TORONTO (AP) — New court documents released Wednesday suggest Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may have offered $5,000 and a car to suspected drug dealers in exchange for a tape that appears to show him smoking crack.
The information is contained in police wiretaps of gang members who spoke about delivering drugs to Ford and having pictures of him using drugs. One of the gang members is heard talking to another, saying he rejected the offer for the tape and planned to meet the mayor and ask for "150," meaning $150,000.
Ford, who's become an international media sensation, acknowledged last month that he smoked crack in a "drunken stupor" about a year ago. He has refused to resign as mayor of Canada's largest city and financial capital, despite mounting pressure after a string of incidents that have embarrassed Canadians, from public drunkenness to appearing in a different video that showed him threatening "murder" in an incoherent rant. Toronto's city council has stripped him of most of his powers.
On one wire tape on April 20 a gang member is heard saying "Rob Ford was smoking his rocks today."
A smiling Ford laughed and ignored questions as he left his office Wednesday.
In another summary of interceptions a gang member said he has so many pictures of Ford doing drugs and that they would be worth something.
Ford admitted that he smoked crack after police said they had obtained a video that appears to show him puffing on a crack pipe as part of an investigation into a friend. He has also acknowledged binge-drinking, but he says he has quit drinking and adopted a healthier lifestyle.
The city council, lacking a way to oust Ford from office unless he's convicted of a crime and jailed, voted overwhelmingly last month to slash the mayor's office budget by 60 percent and allow his staff to join the deputy mayor.