Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wipes his brow in the council chamber at city hall as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers on Monday November 18, 2013. Newly released documents say police overheard alleged gang members on wiretaps talking about delivering drugs to Ford and having pictures of him using drugs, suggesting the images could be used for blackmail. Chris Young/Canadian Press
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford made attempts to buy the video of him smoking crack and also allegedly used heroin in April of this year, newly released police wiretap documents suggest.
Police earlier this year listened to a conversation between two alleged drug dealers, in which they discussed being offered $5,000 — and a car — in exchange for a video.
Though he is not mentioned by name, police believe the men were describing an offer from Ford.The phone call took place on March 27, some two months before reports first surfaced of a video that purported to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Following those reports, Ford insisted no such video existed.
Also on the wiretaps, intercepted by police in the Project Brazen 2 investigation, is a conversation in the early hours of April 20, 2013, about Ford using marijuana and heroin.
The allegations are unproven and have not been tested in court.
The latest documents, including wiretaps from phone conversations, were ordered released by Superior Court Justice Ian Nordheimer.
Lawyers for media organizations including the CBC fought for the release of information to obtain, or ITO, documents since Alexander (Sandro) Lisi was arrested and charged with extortion in early October.
The latest release describes phone conversations among Lisi, Elena Basso, who lives at 15 Windsor Rd. where Ford was famously photographed with three young men, and various gang members in Rexdale. Ford himself does not speak on the wiretaps.
However, the mayor’s name appears frequently, mostly in relation to obtaining the mayor's missing phone and the alleged crack video that was being offered to the mayor for money.
Mohammed Siad, the owner of the video, was not satisfied with the offer of $5,000 and a car. He is heard on the wiretap telling another member of the Dixon City Bloods that he was going to see Ford and ask for $100,000 to $150,000.
The following events appear on the wiretaps from the early morning of April 20, 2013:
- In a conversation between Elena Basso and Liban Siyad, she mentions Ford was at 15 Windsor Rd., suggesting Siyad come over to meet with the mayor.
- Siyad says he was to deliver drugs to the mayor.
- Abdullahi Harun tells Siyad on the phone that Ford is smoking "dugga" or marijuana, and has "so much pictures" of Ford doing "hezza" or heroin. Siyad asks Harun to photograph the mayor doing drugs because the photos would be worth money.
- Siyad says "that the mayor of the city Rob Ford was smoking his rocks today," and "advised he was at [15 Windsor] house and that he will put a picture up on Instagram."
- Lisi calls Siyad to say Ford is "freaking out" that he is missing his phone. Siyad says he can get it back. Lisi threatens to "put heat" on Dixon Road.
- Siyad didn't heed the threat, since he says he has photos of the mayor "on the pipe."
Later in the wiretaps, it's alleged that Siad was kidnapped by other members of the Dixon gang and threatened over his attempts to sell the video. In the documents the police say they had no evidence to confirm the kidnapping.
The documents also touch on Anthony Smith — one of the three men photographed with Ford at 15 Windsor Rd. Smith was shot and killed on March 28 and police were looking into the possibility that his cellphone was stolen at the time of his murder.
Ford staffer David Price told police that he had received an anonymous call — shortly after the first reports were published about the crack video — from someone saying Smith was killed for his phone, which contained the video, the documents say.
But the police don't think that's true and, in the documents, say Smith may have been killed in retaliation for a robbery.
Lisi was the focus of the initial drug-trafficking investigation, but the mayor appears in other surveillance reports.
At the end of October, police revealed they had obtained a copy of a video file that was consistent with what the media had reported in the spring.
In early November, Ford did an about-face and admitted to having smoked crack cocaine while serving as mayor of Toronto, despite having denied for months that he had done so.
He also admitted to drinking to excess and to being “extremely inebriated” in a separate video that emerged after the Toronto Star paid to obtain it, which showed Ford ranting and swearing.
There was also an uproar over a crude sexual comment the mayor made when speaking to reporters about allegations that appeared in a police document.
Council moved to strip the mayor of selected powers in the wake of the many admissions the mayor made about his behaviour.
A large majority of councillors urged the mayor to take a leave of absence, but he defied their calls to do so.
Councillors react to allegations
The latest allegations brought a fresh round of criticism from some councillors, and questions about why the mayor has not been charged by police.
"You don’t want to see someone suffering this way, and he needs help. And I hope his family gets him that help. It’s gone beyond criminal, it’s medical," Coun. Adam Vaughan told CBC News.
"But this notion of two-tiered policing is a worrisome one," he added. "If you’re a kid on the street, you shouldn’t be policed differently than someone who just happens to hold the mayor’s office as a trust fund."
The Toronto police chief needs to explain "how justice has been administered here," said Vaughan.
Chief Bill Blair said the case was reviewed by investigators and the Crown.
"Where reasonable probable grounds to lay a charge exist, charges have been laid," Blair told reporters Wednesday. "But that's up to the investigators in consultation with the Crown."