Besieged Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is back in the news amid reports that the house where Ford was photographed with murder victim Anthony Smith has been identified.
New York City gossip website Gawker says that the house is located in the Etobicoke neighborhood of Toronto near the intersection of Windsor Road and Kingsview Boulevard and is a known haven for drug activity in the area.
CBC News reports that Toronto police responded to a call about an assault in progress at the residence just days after news broke of a video allegedly showing Ford smoking crack cocaine.
According to police spokesperson Mark Pugash, a man forcibly entered the house brandishing a weapon and assaulted two people. Police told CBC news they have “"no information that the suspect was looking for a video,” something which has been reported by various news outlets.
The Toronto Star indicates that residents of the house include Mario Basso, 40, Fabio Basso, 45, and Elena Basso, 51. The house is owned by their mother, Lina, who also lives there. Ford and Fabio are reportedly longtime friends dating back to high school, a visitor to the home told the Star.
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Anthony Smith, the 21-year-old man in the photograph with Ford, was killed outside a Toronto nightclub in March.
Mayor Ford has not commented on his alleged ties to the house.
Ford, already a polarizing figure in Toronto, has become the center of an international media frenzy over the past few weeks. On May 16, Gawker reported it had seen a video purporting to show the mayor smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine and attempted to raise $200,000 to buy and publish the video. On May 17, the Toronto Star said it had also seen the tape.
"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine," Ford said in a statement. “I cannot comment on a video I have never seen or does not exist.”
Ford continues to resist calls for his resignation and says he plans to run for another term as mayor in 2014. “I guarantee my name will be on the ballot, he said. “I can’t wait to get on the campaign trail.”