Photo by Ben Spurr
Rob Ford refused to answer questions about the latest troubling details of the drug scandal swamping his office on Tuesday, directing reporters to speak to his staff instead.
On the way in to his City Hall office at around 9:15 a.m., the mayor was asked by waiting journalists about a Toronto Star report that a member of his staff, David Price, considered attempting to obtain a cell phone video that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine.
The story, published Tuesday morning, claimed that on May 17 Price told Ford's former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, that he might know where the video was. Towhey reportedly then called the police.
The mayor fired Towhey last week, amidst reports he had urged Ford to seek treatment for a substance abuse problem.
Ford has denied that the video exists, but did not do so again on Tuesday. "You'll have to ask my staff," was all he would say when asked if someone in his office had tried to retrieve the video. Price was beside him as he entered his office, but didn't respond to any questions either.
A short time later Ford walked from his office to a committee room for a meeting of his executive. He was again swarmed by reporters asking why it appears that someone in his office believes the tape exists.
"All I know is, uh," Ford began, before being drowned out by reporters. Asked to complete his sentence he said, "I don't know" and laughed.
Ford then attempted to shift the conversation to an item on the executive committee's agenda, saying "We got good news today. Sixty-five million dollars in savings on the shared services study. If you look at that, that's what we're doing. We're saving the taxpayers $65 million a year, every year."
He was silent when asked what Price's role in his office is, whether staff tried to obtain the video, and what his relationship was to Anthony Smith, a man he was photographed with who was later shot dead, on March 28, in the Entertainment District.
The Star reported that Price speculated he may have been killed over the video.
Councillor John Parker believes the mayor will continue to be bombarded by questions until the public is convinced that all the details of the increasingly murky scandal have come to light.
"People are looking for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," Parker said. "And right now, people are not satisfied that that's what they've received so I expect the questions to continue to come."
Asked if he believes the mayor can govern effectively with the drug allegations hanging over his head, Parker said, "I guess we'll all find out."