Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may have tried to buy a video of himself smoking crack cocaine for $5,000 and a car, according to information gleaned from police wiretaps and included in a document released to the public.
That shocking revelation is only one claim made in previously redacted portions of a police document used to secure a warrant against Ford's friend Alexander Lisi, charged with drug trafficking and extortion — stemming from alleged attempts to retrieve the video.
The document is known as an “Information to Obtain” (ITO) and has been publicly released in pieces over the past few weeks, detailing shocking claims of impropriety by the mayor — made in interviews with police investigators, observed by officers and captured on wiretaps.
Now, according to information released publicly on Wednesday, police wiretaps caught a suspected gang member discussing an offer of $5,000 and a car apparently made by Ford in exchange for the infamous crack video.
The offer is said to have been made in April, nearly two months before Gawker and the Toronto Star reported being approached by those selling and detailing the contents of the video.Ford originally stated that he could not comment on a video he hadn’t seen or did not exist. In October, Police Chief Bill Blair confirmed investigators had secured a copy of the video and, shortly after, Ford confessed to smoking crack cocaine.
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Blair told reporters on Wednesday that police have conducted their investigation and turned evidence over to the courts. He said it remained up to investigators and the Crown whether charges are laid.
No charges have been laid against Ford and none of the allegations made in the ITO have been proven in court.
Previous information released through the ITO detailed a variety of Ford’s drunken indiscretions and alleged connections to a criminal underworld.
On Wednesday, information obtained through several wiretaps linked the Toronto mayor to an attempt to purchase the video.
The wiretaps detail a conversation between two men believed to be selling the video from March 18, 2013. One of the men, Siyadin Abdi, refers to an offer of "five thousand and a car" — allegedly an offer made by Ford — to which the other man responds that he'll "meet with him and ask for '150.'"
The new information also details a bid to retrieve Ford’s missing cell phone. According to wiretaps from around 1 a.m. on April 20, Liban Siyad, an alleged gangster, was called to 15 Windsor Rd., because "Rob Ford wants some drugs."
Later in the day, Lisi contacted Siyad and accused him of stealing Ford's cell phone and demanded he return it. Lisi warned that the mayor would bring heat down on the Dixon area.
In following phone calls, Siyad is said to be displeased with the threats and "indicated that they have a picture of Ford 'on a pipe' (believed to be a crack pipe), and therefore will not tolerate threats."
The phone was allegedly recovered by Lisi in exchange for marijuana. This is where Lisi’s extortion charge stems from.
Also included in the document were details about deceased alleged gang member Anthony Smith. Smith, pictured with Ford in a photo that was shopped around with the video, was killed in downtown Toronto on March 28.
The Toronto Star reports that police were told by David Price, Ford’s close friend and director of logistics, that it was Smith’s phone that recorded the notorious video, and that it may have been the motive behind his death.
Wiretaps from the night of the shooting, however, made police doubt this motive and instead suspect Smith’s death to be retribution for a robbery the previous year.
Harun was wounded by a gunshot on May 21 in an apartment building where, four days earlier, Ford allegedly told members of his staff the video could be found.
Many more questions have been raised with the release of this new information. Ford, however, left city hall on Wednesday without comment.His next scheduled public appearance is Thursday morning, on a Washington, D.C., sports radio show.