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Toronto mayor: ‘I do not use crack cocaine’

TORONTO, May 25 (UPI) — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who was fired Wednesday as football coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, said Friday he does not use crack cocaine.

Ford — under pressure to address allegations of drug use since a Toronto Star report last week that he appeared to smoke crack cocaine in a cellphone video — denied the allegation as he spoke to reporters at City Hall Friday.

“I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” he said. “As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist. It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate, that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I have been judged by the media without any evidence.”

The Star said it learned of the video because a group of Somali men had offered to sell it. The report said the Star did not pay for the video but the seller permitted two reporters to view it three times May 3.

The reporters said the video appears to show an incoherent Ford inhaling from a crack pipe. At one point, he calls Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau a disparaging name related to homosexuality and at another, while discussing his role as Don Bosco coach, he appears to say the players are “just [expletive] minorities.”

The Toronto Catholic District School Board announced Wednesday Ford was let go as football coach. A district spokesman told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. the decision to fire Ford was based on comments the mayor made in a March 1 Sun News Network interview in which he referred to the school community as “crime ridden,” and called its young people “gang bangers.”

In his statement Friday, Ford said the past week has “taken a great toll on my family and my friends and the great people of Toronto.”

The statement came after top Ford advisers, including Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, issued an open letter to Toronto Friday urging him to “definitively address the allegations before him.”

The Toronto Sun reported Ford fired his chief of staff, Mark Towhey, because he was tired of hearing Towhey tell him to go to rehab.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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