TORONTO May 21 Toronto's mayor, facing
allegations that he has been caught on video smoking crack
cocaine, saw his dreams of a building a full-service casino in
the heart of Canada's largest city dashed on Tuesday, as council
voted against allowing any new gaming facilities.
Rob Ford avoided any contact with reporters at City Hall and
did not address allegations from two media outlets that say they
have seen a cellphone video that appears to show him smoking
On Friday, he said only that the idea was "ridiculous". His
lawyer told Reuters on Monday that it was still too early to
consider legal action over the allegations and that if there is
a video, it needs to be made public so that Canadians can judge
the content for themselves.
The usually divided city council voted overwhelmingly in
favor of not allowing any new gambling sites within the city
and, in a far-tighter second vote, to not allow an expansion of
gambling at a racetrack in the northwest corrner of the city.
It was a major defeat for Ford, who had for months
championed a downtown casino and conference center as a revenue
building tool for the city.
Ford pulled back last week, after it became apparent the
revenue-sharing deal the province of Ontario was offering
Toronto if it would host a downtown casino was far less rich
than the mayor and his allies had hoped.
Plans for a major downtown casino were unpopular from the
start with many residents, who worried it would bring profits at
the expense of problem gamblers and lead to an increase in
Ford has suffered a series of controversies and defeats
since coming to power in December 2010. He has drawn criticism
for skipping city council meetings to coach high-school football
and for engaging in a confrontation with a reporter outside his
He was ordered out of office in 2012 after he was found
guilty of conflict of interest, but won an appeal and was
allowed to finish his four-year term
Reporters for the Toronto Star and Gawker Media said last
week that they had watched a cellphone video that appears to
show Ford smoking crack, although both news outlets said they
had declined to pay the $100,000 price asked by the tipsters.
Gawker has launched a "Crackstarter" campaign to raise funds
needed to buy and publish the video online.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson; and