Mayoral candidate Rob Ford held a news conference Thursday following the publication of a story claiming he offered to help an HIV-positive man find OxyContin illegally.
The man Ford offered to help, Dieter Doneit-Henderson, taped a conversation with the politician when he asked for a hand in finding OxyContin on the street to relieve the pain he was experiencing due to a fractured rib and fibromyalgia, according to the report in the Toronto Sun.
At his press conference Thursday Ford said he’s lodged a complaint with police due to Doneit-Henderson’s allegedly threatening tone during the conversation. The politician said he feared for the safety of his family.
“This man when he was on the phone clearly stated, and you hear the tape, that I’m looking at your house,” Ford said outside his family’s business in northwest Etobicoke Thursday.
“He sounded very disturbed, distressed, and I would say anything … just to get him off the phone.”
Ford and Doneit-Henderson, 30, talked for nearly an hour on June 4. The mayoral hopeful said he believed the man was becoming threatening and mentioned that he knew where Ford and his family live, so he went along with the conversation.
Ford believes he was set up and insists he never intended to help the man obtain the drug. He also made an effort to find Doneit-Henderson and his husband a family doctor by enlisting the help of MPP Donna Cansfield. The couple has reportedly had a hard time finding a physician since moving to Toronto in March.
During the conversation, Doneit-Henderson presses Ford to help him find OxyContin on the street, and Ford says he’ll try – the mayoral hopeful claims he was just telling the man what he wanted to hear.
Ford was introduced to Doneit-Henderson on May 10 by a Toronto Star reporter after a mayoral debate where George Smitherman attacked Ford for his 2006 remark suggesting only gay people and drug addicts get AIDS. Ford visited Doneit-Henderson’s home the following day to offer an apology.
Doneit-Henderson was pleased with the gesture and offered to work on Ford’s campaign.
The taped conversation between Doneit-Henderson and Ford nearly a month later was sent to the Toronto Sun, Xtra, Fab and the Toronto Star, the Sun reports. Doneit-Henderson claims he sent the tape to the press to ensure Ford kept his promise to find him a doctor and says it wasn’t his intention to set-up the politician.
Two recent polls pegged Ford as a front-runner in the race to become Toronto’s next mayor.
Cansfield has also reportedly launched a complaint with Toronto Police over what she claims are threatening emails sent to her office from Doneit-Henderson and his partner.
Doneit-Henderson has reportedly also contacted police over alleged threatening behaviour from Ford’s campaign team.