk and is “extremely” embarrassed.

With files from The Canadian Press

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