Meet Sandro Lisi: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his entourage keep making headlines

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his entourage of friends, underlings and unscrupulous associates continue to make headlines as details are unveiled surrounding an investigation into the alleged video tape of the mayor smoking from what appears to be a crack pipe.

The Toronto Star released an in-depth report on the latest details, including confirmation that the Toronto police "are investigating attempts by associates of Mayor Rob Ford to retrieve the crack cocaine video."

It is a compelling piece, filled with fresh details and a new cast of characters, worth a read by even those set on overlooking any and all uncomfortable questions about Ford.

[ More Brew: Rob Ford holds on tight as Hazel McCallion reels in big fish ]

The most pressing point is that police are investigating the actions of Alexander "Sandro" Lisi, a Ford friend and occasional body guard who the newspaper claims participated in the search for the alleged crack video in the days after news of its existence spread.

He was joined on the mission by another Ford ally, David Price. But we are already well aware of that thread.

Here is Lisi's history with the law, as reported by the Star:

[C]onvictions for threatening death to one woman, and assault and threatening bodily harm to a second woman. He entered into a peace bond with a third woman who accused him of assault and threatening death. He also has been charged three times with drug possession. Only one of those charges led to a conviction, for which he was given an absolute discharge.

These are the people with whom Toronto’s chief magistrate associates. Also named in the Star report is Bruno Bellissimo, a Ford chum with a drug history who was the subject of a late-night prison visit by the mayor himself, according to the Globe and Mail.

More reports with details about a police investigation compounded by more reports that lawyers have obtained a copy of the video. As Warren Kinsella writes, "The noose is tightening."

[ More Brew: Rob Ford’s crack video controversy inspires TV show ]

Here are the other weekend headlines about Ford.

Globe and Mail: Ford calls a special city council meeting to determine how to replace Coun. Doug Holyday, who is leaving his seat and roles as deputy mayor after being elected in the provincial byelection.

Ford prefers a byelection to replace Holyday, although the proximity to the next municipal election makes some fiscally-minded councillors consider a temporary appointment more economical.

NOW Magazine: Ford refuses to answer questions about that bizarre jail visit. He said he has already addressed the issue publicly. When reporters asked his press secretary for further details, he said he hadn't been paying attention. You can't teach loyalty.

National Post: A Toronto councillor is nearly finished painting a portrait of the mayor as a present for Ford's mother. Gary Crawford, a member of Ford's executive committee, has been tweeting his progress on the portrait. Interesting tidbit? Crawford ran the idea past the city's integrity commissioner to make sure giving a gift to the mayor's mother was above board. You can never be too careful.

Toronto Sun: Joe Warmington got a chance to interview the mayor and got the juicy goods on a "scandal" from the past. Remember that bucket of chicken Ford was spotted purchasing during his public weight loss campaign? Allegedly not for him. He says he bought it for a family that lived nearby. “I just left it because if they wanted to say it was me, fine. But it was for someone else,” he said.

What a bizarre admission about an issue that long ago ceased to matter, if it ever did.

The other news out of the Sun story is that Ford doesn't plan on participating in many candidate debates next election. Which should help him avoid answering any uncomfortable questions.

Ford also told the Sun that he was drinking at buddy's house the night of the Taste of the Danforth street festival, the night he was videotaped in a highly-questionable state. He had previously claimed he had a couple beers while at the event.

Now the question remains, which upstanding member of Ford’s running crew was he partying with that night?

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