Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during a city council meeting yesterday
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's big brother came to his defence today, over allegations the mayor was videotaped smoking what appears to be crack cocaine.
Without taking any questions, councillor Doug Ford read a statement to reporters, saying the mayor doesn't need to comment just because the media wants him to.
"I'm not speaking for the mayor. The mayor's my brother. I love him and he'll speak for himself. He has already addressed these allegations three times on Friday. I don't know how much more he can say," Doug Ford said.
"My brother is an honest and hardworking man with integrity, a man who has dedicated his life to serving others."
"Rob's telling me these stories are untrue, that the accusations are ridiculous, and I believe him. I will always support my brother as the mayor of this city because I believe in his track record," he said.
"All of this, of course, is overshadowed by the constant stream of accusations coming forward against this mayor," Ford said.
"If the mayor stopped and held a press conference every time the media made up a story about him, we would never have accomplished what we have."
Toronto councillor Doug Ford prepares to read a statement to reporters
The alleged video was reported last week by The Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker, which has since started a crowdsourcing campaign to try to raise $200,000 to buy the alleged video and make it public.
As of this writing, nearly $120,000 has been raised with six days to go.
CBC News hasn't seen the alleged video and hasn't been able to confirm the claims being made. It's believed to be in the possession of drug dealers, who are apparently looking to sell it for a "six-figure payment."
Mayor Ford has hardly said anything about the allegations, except that they're untrue and "ridiculous", and accusing The Toronto Star of "going after" him.
Last night, both 'The Daily Show' with Jon Stewart and 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' kicked off their shows with material and parodies on Rob Ford.
As the Canadian Press reports, "Several U.S. websites published lists of some of Ford's most outrageous public proclamations, with Slate.com even coming up with a quiz comparing some of the mayor's comments to those of Mayor Quimby on TV's "The Simpsons."
The idea is to read each comment and choose which mayor - Ford or Quimby - actually said it. Here are a few examples:
- "Are these morons getting dumber or just louder?"
- "It's hard to hide 300 pounds of fun."
- "Water is the healthiest form of liquid."
- "Very well, if that is the way the winds are blowing, let no one say I don't also blow."
- "Let's call a spade a spade. The left would have taken it and just wanted to spend it on crazy, stupid things like more social programs ..."
Slate also put together 'A Video Introduction To Rob Ford' which you can watch right here.
Even Conrad Black has weighed in telling The Toronto Star, Rob Ford is "like the embarrassing guest at a family Christmas party."
This morning, a small group of reporters caught up with Mayor Ford outside a Tim Horton's/gas station to try to get a comment from him.
"Are you going to escort me all the way to city hall, too?" Ford asked.
When asked about when he would address the allegations, Ford told one reporter: "Better pack up your pillow and your sleeping bag outside, partner. Or do you want me to make your bed for you tonight? You can sleep out there again."
When asked "Is that you in the video, sir?" and whether he'd ever smoked crack, Ford didn't answer. But he did pose for a photo with a customer, who told Ford "we love you in this city."
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford during a city council meeting yesterday
In his statement today, Doug Ford said his family has been "harassed" since reports of the alleged video came out.
"Never has a Canadian politician or his family been targeted by the media this way. They zealously stalk my mother, my children... and harasses our family at home."
He also criticized Gawker for starting the fundraising campaign calling it "disgusting and morally wrong." "Trying to give away prizes to raise money for drug dealers and extortionists is disgraceful," he said.
Toronto councillor Doug Ford reading a statement to reporters
One public relations expert said Doug Ford's statement was "among the worst damage control limitation statements I have seen in 40 years of watching this kind of work."
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday told reporters today he's not sure why the mayor hasn't said anything further.
"Certainly I wanted to hear from Rob and not Doug," Holyday said.
"The only thing I've been able to get from him and some people on his staff is, I guess, that the lawyers that they are dealing with suggest the less they say at this point, the better," he said. "For what reason that is, I don't know."
Holyday said he has asked the mayor to address the controversy directly.
"Until he does that, it won't go away," Holyday said. "And it might not go away then, but at least people will have a choice of what to believe."
Meantime, Mayor Ford has been let go as coach of a Toronto high school senior football team, the Don Bosco Eagles.
The Toronto District Catholic school board said it has decided to pursue a "different direction" with a new volunteer head coach and thanked for Ford for his commitment.
A spokesperson told CBC News the decision is "in no way related to the current allegations. It is due to the review of his March 1 Sun News Network interview."
John Yan said Ford painted the Don Bosco community negatively when he referred to it as "crime ridden," and the youth as "gang bangers."
In the alleged video, it's been reported Ford makes offensive remarks about his high school football players as well as Justin Trudeau.
Ford has often pointed to his coaching of the team as an example of his dedication to helping others.
Here are a few other reads worth checking out on this story.
Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star: To End Rob Ford Crack Scandal Uncertainty, Star Must Buy The Video
Christie Blatchford, National Post: If The Rob Ford Video Is A Fake, Why Hasn't He Said So?
Joe Warmington, The Toronto Sun: Mayor Rob Ford Has Not Been Charged
Josh Barro, Bloomberg: The Almost-Good Reasons Toronto Elected Rob Ford
Jason Magder, The Montreal Gazette: Rob Ford Crackstarter: Crowdfunding Gone Wild Or Democracy In Action?
Robyn Urback, The National Post: Stop Funding The Rob Ford Crackstarter
Russell Smith, The Globe & Mail: Rob Ford & The Case Against Paying Sources For Information
Geoffrey Rowan, o.canada.com: Opportunity Cost Of The Rob Ford Distraction Just Keeps Growing
Heather Mallick, Toronto Star: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Has Ruined The City's Reputation For Good