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Canada abuzz over purported crack video of mayor

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home on Friday, May 17, 2013, after published reports said a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. A report published Thursday night said the video is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade. The Toronto Star said, however, it had no way to verify the video. Ford called the allegations ridiculous.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his home on Friday, May 17, 2013, after published reports said a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. A report published Thursday night said the video is being shopped around by a group of men allegedly involved in the drug trade. The Toronto Star said, however, it had no way to verify the video. Ford called the allegations ridiculous. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

A video purportedly of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack has caused an uproar in Canada. Ford yesterday called the allegations “ridiculous.”

The video has not been released publicly, and there is no way to verify whether it is authentic. Reports by gossip website Gawker and the Toronto Star said it was taken by a man who claimed he had sold crack to Ford.

The conservative mayor of Canada’s largest city refused to take questions yesterday. In brief comments outside his office, he said it was “another story with respect to the Toronto Star going after me. And that’s all I’ve got to say for now.”

A lawyer for the colorful, often unscripted Ford didn’t respond to messages seeking comment. Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said investigators were “monitoring the situation closely.”

The Star reported that two reporters 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.

The Star also reported that Ford made an anti-gay slur against the leader of the federal Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

Ford later appeared yesterday at a previously scheduled ceremony marking International Day Against Homophobia.

Ford has been embroiled in controversies about his behavior since being elected in 2010, but these are the most serious allegations he’s faced yet. The Toronto Star reported earlier this year that he was asked to leave a gala fundraiser for wounded Canadian soldiers because he appeared intoxicated.

While in office, he has been accused of flouting conflict of interest rules
and making obscene gestures at residents from his car.

The Associated Press

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