You have no doubt heard the on-going saga of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Though the video has never been publicly shown, three reporters have allegedly seen video of Ford smoking what appears to be crack cocaine with a group of Somali immigrant drug dealers. They appear to be the ones who are shopping the video of Ford smoking said crack. For the last week or more he’s been dodging the press and clearly unwilling and presumably unable to deny the videos existence or authenticity. Yesterday he emerged to give a classic non-denial denial of his apparent drug use.
Looking at this from the outside, setting aside that it’s problematic to have a serving mayor caught on tape doing drugs, I’ve had to ask: how does the sitting Mayor end up carousing with Somali crack dealers and smoking crack? Well, we may have an answer. The Globe and Mail has just published a lengthy, very lengthy look at the Ford family. And basically all Ford’s siblings have substantial past ties to the drug trade.It starts with Doug Ford, who isn’t just the Mayor’s brother, but also sits on the City Council. Back in the 80s, according to the article, Doug was a pretty major hashish dealer. Now, when I first read this I was thinking, how much does this really matter? Lots of people sold drugs to friends when they were young and then went on to perfectly normal, even establishmentarian lives. That’s part of what this was. Doug’s dealing apparently ran from when he was 15 to 22. So pretty young.
But it’s a bit more than that. He wasn’t just dealing to friends. According to the Globe and Mail, he was the guy who supplied other street level dealers. So it was a pretty big operation. Like others in this story, Doug Ford seems to have been on the margin between drug dealers and drug traffickers. Not just people dealing to support their own habits but people running pretty elaborate and presumably profitable enterprises. And bear in mind, these kids weren’t growing up in rough inner city poverty. They came from a very wealthy family and lived in an exclusive neighborhood.
(Here’s a somewhat bizarre video of Doug Ford denying … or well, not really denying but kind of maybe denying the allegations.)
So way back when, current city councilor and brother Doug Ford was a dealer. Apparently Randy Ford, another brother was too. But he was the crazy one. But before we get to him let’s discuss Marco Orlando. He was allegedly one of the guys Doug supplied and who was himself a dealer. Only Marco was a bit of a goof fell behind on what he owed Doug.
So this happened …
He was also supplied a lot of drugs on credit but was notoriously unreliable when it came to paying for them. Among his suppliers, the suspicion was that Marco was sharing his illicit proceeds with his parents and feigning poverty. So two weeks before Christmas, they hatched a plan, said “Tom,” a drug dealer who said he was involved in the scheme.
On a Tuesday night, with the usual throng of young adults outside the Bank of Montreal at the Royal York Plaza, Marco was jumped, beaten and thrown into a car. He was driven more than 30 kilometres to a basement in Bolton, where someone called his parents, demanding they hand over the money. For 10 hours, Mr. Orlando was captive, but his parents didn’t panic. Instead, they called the police. Within three days, all three men allegedly involved in the plot were under arrest.
Randy Ford was one of those arrested for the kidnapping. The guy who represented Randy, Dennis Morris, is the same lawyer represented the current Mayor in the crack situation.
Then there’s the sister Kathy.
Last year, her long time boyfriend, who’s also a convicted crack and hash dealer, was charged with threatening the Mayor’s (i.e., her brother’s) life. But it was probably clear that Scott MacIntyre wasn’t a great guy back in 2005 when he and a friend were charged with shooting Kathy in the face. (She survived.)
And she’d had relationship problems before – like when her drug addict ex-husband shot and killed her then-current boyfriend. And there’s a whole other part of the story which is that the boyfriend who was killed was a big white supremacist and apparently Kathy was too. But it’s notable that her associates in the white supremacist world were apparently also major drug dealers.
Now the big stuff appears to be relatively far in the past. And the article is clear that Rob Ford, the Mayor, who was a couple years younger, does not seem to have been actively involved in the brothers’ drug business himself. But what the article also notes is that a lot of people from the Fords’ drug dealing days – people who were in the business themselves – are part of the Mayor’s current entourage.
It is, to put it mildly, a really weird story. It’s also important to note that the big stuff happened when all these guys were younger. To get the full feel for it, read the article. But after reading it, you’ll be a whole lot less surprised that the Mayor was off smoking crack with some Somali crack dealers.