May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Toronto Police say they are reviewing allegations that Mayor Rob Ford was caught on video using cocaine.
“We are closely monitoring the situation,” Constable Tony Vella, spokesman for the Toronto Police Service, said in a statement over the phone when asked if they would investigate.
Ford, who has come under fire at city council in the past over allegations of conflict of interest, said the video reports are “ridiculous.” He said the story in the Toronto Star is another example of the newspaper “going after me.”
Ford spoke to reporters at city hall after the Star reported that two of its reporters watched a video allegedly showing Ford inhaling from a crack cocaine pipe. Bloomberg News has not seen the video and can’t verify its authenticity.
The video allegedly shows Ford, 43, sitting in a chair in a room, wearing a white shirt with the top buttons open, and inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe, the Star reported.
The mayor of Canada’s largest city, who campaigned for mayor with the slogan “Stop the Gravy Train”, has faced mounting criticism since he was first elected in October 2010.
Ford, elected with 47 percent of the vote on a vow to expand the city’s subway system, came up against a council that endorsed a surface rail plan. He faced opposition on council in his drive to cut costs by contracting out services such as garbage collection.
Most recently, Ford faced ouster when a Superior Court judge found he broke the city’s conflict of interest rules over donations he collected for his high school football charity. A divisional court overturned the decision in January, finding him not guilty and he kept his job. Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who represents Toronto citizen Paul Magder in the case against Ford, said he’s submitted the case to the Supreme Court.
Sarah Thomson, who sought the mayoralty in 2010, said via social media and on television interviews that Ford grabbed her while taking a photo at an event and made inappropriate comments. Ford said in a statement at the time that the allegations were “absolutely, completely false.”
The mayor, who vowed to stop the “war on the car,” was once photographed reading a newspaper while driving on a city expressway and ditched the city’s annual gay pride parade, breaking with mayoral tradition of supporting the largest pride parade in North America, to go to his family cottage.
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