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Morning Brew: Alleged Rob Ford crack video is "gone," Ford hires his radio producer, David Miller joins WWF, a $248 million surplus, and Walmart says it's listening

Gawker is reporting the alleged video of Rob Ford smoking crack may be "gone." Writing yesterday, editor John Cook, who reported viewing the recording, says the person holding the recording wants to be left alone and told an intermediary the recording was "gone." The site raised over $200,000 to buy the tape and has said it will give the money to charity if it isn't claimed by the end of the month.

Rob Ford's newest hire is the former producer of his Newstalk 1010 radio show. Dan Jacobs told the Toronto Star he starts work on Friday, making him the sixth person the mayor has hired in the wake several high profile office departures last week. Most of the new staff have little political experience.

From one mayor to another, David Miller has announced he has been hired as the CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada. The former Toronto mayor, praised during his term for his green initiatives, will take over in September. Since leaving office Miller has worked with law firm Aird and Berlis and the World Bank. He said he hasn't regretted leaving politics "for a second."

The City of Toronto ended 2012 with a $248 million surplus thanks in part to an increase in the land transfer tax Rob Ford wants to cut. The extra cash will be used to fund future capital projects and beef up emergency reserves of cash. In the past the case was used to fill holes in the operating budget,

Tunneling for the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT will officially begin later today when Transportation Minister Glen Murray throws what I assume is a big switch and engages the first of three giant tunnel boring machines. Two more subway diggers will begin work next year and with a little bit of luck the project will wrap up in 2020.

The turf war over the University of Toronto's back campus is heading to city council. A plan by the university to tear up the real Kentucky blue grass and replace it with an artificial surface in time for a Pan Am Games hockey event has caused anger. Local councillor Adam Vaughan wants to designate the area a protected heritage site.

Finally, Walmart Canada says it's listening carefully to the concerns of Kensington Market residents opposed to a new superstore on Bathurst Street. The company is considering becoming the main tenant in a proposed three-storey development on the site of the old Kromer Radio building. A local petition against the store has attracted more than 35,000 signatures.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Jrperida/blogTO Flickr pool.

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