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Updated: Thu, 27 Feb 2014 08:29:16 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Chief Bill Blair knew Doug Ford attack was coming



Toronto police chief Bill Blair drew the ire of Coun. Doug Ford. Canadian Press

Toronto police chief Bill Blair drew the ire of Coun. Doug Ford. Canadian Press

A spokesman for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says Toronto's top cop was not surprised when Coun. Doug Ford attacked the chief in public comments.

The spokesman says Mayor Rob Ford's friend and occasional driver Sandro Lisi told police that a public attack was coming from the Fords.

The threat was allegedly made while Lisi was in custody after being arrested last October on extortion charges related what police say are his attempts to obtain a video that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Mark Pugash is the director of corporate communications for the police.

"When Sandro Lisi was arrested and he was being interviewed he said, 'You know, your guy is going to get his,' and when the investigators asked 'Well what guy? He said, 'Chief Blair.' He made it clear that what was going to happen … what we eventually saw happen. We fully expected that we would be the subject of an attack, the investigators and the chief of police and that's what happened."

Shortly after Lisi's arrest last fall, Blair appeared at an Oct. 31 news conference where he confirmed police had in their possession a video consistent with media reports about a video that appears to show Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.

In response to a reporter's question, Blair further stated he was "disappointed" that such a tape existed. That comment spurred Coun. Doug Ford to go on the offensive. On CBC Radio's Metro Morning less than a week later, the councillor and mayor's brother called Blair "the most political police chief we've ever had" and said he "needs to step down immediately."

Ford also accused Blair of conflict of interest for going on a fishing trip with police services board member Andy Pringle.

This week Doug Ford brought forward a complaint to the Toronto Police Services Board about Blair, which has since been passed to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.

On Tuesday Alok Mukherjee, the chair of the police services board, told CBC News that Ford's complaint was about Blair's comments at the Oct. 31 press conference. Regarding the fishing trip, Mukherjee said “the board did not have a concern.”

Pugash also responded to comments Rob Ford made about Chief Blair in a video recorded at the Steak Queen restaurant.

In that video, an inebriated Rob Ford swears about Blair and complains about police surveillance against him while speaking in a fake Jamaican accent.

"The comments were disgusting," said Pugash.

Sandro Lisis's lawyers did not respond to CBC's request for comment on this story. Rob Ford also would not comment when asked about the story Wednesday in Ottawa, where he was attending a gathering of big-city mayors.

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