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The Scandal and Legacy of Rob Ford: A Timeline (video)

Rob Ford and the Crack Cocaine Video

The Scandal and Legacy of Rob Ford: A Timeline (video)

In May 2013, the American website Gawker and the Toronto Star reported viewing a cellphone video showing then-Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, smoking crack cocaine and commenting on political issues. Despite Gawker raising funds to purchase the video, the seller broke off contact, and the video was not acquired.

Police Possession and Extortion Charges

On October 31, 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced they had obtained the video and another related video during “Project Traveller,” an investigation into drug gangs. Ford’s associate, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, was charged with extortion for attempting to retrieve the video in exchange for marijuana.

Photo Evidence and Gang Connections

Reporters from the Toronto Star and Gawker received a photo of Ford standing with three individuals outside the home where the video was filmed. These individuals were later identified as Anthony Smith, Muhammad Khattak, and Monir Kassim, alleged members of a local gang. The house was identified as belonging to a friend of Ford’s from high school. Smith was killed in March 2013, while Khattak and Kassim were arrested in June 2013.

Ford’s Denial and Admission

Ford initially denied the video’s existence and using crack cocaine. Despite calls for his resignation from the Toronto City Council and major newspaper editorial boards, Ford refused to step down. On November 5, 2013, Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine “probably in one of my drunken stupors” and hiding his drug abuse from his family and staff. He pledged to continue as mayor.

Loss of Mayoral Powers

In November 2013, the Toronto City Council voted to strip Ford of most of his mayoral powers, effectively making Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly the de facto Acting Mayor.

Second Video and Rehab

On April 30, 2014, a second video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine emerged. Ford took a leave of absence starting May 1, 2014, to enter drug rehabilitation, during which Norm Kelly served as Acting Mayor. Ford did not run for re-election in 2014 but successfully ran for his former City Council seat, serving until his death from cancer on March 22, 2016.

Release of the Video and Legal Outcomes

In August 2016, the Toronto Police Service released the original video of Ford smoking crack. Subsequently, the remaining charges against Lisi were dropped.

Ford’s Death and Legacy

Rob Ford died on March 22, 2016, after battling an aggressive form of cancer. Despite his controversial mayoral term, Ford was remembered by some as a tireless advocate for taxpayers. His death prompted condolences from various political figures, highlighting his deeply felt convictions and commitment to public service. Ford’s legacy remains marked by both his political achievements and his public struggles with substance abuse.


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