TORONTO — For days, Toronto residents have kept a close eye on an online fundraiser designed to come up with the $200,000 asking price for a video which allegedly shows someone who resembles Mayor Rob Ford smoking what could be crack cocaine.
But with the tally inching ever-closer to the goal, it now seems the “crackstarter” project has hit a bit of a snag. Gawker editor John Cook says he can no longer contact the sellers of the alleged recording.
“The last time we established contact with the people who are in possession of the video was this past Sunday, and we have not been able to reach them since,” Cook writes in a post on Gawker.com.
“We were initially made aware of the video by a tipster, who connected us with the owner of the video after we traveled to Toronto,” Cook writes. “We’ve been in relatively constant communication with the tipster since then. But he has told us that hasn’t been able to make contact with the owner of the video in recent days.”
Global News has not seen the video in question and cannot independently verify its authenticity. Ford has called the allegations he smoked crack cocaine “ridiculous,” and his brother, councillor Doug Ford, backed him up.
Gawker says it has raised more than $159,000 of the $200,000 it needs to buy the video.
“At the rate it’s going, we will reach our goal by Saturday, if not sooner,” Cook writes.
The campaign officially ends on Monday night.
If Gawker is not able to acquire the video, Cook plans to donate the money to a Canadian charity that addresses substance abuse and addiction issues.