After reaching its goal of raising $200,000 from members of the public, Gawker says it still hasn't heard from the owner of the alleged crack video.
After successfully capping off the “Rob Ford Crackstarter,” an online fundraising campaign intended to pay for a video that supposedly shows Mayor Rob Ford smoking from a crack pipe, Gawker editor John Cook says he’s still having difficulty getting in touch with the person who offered to sell him the video in the first place.
In a post published on Gawker Tuesday morning, Cook says that an alleged crack dealer, who is believed to have the video on an iPhone, has yet to claim the $201,254 contributed by members of the public to the Crackstarter. “You won’t hear anything more from us about our attempts to get the video for some time,” he writes. “This will be a very delicate transaction.” In a previous post, published last week, Cook had warned potential contributors to the Crackstarter that an outcome like this was a strong possibility.
In an interview published this morning on the Globe‘s website, Cook outlines a more concrete timetable. “I’d say give them a month,” he told the paper. “If I hear nothing but silence, then I can only conclude that for whatever reasons, the people who have it are no longer motivated to sell it even though we’ve got a huge amount of money that we’ve raised and that was what they asked for.”
We won’t speculate on why someone in possession of an item redeemable for a life-changing amount of money wouldn’t rush to claim the reward, but suffice it say that this is weird, and getting weirder. A photograph supplied to reporters by the source of the crack video—not a screengrab from the video itself, but a still picture provided to demonstrate the tipster had contact with the mayor—shows Rob Ford with his arms around three young men, one of whom appears to Anthony Smith, who was later killed in a shooting. Now, the Star reports that another of the men in that photo was injured in that same shooting. Meanwhile, the Globe reports that Dave Price, a member of Ford’s staff, was told by a third party that the video’s original owner had been killed for the video. As a result, the police are now actively involved, though they’re telling reporters that their involvement is not part of a homicide investigation.
Meanwhile, at City Hall today, reporters asked Ford why members of his staff believe they have information about a video he maintains does not exist. He said reporters would have to ask those staffers, who have not responded to inquiries.
If, as Ford has said, this is all business as usual, then Toronto politics has become a very strange business.