Ten Questions for Rob Ford (More Important Than The Crack One)

More than ten months have passed since the news of Rob Ford's crack video first broke. And while most of the world is focused on the Mayor's drug use, his drunken stupors and his bizarre viral videos, the police investigation continues. New court documents released this week are a reminder that while Ford finally did admit the crack video is real, he's still refusing to answer many of the most important questions related to the scandal. (He's even willing to violently plow through reporters in order to avoid having to answer them.) Substance abuse problems are just the tip of the Rob Ford iceberg. News reports and police documents have tied the Mayor's scandal to alleged kidnapping, home invasion, drug dealing, beatings, death threats, a killing, blackmail and extortion.

Here are ten of the most disturbing questions Toronto is still looking for answers to (many of them raised, of course, by allegations that have yet to be been proven in court):

1. Did you order Sandro Lisi to commit extortion?

So, you know, Sandro Lisi? Your former driver? The guy with a violent criminal past? The one who was recently convicted of making death threats? The one you hang out with in high school parking lots and stage elaborate package-drops with? Well, he's currently not only charged with drug trafficking and possession, but also with extortion. Police allege that in the first few days after the Star and Gawker reported the existence of the crack video, Lisi used "threats or violence or menaces" to get the video back. And according to the phone records, he started calling the guys with the video right after a phone call from you, Mr. Mayor, at the exact same time the crack story was breaking.

Police documents also allege that the man trying to sell the video was kidnapped two weeks later by members of the Dixon City Bloods: "They talked to Siad about 'the video.' Siad was crying, saying he destroyed the video and his family is in trouble. Abdi told Siad that if he saw him in Dixon he would kill him."

Did you order Sandro Lisi to commit extortion? Were you aware of, or involved with, the kidnapping and the death threat?

2. Did you order the attack at 15 Windsor?

Five days after the crack story was first published, someone broke into 15 Windsor, the alleged crack house where the video is thought to have been shot. The Toronto Star reported that "Fabio [Basso, the owner of the house], his girlfriend, and Fabio's mother were assaulted by an unknown attacker brandishing an expandable baton who broke into their home." They also say that Sandro Lisi had been seen there earlier that day. And the day before. According to a Star source, he confronted Basso on the front porch: "'Where are the guys who made the video, Fab,' Lisi said, according to a witness who was present. 'You know where they are.'"

Did you order that attack? Were you involved in the planning of it? Do you know anything about it?

3. Did you order a jailhouse beating?

You are currently being sued by your sister's ex-common-in-law partner, Scott MacIntyre. He says that back in 2012 you ordered one of your former football players to attack him while he was in jail. According to the Toronto Sun, the lawsuit alleges that the attack "left him with a fractured left leg, facial cuts and dental damage. Four or more of his teeth were sheared at the gum line". MacIntyre claims that you ordered the attack in retaliation for his threats to go public with your drug use and criminal connections.

He also claims that he wasn't transported to the hospital until 36 hours after the attack. And that he didn't receive dental care until almost two months later.

Did you order the jailhouse beating of Scott MacIntyre? Did you use connections inside the jail to pull it off — and to keep him from receiving timely treatment for his injuries?

4. Who did you threaten to kill?

In one of your many videos, Mr. Mayor, you are seen threatening to kill someone. "I'll fucking kill that guy," you shout. "I'm telling you, it's first-degree murder... No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die, brother... I'll rip his fucking throat out. I'll poke his eyes out... I'll make sure that motherfucker's dead..."

After the video came out, you admitted that it was "embarrassing" and that you were "extremely, extremely inebriated". But you refused to answer the most important questions.

Like, for instance, who were you threatening to kill?

5. What do you know about the killing of Anthony Smith?

You famously took a photo with alleged gang members outside 15 Windsor. Two of those men — Anthony Smith and Muhammad Khattak — were later shot outside a nightclub on King Street. Smith was killed in the shooting.

Police documents suggest they have found no link between the crack video and the shooting, but there have been many questions raised about the suspicious timing of Smith's death. And you've failed to answer them fully. Back on May 30, the Edmonton Sun wrote, "There is now widespread belief Smith was killed for his phone, which may have contained the video." The CBC reported that "some friends" of Smith believed "he might have had the video stored on his cellphone." And your (now former) chief of staff, Mark Towhey, later revealed that he heard a similar rumour in the days immediately following the first Gawker and Toronto Star reports about the video: "There were a lot of phone calls coming into the office from people... One of our staff received some information from someone he trusted that we didn't know... that [the video] might have been the motive for a murder."

What do you know about the killing of Anthony Smith? How did you meet him? How well did you know him? Did you believe that he knew about — or even had a copy of — the crack video?

