As of this writing, the Rob Ford Crackstarter—our attempt to crowdfund $200,000 to purchase and publish a video of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine—has exceeded $145,000. At the rate it's going, we will reach our goal by Saturday, if not sooner. Since it looks like the money may actually come together, we are going to lay out the present state of play as clearly as we can. First order of business: The last time we established contact with the people who are in possession of the video was this past Sunday, and we have not been able to reach them since.
As we mentioned when we launched the campaign, folks who are involved in the crack trade tend not to be the most reliable people in the world. This has proven to be the case when it comes to the owner of the video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. We were initially made aware of the video by a tipster, who connected us with the owner of the video after we traveled to Toronto. We've been in relatively constant communication with the tipster since then. But he has told us that hasn't been able to make contact with the owner of the video in recent days.
There is a good explanation for this. The Rob Ford Crack Tape has become an object of intense scrutiny and interest in Toronto, and in Canada generally. The owner of the video is presumably frightened and skittish, and it's not entirely unreasonable that he would go to ground. We didn't consider it that remarkable for the first half of the week that he was hard for our tipster to reach. At this point, we have no idea why he is out of touch, or if he even knows about the Crackstarter campaign. He may have decided against selling the video. He may be waiting until the campaign hits its $200,000 mark before coming out of hiding. We simply don't know. (And hey, Rob Ford Crack Tape Owner, if you're reading this: Please get in touch with our mutual friend. If you don't, you risk leaving a lot of money on the table.)
We are of course doing our best to make contact. But in the meantime, it's important that past and future investors in the Crackstarter fund know a few things:
• We have taken in precisely zero dollars thus far. The way this campaign is set up, none of the pledged money is withdrawn from any accounts unless and until the $200,000 goal is met. It has not been met, and we don't have any of the pledged money. If the campaign doesn't reach the goal by Monday afternoon, no one loses any money. No harm, no foul.
• If we end up meeting that goal and fail to consummate this transaction, we will—as we promised at the outset—donate the proceeds to a Canadian nonprofit that addresses substance abuse issues. We haven't figured out which one yet, but I'm sure we'll be able to select a worthy one.
• If you are considering contributing, you should be aware that our confidence that we can get a deal done has, on account of the foregoing, diminished since we came up with this idea. This doesn't mean that it won't happen, or that we won't get a call in ten minutes, or that the publication of this post won't spur the owner of the video to reach out and re-affirm his interest in selling it. But this is where we are at.
So: Proceed with caution. We will update you just as soon as we have any further information on how this might play out. Don't smoke crack.
[Image by Jim Cooke]