TODAY   |  May 29, 2013

Toronto mayor denies alleged crack video

Rob Ford, mayor of Toronto, is under fire after the Toronto Star reported he has a substance abuse problem and was caught on camera smoking a crack pipe. He denies the allegations. NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> now some shocking allegations north of the border involving the mayor of toronto , the largest city in canada. nbc's kevin tibbles is there for us. kevin , what's going on?

>> reporter: hey, matt, they have got a name for this place. many in canada call it toronto , the good. well, allegations there's a videotape out there purportedly showing this city's mayor using illegal drugs is causing quite an uproar here. toronto 's mayor rob ford celebrated his 44th birthday on tuesday handing out cake and trying to carry on business as usual at a city hall meeting.

>> that's all the items. review quickly.

>> reporter: mounting trouble for ford who was elected in 2010 is threatening to derail his administration.

>> is this the worst allegation you've heard so far.

>> reporter: ford is under fire following recent newspaper reports in the " toronto star " that he has a substance abuse problem and that there's a videotape appearing to show him smoking a crack pipe, allegations he strongly denies.

>> i do not use crack cocaine nor am i an addict of crack cocaine . i cannot comment on a video that i've never seen or does not exist.

>> reporter: two reporters for the " toronto star " say they saw the 90-second cell phone video for themselves.

>> the video, which appears to be real, shows mayor rob ford in a room, his shirt open, lulling back in his chair and appears to be smoking a crack pipe.

>> the man in the video who we believe is mayor rob ford appears stumbling. he seems incoherent. he rambles.

>> reporter: those claims bring to mind another big-city scandal, washington, d.c. martin mariettaion berry was videotaped smoking crack back in 1990 . he served six months in a federal prison and was re- elected mayor in 1994 . as for the purported ford videotape, both the " toronto star " and the website gawker claim that self-described drug dealers offered to sell the tape to them for $200,000. so far, however, it's not been shown publicly. ford's deputy mayor says real or not, he welcomes the release of the video.

>> i think if we can get the video, we can analyze the video and see if it's doctored or if it's real and we can go from there. that would clear up a lot of things.

>> reporter: while gawker says it's now raised the $200,000 in order to purchase the alijd video, well, no one has heard recently from the people who said that they were supposedly selling it. matt?

>> kevin tibbles in toronto . kevin , thank you very much. hard to imagine why the mayor would come out forcefully and say i do not smoke crack. i'm not addicted.

>> right.

>> if he were afraid that this video would come out showing him to be lying.

>> no question about it. that being said, any time you have to hold a press conference and say i don't smoke crack, not a great day, not at all.

>> definitely not.