The journalist who broke the story alleging Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was recorded on video smoking crack cocaine says he may never be able to get his hands on the evidence.

In a post on the Gawker website, editor John Cook says the campaign to raise money to pay a crack dealer $200,000 for the video faces a potential snag, as he has been unable to get in touch with the person who has the evidence.

"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.

The website says it has raised more than $159,000 of the $200,000 it says it needs to buy the tape.

"At the rate it's going, we will reach our goal by Saturday, if not sooner," Cook writes.

The "tipster" who connected Cook with the person possessing the video "has told us that hasn't been able to make contact with the owner of the video in recent days."

Cook writes that if the $200,000 goal is not met then no money will be drawn from anyone's account.

But if the goal is achieved and Gawker is still unable to find the video, it will donate the money to a "Canadian non-profit that addresses substance abuse issues. We haven't figured out which one yet, but I'm sure we'll be able to select a worthy one."