May 21, 2013 11:25 am

Eyes on Toronto city hall for latest response from Ford camp in video scandal

TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford continued to hold his tongue Tuesday regarding allegations that he was recorded on video appearing to smoke crack cocaine.

But he didn’t keep quiet when it came to a controversial proposal to build a casino in the city.

When the mayor stood to speak during a special council meeting on the matter, many hoped he would address the latest scandal to plague his tenure.

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Instead, he delivered a six-minute speech on the casino issue, then left the room without taking questions.

Earlier, Ford ignored a crush of reporters waiting outside his city hall office on the chance he might comment on the alleged video.

It was unclear whether the mayor planned to discuss the allegations later in the day, as many allies and rivals have urged him to do.

Ford’s silence over the long weekend did not quiet the controversy after the Toronto Star and the U.S.-based website Gawker.com reported staff had separately viewed cellphone footage which they said appears to show Ford smoking crack.

On Friday, Ford slammed the Toronto Star report on the video as a smear job and called it “ridiculous,” while his lawyer Dennis Morris called the reports “false and defamatory.”

Morris told The Canadian Press on Sunday that he had not received any instructions from Ford about launching legal action against the Star and Gawker, saying the matter was in “pause” until it’s known whether a video will become public.

The media outlets reported the video was shown to them by an alleged drug dealer who has been reportedly trying to sell it for at least $100,000.

Gawker has been trying to crowdsource $200,000 to buy and publicly post the footage and had raised $84,839 by early Tuesday.

© The Canadian Press, 2013

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