Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford offered to give violent gang members $5,000 and a car in return for video footage of him smoking crack cocaine, a new report alleges.
Transcripts of police wiretaps show that two members of the Dixon Bloods — a notorious street gang of Somali immigrants — discussed Ford's offer to buy the 90-second cellphone video, but rejected it on the grounds that it was not enough money. They wanted $150,000, according to The Toronto Star
The video, according to the newspaper, is said to show an incoherent Ford inhaling deeply from a glass crack pipe he is heating with a lighter. Throughout the footage, his eyes are half-closed and he sometimes waves his arms around erratically.
Ford has admitted to smoking crack while in a "drunken stupor"
but maintains that he is not an addict and does not need help. He has refused to resign and the council in Canada's largest city does not have the power to fire him. Last month, the council voted to strip him of most of his authority and put the deputy mayor in charge.
Ford has not been charged with any crime and has ignored calls for his resignation.
Police brought charges against gang members in June after a series of raids.
The wiretapped conversations were released as part of a 450-page police file ordered to be made public by a judge after media lawyers petitioned for their disclosure.
Ford first appeared on law enforcement's radar in February, when police on a stakeout at a notorious Toronto crack den recorded him visiting the home, The Star reports. Wiretaps were soon issued for "people who partied with Ford and provided him drugs."
Ford apparently wielded power in the Dixon Road area of the city where the Bloods are based, threatening to "bring heat" back in April if his cellphone — stolen during a drug party — was not returned, according to a conversation between Ford's friend and driver, Alexander "Sandro" Lisi. Ford got his phone back.
Lisi was slapped with drug extortion charges as part of law enforcement's year-long investigation into drug trafficking activity at the crack house, Reuters reports
"Gang members 'love' Ford, one man said on a wiretap, but they were all well aware that photos and videos of the mayor were a valuable commodity and insurance against him calling in police to expose their activities," according to The Star.
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