6. How did you get your cellphone back?

Last April — a few weeks after Smith was killed and a few weeks before the crack story broke — your cellphone went missing. The National Post reports that you told your staff you lost it while you were cleaning up a park, that you must have left it on the hood of your car and driven off. But police wire taps tell a very different story. They suggest you were doing drugs at 15 Windsor that night. And that your phone was taken by alleged members of the Dixon City Bloods.

Sandro Lisi seems to have tracked it down. According to phone records released in the ITO (court documents submitted by police) last November, he called your cellphone 19 times over the course of 45 minutes in the wee hours of the morning. Later that day, he called Liban Siyad — one of the alleged gang members — and accused him of stealing it. According to the wire taps, he said you were "freaking out" and that you would "put heat on" the Dixon Road apartment complex if they didn't return the phone.

The wire taps suggest that Siyad and his friend ("The Juice Man") agreed to return the phone. They also said they had a photo of you smoking a pipe and had you "in a lot of fucked up situations." According to those wire taps, Lisi agreed to give them a quantity of marijuana in exchange for your phone.

Police also say that Siyad is one of the men who may have been targeted by Lisi's extortion over the crack video a few weeks later.

Did you order Lisi to get your cellphone back? Did you instruct him to exchange drugs for it? Were you willing to use your position as the Mayor of Toronto to "put heat on" a neighbourhood in order to keep your drug use and criminal connections a secret? And, while we're at it, were you ever blackmailed over the cellphone? Or the photo they mentioned? Or the crack video?

7. Have you used your power as Mayor in an attempt to obtain confidential information?

The police say that back in August, you realized someone was following you. They think you and your friends spotted their surveillance vehicle while you were hanging out in your old high school parking lot. Five days later, they say a member of your staff phoned the police to tell them you thought you were being followed. They gave the cops a license plate number that was just one number different from the plate of their surveillance vehicle. The police say they offered to speak with you directly, but you never followed up.

Instead, they say that your new chief of staff, Earl Provost, gave them a call; that he asked them for the registration information of the vehicle. That's confidential information — and the police told him so. According to the ITO, Provost said you were angry with him for not being able to "give him what he wants."

The police claim those actions "clearly indicate that Mayor FORD is utilizing his position and the powers of the Office of the Mayor, to obtain information not available to regular citizens... I believe that Mayor FORD was trying to get the registration information for the vehicle that he and LISI observed on August 18th, 2013."

Is that true, Mr. Mayor? Were you trying to abuse the powers of your office?

8. Have you been paying the bills at 15 Windsor? Or helping the owners get special treatment from the City?

In the ITO, police describe a notebook. They believe it belonged to you or one of your staffers, and say that it contained entries relating to the alleged crack house at 15 Windsor along with the water department and outstanding bills. The police document suggests, "One possible explanation for these entries could be that the Mayor is dealing with house maintenance and bill payment at 15 Windsor Rd."

According to a report by the Toronto Star, a city official told them that in January 2013, a member of your staff "called the city's water department on behalf of resident Fabio Basso regarding a sewage issue at 15 Windsor Rd."

Were you paying bills for a crack house? Did you use your power as the Mayor of Toronto to get them special, expedited treatment for their sewage issues?

9. Did you order a hacker to illegally delete the crack video?

According to a VICE source, at the same time the police say Sandro Lisi was busy with his extortion, one of your current staffers (who was working for your brother, Councillor Doug Ford, at the time, and who has recently stepped aside for cancer treatment) tried to hired a hacker to delete the video off a website. The source claims the hacker was able to access the account, but couldn't delete it.

Do you know anything about that? Did you or your brother order someone to illegally hack into someone's account and delete the video?

10. What was in those mysterious packages?

In the ITO released last November, police surveillance shows you going to elaborate lengths to hide the fact that you were picking up packages from Sandro Lisi. In the ITO released this week, they say that your communications with him are "indicative to that of drug trafficking". The Globe and Mail has also detailed reports of your family's history with drug-dealing, which claim your friend and former staffer David Price and your brother Doug Ford sold large quantities of hash together during the 1980s.

So what was in those packages? Drugs? Nothing else? And if so, do you simply purchase drugs from Lisi? Or is there more to your relationship?


Photo by the West Annex News (cropped, via the Wikimedia Commons)

Posted by Adam Bunch, the Editor-in-Chief of the Little Red Umbrella and the creator of the Toronto Dreams Project. You can read his posts here, follow him on Twitter here, or email him at adam@littleredumbrella.com.

This post also appears on The Toronto Dreams Project Historical Ephemera Blog


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