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EXCLUSIVE: Broker of Rob Ford crack video breaks silence in CityNews interview

CityNews | posted Saturday, Nov 9th, 2013

The man who says he attempted to broker the sale of the Rob Ford crack video ended up fearing for his life and lying low for months when the scandal exploded in the media.

In an interview with CityNews reporter Avery Haines, Mohamed Farah, 33, said he was approached by a friend in the Somali community who asked him to help sell the video — hoping initially to garner $1 million for the damning footage.

Farah said the friend wanted to use the money to move out of Toronto and start a new life with his girlfriend.

“It’s not personal (against Mayor Ford),” he said. “It was a video that had monetary value.”

Farah agreed to help, but says he personally didn’t stand to make any money off the potential sale.

“Originally he thought he was gonna get a million dollars,” Farah said.

“I told him, ‘Look, you won’t even get $10,000 for the video.’ But I said, ‘Look, I’ll try my best.’”

Farah said The Toronto Star offered him $40,000 and later contemplated going as high as $80,000. Gawker offered $15,000 before eventually raising $200,000 through crowd-funding efforts.

By the time the money was raised, however, the story was making international headlines, and the source went underground.

Farah followed suit, realizing that Ford’s political career wasn’t the only thing on the line — so was his life.

“There was a lot of threats related to the (video) and I didn’t know who to trust,” he said.

Farah said he’s seen the video and it contained what was described in the media. He also adds that multiple copies were made.

“The mayor is kind of leaning back, smoking crack from a crack pipe,” he said.

Farah said the video also shows Ford talking about the conflict-of-interest case involving his football charity and making “derogatory” comments about Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau.

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with broker of alleged Rob Ford crack video

CityNews | posted Friday, Nov 8th, 2013

In a CityNews exclusive, the man who says he attempted to broker the sale of the alleged Rob Ford crack video breaks his silence.

In a sit-down interview with Avery Haines, Mohamed Farah, 33, reveals what he has seen, why he got involved in the proposed sale, and the potentially dangerous repercussions it has had.

Watch the extended interview on City at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Catch the live stream at www.citynews.ca/live or on the CityNews app for iPhone and iPad.

Week of Nov. 11, 2013

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 8th, 2013

It’s quite the lineup on next week’s Breakfast Television!

Crooner Matt Dusk performs live in studio.

Plus, Coronation Street’s Marc Baylis will stop by to visit.

And, Toronto’s own Blue Rodeo will be here to rock the house!

Be sure to watch BT weekdays 5:30 to 9 a.m. on City, right here at BTtoronto.ca/live, or on our Breakfast Television mobile app!


VOTE NOW: Buffalo Bills Anthem Contest

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Nov 8th, 2013

You’ve heard them online, and now it’s time for you to vote for your favourite!

The winner will sing the Canadian national anthem at Rogers Centre, Dec. 1 for the Bills vs. Falcons game, plus have Sean Jones as their mentor!

Voting closes at 8:55 a.m. ET, Nov. 8, 2013.

Poll is now CLOSED. Thank you for your interest.

Congratulations to Darryl Casselman!

New Rob Ford video surfaces: ‘I need f—ing 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead’

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 7th, 2013

The Toronto Star has published a video that shows Toronto Mayor Rob Ford making death threats.

“I need f—ing 10 minutes to make sure he’s dead,” Ford can be heard saying on the video, which was posted to the Toronto Star website on Thursday.

Ford immediately responded to the video at city hall on Thursday, saying he was  “very, very inebriated” and he hoped none of the reporters had ever “been in that state.” He did not say what that state was or offer any explanation.

“Again, I’ve made mistakes…it’s extremely embarrassing,” he said.

Toronto police tell CityNews they have handed the video over to their investigators.

The context of Ford’s outburst is unknown, who he is threatening, who he is speaking to or who recorded the video.

Click below to watch the video:

In the video, Ford can be heard saying, “I’m gonna kill that f—ing guy. I’m telling you, it’s first-degree murder,” the Star reported.“I’ll rip his fucking throat out. I’ll poke his eyes out. . . . I’ll make sure that mother——’s dead,” he reportedly said.

On its website, the Star said it offered to show the video to members of the mayor’s inner circle on Wednesday. As of Thursday, no one had taken them up on the offer. The Star then posted the video online.

Earlier this week, after admitted he smoked crack cocaine, Ford famously said he had “nothing left to hide.”

The Toronto Sun posted a five-second clip about half an hour before the Star published its article.

The new video was “this week being shopped around by someone looking to make thousands of dollars,” the Toronto Sun reported. While the newspaper did not purchase the video or enter into negotiations, the newspaper did received two clips “which appear to show the mayor impaired and in an apparent rage and in an inebriated state.”

Watch the Toronto Sun video below:

The Toronto Sun said that “a source close to the mayor” confirmed it was Ford in the tape and that it “looks a lot worse than it is.”

Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, a former Ford ally, said in a statement Thursday the mayor needs help.

