Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Another Ford in drug flap

Paper says he was hash dealer in '80s

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TORONTO -- The man who has staunchly defended the mayor of Canada's largest city through a storm of crack-cocaine-use allegations spent Saturday angrily lashing out at a claim that he himself once sold hashish for several years in Toronto.

An incensed Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor's older brother, vehemently denied the allegations contained in a national newspaper article as he took the media to task for what he suggested were relentless attacks on his family.

In a five-page story published Saturday, the Globe and Mail alleged Ford was once a hashish dealer in the '80s -- but both Ford and his lawyer called the accusations false.

"They aren't true," Ford told The Canadian Press. "Do you know who can be the judge and jury of this? The people."

When asked if he had ever sold hashish, a visibly angry Ford said "no, I haven't, ever."

The Globe article came just a day after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford broke a weeklong silence over a reported video that showed him smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. He said he does not use crack cocaine nor is he an addict of the drug.

Doug Ford, who has publicly appeared as a pillar of support to his brother, found himself at the centre of attention on Saturday after the Globe quoted sources described as drug dealers and users as saying the mayor's right-hand-man allegedly dealt drugs in west-end Toronto long before he sought office.

The newspaper -- which said it discovered the information over the past 18 months while researching a larger piece on the Ford family -- noted it could find no record of any criminal charge for illegal drug possession or trafficking against Ford.

When explaining to readers how its story was in the public interest, the Globe noted the Ford brothers hold sway over much of the city's business and have campaigned on anti-drug platforms.

"The rest of city council, and citizens at large, deserve to understand the moral record of their leaders. In most matters, public or private, character matters," Globe editor-in-chief John Stackhouse wrote in a column accompanying Saturday's article.

When asked if he was going to sue the Globe, Ford said he hadn't decided yet.

"We're going to keep that option on the table there," he said. "I'm dealing with the lawyers right now."

Ford did lash out personally at Stackhouse, however, in an interview with a local Toronto television station.

"John Stackhouse, you're a disgusting human being in my opinion," he said in an interview on CP24, looking directly at the camera. "If you have a family, if you have kids, how would you like me to do some investigative reporting on you?"

For his part, Stackhouse shrugged off Ford's personal barbs.

"He can attack us all he wants, that's not the point and probably not the question most Torontonians want answered right now," he said in an interview, adding the Globe had tried repeatedly to get Ford to comment on its story before it was published.

"The (Ford) family understandably is frustrated but they've been refusing for some time to speak openly and transparently to the public about some serious issues."

In the interview with CP24, Doug Ford talked about his years of community service as a rotary member and said he and his family have worked hard for Toronto.

"All we've done is give back service above self," he said.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2013 A5

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