On Thursday – two weeks after reports surfaced that a video exists of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack — the Toronto Star offers a new development: The mayor may have known the precise location of the video very early on in the scandal. He reportedly blurted out the address during a meeting with his staff and advisers the day after Gawker broke the news.
Here's what anonymous sources told the Star:
During the meeting, when concern was raised about the existence of a video, Mayor Ford told staffers "not to worry" as he knows where the video is.
To the surprise of some present, Mayor Ford then blurts out the Dixon Rd. address, including the two apartment units on the 17th floor, 1701 and 1703.
The Star followed up at the address; no one in the area had ever spotted Ford.
Also on Thursday, a 23-year-old man was arrested in a murder case believed to be linked to Ford's video scandal.
It's been speculated that the original owner of the video is Anthony Smith, who appears to pose with Ford in the video and was gunned down on March 28 in what police said was a targeted hit.
Last month, 23-year-old Nisar Hashimi was arrested in connection with the murder. But on Thursday, 23-year-old Hanad Mohamed was also arrested.
Police confirmed to the Globe and Mail that a city official was interviewed last week about an ominous tip that came into the mayor's office shortly after Gawker's report.
The informant in the mayor's office purported to know the address and unit number where the video was being held.
They went on to say that the video originally belonged to an individual who may have been killed for its potentially valuable contents, according to a source.
On Monday, Gawker announced it had raised enough money to buy the video.
The people selling the footage asked editor John Cook for $200,000 after allowing him to watch it on an iPhone earlier in May. But in the final days of the "Crackstarter" campaign, Gawker reported that its confidence in the deal had diminished after the sellers became unreachable.
Gawker has pledged to donate all the money to a "Canadian non-profit that helps people suffering from addiction and its consequences" if the deal doesn't go through within one month, though some organizations say they don't want the money.
Also on Monday, Ford's press secretary George Christopoulos and deputy press secretary Isaac Ransom quit without explanation.
They join Ford's Chief of Staff Mark Towhey in the administration's post-scandal exodus. Last Thursday, Towhey was fired after reportedly advising Ford to seek medical help.
Rob Ford, meanwhile, has maintained his innocence from the moment the news broke.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," he said in a press conference. "As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist." He called reports that the video existed "false." He called journalists pursuing the story "a bunch of maggots" — remarks he later apologized for.
Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at email@example.com.
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