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Ford video cash donated

TORONTO -- Roughly $200,000 raised in the hopes of buying an alleged video appearing to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine will instead be going to several Canadian organizations.

U.S.-based gossip website Gawker had promised to donate the money collected through an online campaign if the video didn't surface.

Six weeks after reaching its fundraising goal, the site published a message Thursday saying the cash will be split between four Canadian organizations dealing with issues related to substance abuse.

It named the Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke, the South Riverdale Community Health Centre, Unison Health and Community Services and the Ontario Regional Addictions Partnership Committee.

Each organization will receive about $46,200, or a quarter of the money left after Gawker paid off fees incurred during the campaign, the website said Thursday.

Gawker said Indiegogo, the crowdfunding site that hosted the campaign, and PayPal, which processed the payments, each withheld part of the money for their services.

Redford blasts colleague

EDMONTON -- Alberta Premier Alison Redford says she is "disgusted" by the arrest of one of her caucus colleagues in a prostitution sting while on government business in the United States.

Redford says Mike Allen's conduct was "more than inappropriate" when he was attending a legislative conference in St. Paul, Minn.

Allen was arrested Monday night by police and faces a possible charge of soliciting a prostitute.

"You'll know that in Alberta when I was justice minister, we started doing work with respect to the sexual exploitation of women and human trafficking. This is an issue that is very close to my heart," Redford told reporters Thursday morning at her annual K-Days breakfast in Edmonton.

"I was shocked and disappointed to see the conduct. It's not at all the standard of conduct I would expect from anyone in our caucus."

Allen has resigned from the governing Progressive Conservative caucus, but he remains as an Independent MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo.

Officers in St. Paul had posted a fake ad on an online site for escorts and massage services called Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos said Allen responded to the ad and information was exchanged through cellphone texts about when and where he would meet two female undercover officers.

Allen met the pair and agreed to pay about $200 for a threesome, Paulos said. A team of officers then quickly placed him under arrest.

Redford said she demanded Allen reimburse the government for all the expenses he incurred on the trip and she said it is her understanding that he has done so.

Video poster gets bail

EDMONTON -- The owner of a website that posted a grisly video at the centre of the Luka Magnotta murder case has been granted bail but won't be allowed to use the Internet.

A judge ordered that Mark Marek, who operates, be released from the Edmonton Remand Centre on Thursday on $7,500 cash bail.

Police charged Marek on Tuesday with one count of corrupting morals, a rarely used offence in the Criminal Code.

Marek, 38, appeared in court on a closed-circuit TV screen and tried to talk about his website. Provincial court Judge Elizabeth Johnson cut him off, explaining that she only wanted to hear information about whether he is a flight risk.

A limited publication ban was issued covering details about the video, entitled "1 Lunatic 1 Ice Pick."

It was posted on the website a year ago and allegedly shows the killing and dismemberment of Chinese university student Jun Lin in Montreal. Parts of Lin's body were mailed across Canada in a crime that made headlines around the world.

Magnotta, a former porn actor and stripper, was the focus of an international manhunt and was arrested in June 2012 in Berlin. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and is to stand trial in September 2014.

Police allege that Magnotta sent Marek the video and Marek posted it online while knowing that it depicted a real killing.

Inquiry gets testy

ELLIOT LAKE, Ont. -- The son of the owner of the Algo Centre Mall found himself branded a liar Thursday during cross-examination on his fourth and final day on the stand at the inquiry into the deadly collapse of the building last summer.

Lawyers accused Levon Nazarian of hiding evidence about the mall's state of disrepair, and of resorting to unethical behaviour to protect his father, who risked losing the facility.

Rob MacRae, who represents an engineer who found the mall structurally sound just weeks before it collapsed, said concrete fell in a store around June 2011 but Nazarian hid the fact.

Nazarian responded by saying the mall manager had told him there was nothing to worry about because the fallen material was fire-proofing, not concrete.

The manager was then instructed to tell the engineer, Bob Wood, to investigate, Nazarian said.

"I put it to you that's an absolute fabrication," MacRae said.

"You're not only misleading the commission, you're lying."

"Absolutely not, sir," Nazarian said.

B.C. leader resigns

VANCOUVER -- The leader of the B.C. Conservative Party has resigned a little more than two months after a disappointing finish in the provincial election.

The Conservatives were considered a serious threat to the B.C. Liberals during two byelections last year.

But the party imploded before the May 14 vote amid infighting and demands for John Cummins' resignation, which he successfully deflected.

Cummins came a distant third in his own riding, and the party managed to garner only 4.8 per cent of the popular vote.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 19, 2013 A15

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