Toronto mayor denies smoking crack cocaine

Fri May 17, 2013 6:13pm EDT
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By Julie Gordon and Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, a target of criticism for his often unconventional conduct, on Friday denied media allegations that he had been caught on video smoking crack cocaine.

"Absolutely not true," Ford told reporters gathered outside his west Toronto house, before driving off in his SUV.

Reporters for the Toronto Star and Gawker Media said late on Thursday they had watched a cellphone video that appears to show Ford smoking crack, although both news outlets said they had declined to pay the $100,000 price asked by the tipsters, people that the Star said were involved in the Toronto drug trade.

Reuters could not confirm the existence of the video and it is not clear what impact the allegations will have on Ford's position as mayor of Canada's largest city.

The mayor still has an approval rating of around 50 percent despite a series of negative headlines, although that's down from 70 percent in the year after he took power, according to Forum Research.

A Toronto Police spokesman said police are "closely monitoring the situation."

Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris, did not return Reuters' requests for comment.

"We're just trying to see whether or not such a video exists and whether or not any video has been doctored or altered," Morris told the Toronto Sun newspaper.   Continued...

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford attends a gay rights flag raising event at Toronto City Hall May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Brett Gundlock