I’m not that deep into politics, so before now, I’ve never heard of this Rob Ford guy, who is the mayor of Toronto, but all of that is beside the point. There’s a video out there of a mayor — a CONSERVATIVE mayor — smoking crack from a pipe!

And if Gawker has its way, the world might see this video very soon so that we can all watch it and point and laugh … because who doesn’t want to see a major political figure smoking crack on camera? I most certainly do, and you know you do.

But before I get into this hell of a story — and boy is this a big one — let me put it like this. Toronto is basically the Canadian version of New York City, with a metro population of about 6 million people. That’s about 2 million less than NYC, and about 2 million more than Los Angeles.

So the fact that the mayor of a city with a population density akin to New York City — the biggest and most famous city in the entire world — has been captured … on video … smoking CRACK COCAINE (not a cigarette, not weed, not even cocaine, but CRACK cocaine) is a pretty big deal.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the meat of this here mountain of a story.

Gawker editor John Cook was recently tipped off about the existence of video footage taken within the past six months showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine (and it’s the real deal). To make an extremely long story short … Gawker wants to buy it.

But there’s only one problem. The guy who owns the video wants at least 6 figures for it. And the owner is so serious about their hefty price tag that he turned down a $40,000 offering from a Canadian media outlet that he refused to name.

Cook actually traveled to Toronto so that he could verify the authenticity of the clip in person, and he is 1,0000% certain that the man in the video is Rob Ford. He was even given a nice photo (at the top of this post) showing Ford hanging out with a bunch of college-aged twenty-somethings in an area that looks to be prime for crack smoking. (FYI: The gentlemen on the left, Ford’s right, flipping the bird was shot and killed two months ago outside a Toronto nightclub)

After going back and forth for days with the “tipster,” Cook eventually got a chance to personally meet up with the holder of the video camera that contained the 100% legit footage of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine:

We sit idling in his car, making small talk. The tipster calls the owner and talks in language other than English. “He’ll be right down,” he says. Fifteen minutes pass. “Waiting for the elevator,” he says. Ten minutes pass. A young gentleman opens the rear door of the car and gets in. The two men speak in a language other than English. The young gentleman immediately exits the vehicle. No video.

The tipster looks at me: “The battery is dead.” The young gentleman—the owner of the video—needed to go back upstairs to charge the battery on the device that contained the video. We wait. More small talk.

The owner of the video returns. He thrusts a device, a phone with a touchscreen, in my face. “Can I hold it?” I ask. “No.” I crane my neck. It plays.

Here is what the video shows: Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto, is the only person visible in the frame. Prior to the trip, I spent a lot of time looking at photographs of Rob Ford. The man in the video is Rob Ford. It is well-lit, clear.

Ford is seated, in a room in a house. In one hand is a a clear, glass pipe. The kind with a big globe and two glass cylinders sticking out of it. In the other hand is a lighter. A slurred voice off-camera is ranting about Canadian politics in what sounds like an attempt to goad Ford. “Pierre Trudeau was a faggot!” is the one phrase the lodges in my mind.

Ford, pipe in one hand and lighter in the other, is laughing, and mildly protesting at the sacrilege. He seems to keep trying to light the pipe, but keeps stopping to laugh. He is red-faced and sweaty, heaving with each breath. Finally, he finds his moment and lights up. He inhales.

In one move, the owner stops the video and draws the device back into his pocket.

“You took this?” I ask. “Yes.”

“When?” … “Within the last six months.”

“You’re sure it’s crack?” … “Yes.”

“You’ve seen him smoke crack before?” … “Yes. Gotta jet.”

And he is gone.

Well damn. It looks like Toronto has the Canadian version of Marion Berry running wild up there.

Gawker is looking for a partner to help offset the cost of the video, so if anyone out there wants to help out with this great this cause, feel free to reach out to them! The world needs to see this. Seriously.

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