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Mayor Rob Ford faces persistent questions over reports linking staff to police tip

Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto on Ontario on May 28, 2013 with aide David Price before the Executive Committee Meeting. Today is Mr. Ford's 44th birthday.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is not answering questions about why two members of his staff talked to police about a video he has insisted does not exist.

Mr. Ford, at City Hall on Tuesday for a day-long meeting of his executive, tried to turn the page on allegations he was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine, but failed to deflect a constant barrage of questions about how much he and his staff knew about the alleged video.

"People are looking for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and right now, people are not satisfied," said councillor John Parker, once regarded as a member of the mayor's camp, predicting the questions will continue. The video allegations, now in their second week, are attracting international attention, most recently a segment on CNN in the United States.

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The Globe and Mail has reported that Mr. Ford's then chief of staff, Mark Towhey, went to the police after a tip from Dave Price, a staffer in the mayor's office and long-time friend of the Ford family.

On May 17, the day after the website Gawker broke the video story, Mr. Price told Mr. Towhey he had reliable information about the location of the video, a source in the mayor's office said. He gave an address and a unit on Dixon Road, and Mr. Towhey told him not to try to find the video, a source said. The source said Mr. Price added that his informant told him the video's original owner was killed by someone for it. Police have since said the interviews are not related to any ongoing homicide investigation.

According to the source, Mr. Price insisted to Mr. Towhey the intelligence was dependable, and Mr. Towhey gave the information to police. Police confirmed members of its homicide squad interviewed Mr. Towhey and the force took a statement from Mr. Price. Neither the mayor nor Mr. Price responded to requests for comment.

When asked about his staff's knowledge of the video on Tuesday, the mayor said: "Ask my staff."

The mayor's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, said he had no knowledge of the video or the tip from Mr. Price, telling reporters: "If anyone ever approached me with a video, I'd call the police, instantly."

The mayor said on his Sunday radio show that the video does not exist.

The mayor used a late-day news conference to go on the attack, lashing out at proposed provincial transit taxes, and talking up his own cost-cutting efforts. When asked again about his staff's involvement in the search for the video, he responded,"I have addressed those concerns," and ended the press conference.

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With reports from Kat Sieniuc

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief

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National reporter

Patrick previously worked in the Globe's Winnipeg bureau, covering the Prairies and Nunavut, and at Toronto City Hall. He is a National Magazine Award recipient and author of the book Mountie In Mukluks. More

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