“In light of the latest video that has surfaced…I have grown more concerned and fear for his health now more then [sic] ever. If it is in their power, the Mayor’s family needs to intervene and attempt to get him to a drug rehabilitation centre,” he said.

“I fear that if the Mayor does not get help now he will succumb to health issues related to addiction,” Mammoliti said, adding he would be supporting deputy mayor Norm Kelly and the executive committee for the remainder of the term.

CityNews asked Ford’s lawyer if it would benefit the mayor to take a break.

“Obviously it would benefit them if they needed to take a break,” Dennis Morris said.

“Let’s hope for the best in the future because he’s a fantastic mayor. We just need him to stay healthy in every way emotionally and physically and every way possible so he could be a good father, a good mayor and a good husband.”

Last week, police Chief Bill Blair said investigators had recovered another video — first reported in May — showing Ford apparently smoking crack cocaine.

Many friends and supporters have been urging Ford to step aside and seek help. Others have called on the mayor to resign.

Earlier in the day, a visibly upset Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, a longtime friend of the Ford family, said the mayor had to make his own decision about what to do.

With files from The Canadian Press

Mayor Ford may be forced out if he won’t take leave: councillor

CityNews | posted Thursday, Nov 7th, 2013

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong says he’s amending his motion proposing that Rob Ford take a leave of absence, and if the mayor doesn’t go council will petition the province to have him removed from office.

The proposed amendment came as the city’s top civil servant Joe Pennachetti cautioned all staff that the city was not in crisis — and to not let the drama at city hall distract them from their job.

Minnan-Wong said, “We have told him that he needs to find the exit. He doesn’t seem to be listening.

“If he can’t find the exit, I think we have to show him the door.”

He added he believes that it would be the strongest measure “we could take.” He said he hasn’t spoken to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who earlier Wednesday reiterated that she’s not intervening and letting the municipality, the police and the courts do their work.

Minnan-Wong and his colleague Peter Milczyn drafted the original motion moments after Ford made the crack cocaine admission on Tuesday.

The motion also calls for Ford to apologize to the city for “misleading” residents about the existence of a video, that Ford co-operate with Toronto police in their investigation, apologize for writing a letter of reference for accused drug dealer Alexander Lisi, and that he respond to council directly and not address them through the media.

The proposal will be considered at next Wednesday’s council meeting.

Hours after his stunning admission, Ford said he had embarrassed the city, was very sorry and had only himself to blame for the mess, but that he was staying in office and was in fact planning to run for re-election next October.

On Thursday, city manager Pennachetti sent a memo to all Toronto managers, saying the city is not in crisis.

“I know you are all aware of the recent media coverage regarding the Mayor. The situation that is unfolding is unfortunate. It has also resulted in some media reports that the City of Toronto is in crisis. This is not the case,” the memo stated.

“I understand that these issues have created some distraction…The best way for the Toronto Public Service to address this situation will be to continue our hard work and to continue to provide high quality customer service to the residents and businesses of the City,” he added.

Mayor Ford will remain in office despite crack cocaine admission

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he’ll stay in office despite the stunning admission that he used crack cocaine about a year ago.

“I was elected to do a job and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue to do,” he said during an emotional news conference at city hall on Tuesday afternoon.

Ford said he embarrassed everyone in the city, will forever be sorry and has only himself to blame for the mess but he’s staying put.

Furthermore, he said during the municipal election next October, “I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.” (Click here to read his full statement.)

Ford made the shocking crack admission earlier in the day.

“Yes I have smoked crack cocaine,” Ford told stunned reporters at city hall.

Ford added that he doesn’t currently smoke crack and he’s not an addict, but has experimented with the drug.

“Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago” Ford said. “Yes, I’ve made mistakes. All I can do now is apologize and move on…it was a couple isolated incidents.”

It’s not yet clear what prompted the mayor to make the admission after months of denial but a report says his staff was caught completely by surprise by the admission.

Ford’s attorney Dennis Morris said the mayor felt “tremendous frustration” with the ongoing saga, and said he came forward because “he wants to move on.”

Ford went into a closed-door meeting with deputy mayor Norm Kelly immediately after making the admission and Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong penned a motion asking him to take a leave of absence to “address his personal issues.” It will be tabled at a Nov. 13 council meeting.

The motion, backed by Coun. Peter Milczyn, also asks that Ford apologize for misleading the city. Both Minnan-Wong and Milczyn are members of the mayor’s executive committee.

Coun. Joe Mihevc said, “You can’t invent this stuff. It’s beyond bizarre,” while Coun. Jaye Robinson said the mayor “doesn’t have a shred of credibility.”

Before Ford admitted to smoking crack Tuesday, councillors John Filion and Paul Ainslie said they would table a motion taking away Ford’s power to remove the deputy mayor and councillors from committee.

We want to hear your opinion–both sides. Join the discussion by sounding off in the comments below. Reaction will be moderated.

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

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

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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