Toronto mayor Rob Ford has allegedly been caught on tape smoking crack cocaine, but he continues to deny the allegations and refuses to step down despite losing many of his top staffers.
Ford has seen the loss of five staff members since reports of the video emerged last week, including his chief of staff, who was fired by Ford. Two more top aides quit on Thursday — chief policy adviser Brian Johnston and executive assistant Kia Nejatian.
Rob Ford has remained steadfast in defending his office.
“There is nothing going on in my office,” Ford said. “Everything is going fine.”
“I’m not stepping aside,” Ford added Thursday.
The story came to light last week after Gawker writer John Cook said he was approached by a tipster claiming to possess the video of the conservative mayor smoking crack. The tipster included a picture allegedly showing Ford hanging out with a group of young black men, one of whom would later be killed outside a Toronto nightclub in a gangland-style shooting.
Cook compared it to another photo of Rob Ford from the National Post where he is wearing the same sweatshirt and concluded that the two appear to be the same.
Cook later flew to Toronto, meeting with the alleged tipster, who is said to be connected to the Toronto drug trade. He wrote:
“Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear. Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter.”
Two Toronto Star reporters also saw the supposed Rob Ford video, but turned down the chance to buy the video. It has not been released publicly, though Cook tried to start a crowdfunding campaign to pay the $200,000 asking price.
Rob Ford briefly addressed the alleged crack smoking video during a radio appearance, saying it doesn’t exist.