Toronto mayor to seek help for drug abuse, says lawyer, as new crack cocaine video emerges
Rob Ford finally acknowledges has has a problem as a new video allegedly showing him smoking crack cocaine is seen by reporters
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford will take a leave of absence to seek help for substance abuse, his lawyer said on Wednesday, as a report surfaced about a second video of the mayor smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
The Globe and Mail newspaper reported it had viewed a second video of Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine in his sister’s basement. The national newspaper reported two Globe reporters viewed the video from a self-professed drug dealer showing Ford taking a drag from a pipe early on Saturday morning.
The video is part “of a package of three videos the dealer said surreptitiously filmed around at 1.15am, and which he says he is now selling for ‘at least six figures,” the paper reported.
News reports of the existence of an earlier video of Ford apparently smoking crack first surfaced last May, igniting a media firestorm.
The latest tape report comes as Ford’s lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the mayor will take a leave of absence for substance abuse. Ford is seeking re-election in the October 27 vote.
Morris said he spoke to Ford earlier on Wednesday and said the mayor had accepted he has a problem.
“He acknowledges he has a substance abuse problem and he wants to do something about it,” Morris told reporters.
Ford, who launched his campaign for re-election earlier this year, acknowledged last year after months of denials that he smoked crack in a “drunken stupor” after police said they obtained a video that appears to show him smoking the illegal drug. The video has, however, never been released to the public.
Ford has subsequently careened from one scandal to another, becoming a national embarrassment for many Canadians.
Also on Wednesday, the Toronto Sun reported it had obtained an audio recording of Ford making offensive remarks about other politicians at a bar on Monday night.
Ford has refused to resign, despite mounting pressure after a string of incidents, from public drunkenness to an appearance in another video that showed him threatening “murder” in an incoherent rant. Toronto’s city council has stripped him of most of his powers.
Ford said last year that he had quit drinking alcohol after having a “come to Jesus moment” but later acknowledged that he had drunk again. A number of recordings of the mayor intoxicated have since surfaced.
Ford acknowledged “rocky moments over the past year” during his official campaign launch earlier this month but vowed to fight harder than ever to win re-election.
Ford, who was the first candidate to register in January, invoked the spirit of second chances during a speech to supporters.
A message left with Ford’s chief of staff was not returned. Ford’s lawyer, Morris, did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on the reports that emerged on Wednesday night.
John Tory, who is running against Ford in the election, said he was relieved Ford is seeking help but said “for the good of the city” he should resign.