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Toronto mayor denies he smokes crack cocaine

Saturday - 5/25/2013, 8:30pm  ET

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, center, denies allegations that he smokes crack cocaine and thanks his brother Toronto City Councillor Doug Ford, left, and Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, right, as he speaks to the media at City Hall on Friday, May 24, 2013 in Toronto. Ford denies that he smokes crack cocaine and says he is not an addict after a video purported to show him using the drug. Ford did not say whether he has ever used the drug. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Michelle Siu)

ROB GILLIES
Associated Press

TORONTO (AP) -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford denied that he smokes crack cocaine and said he is not an addict, breaking a week of silence over reports of a video purportedly showing him using the drug. Critics were not appeased, with one city councilor questioning whether the mayor told "the whole truth" and another calling on him to resign.

The mayor of Canada's largest city did not say whether he has ever used crack. He did not take questions from reporters at a news conference at City Hall, held after close allies released a letter urging him to address the reports of the video.

"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," Ford said. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen, or does not exist."

Ford had been ducking the media and his only comments before Friday on the scandal came a week ago, a day after the story broke, when he called the crack smoking allegations "ridiculous" and said the Toronto Star newspaper was out to get him.

Ford said he had kept quiet because his lawyer advised him "not to say a word."

The video has not been released publicly and its authenticity has not been verified. Reports on gossip website Gawker and in the Toronto Star claimed it was taken by men who said they had sold the drug to Ford. The Associated Press hasn't seen the video.

The Star reported that two journalists had watched a video that appears to show Ford, sitting in a chair, inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe. The Star said it did not obtain the video or pay to watch it. Gawker and the Star said the video was shown to them by a drug dealer who had been trying to sell it for a six-figure sum.

Another leading Canadian newspaper published Saturday the results of what it called a lengthy investigation into the Ford family's past that revealed "a portrait of a family once deeply immersed in the illegal drug scene."

The Globe and Mail, citing anonymous sources who were involved in the drug trade, alleged that the mayor's older brother, Doug Ford, sold hashish for several years in the 1980s in the wealthy Toronto suburb of Etobicoke, where the family grew up.

Doug Ford, 48, is a Toronto city council member and influential adviser to the mayor. On Saturday, Doug Ford, in an interview with the cable TV news network, CP24, vehemently denied the allegations, accusing the Globe and Mail of engaging in "irresponsible journalism."

"It's not true, it's uncorroborated. They go out there and write these stories, they want to try to ruin our family," Doug Ford said.

"Is that the best they have? To go back when I was in high school? I'll tell you, John Stackhouse (Globe and Mail editor-in-chief), you're a disgusting human being in my opinion. If you have a family, if you have kids, how would you like me to do some investigative reporting on you?"

Ford admitted smoking a marijuana joint as a teenager, but said he does not condone drugs and "wouldn't know crack cocaine if it was sitting on the table."

The Star also reported that Rob Ford allegedly made a racist remark about the high school football students he coached.

Rob Ford criticized the media for judging him.

"It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I've been judged by the media without any evidence," Ford said.

City Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said he was profoundly disappointed in the mayor's statement and called on Ford to resign. De Baeremaeker said he believes the reports about Ford's alleged drug use and believes Ford's tenure is over.

"I don't believe the mayor," he said. "He should resign and then go seek help."

De Baeremaeker said he's observed erratic behavior from the mayor.

"The mayor is just imploding," he said. "The mayor had an opportunity to acknowledge that perhaps he does have a problem, and to take a leave of absence, perhaps to take care of himself and his family, instead he went on the attack."

Other councilors said the mayor wasn't comprehensive enough and said the distraction is not over. Councilor John Parker called the statement too little too late.

"I'm not sure we've heard the whole truth," Parker said. "Questions continue to swirl around him."

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