Several prisoners shattered the teeth and broke the leg of Rob Ford’s estranged brother-in-law in a jailhouse beating that was intended to keep him quiet about the Toronto mayor’s abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs, it has been alleged in a lawsuit.
The 2012 jailhouse assault of Scott MacIntyre was orchestrated by Aedan Petros, Mr. MacIntyre has alleged in a statement of claim. Mr. Petros is a 300-pound, violent criminal who played defensive tackle for Mr. Ford when he was the coach of the football team at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School.
When Mr. MacIntyre was attacked in the shower on March 22, 2012, at the Toronto West Detention Centre, it came after several weeks of threats from inmates who urged the 46-year-old repeat offender to “do the right thing,” Mr. MacIntyre said separately in an hour-long interview with The Globe and Mail.
“They wanted to know if I was going to do the right thing –– was I going to keep my mouth shut,” Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe. The inmates and Mr. Petros – a 22-year-old who was jailed in connection with an armed robbery and home invasion and has since been sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary – repeatedly approached Mr. MacIntyre with warnings, such as “there is no use in bringing Rob into this; what’s done behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. … Stuff of that nature,” Mr. MacIntyre said. The statement of claim, filed in Toronto on Wednesday, makes similar allegations about the threats.
An official with the Ministry of Correctional Services, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Globe that Mr. Petros was housed in the same unit of the jail, known as 1B, as Mr. MacIntyre at the time of the assault.
Brent Ross, a ministry spokesman, said an investigation into the beating had been launched, but he declined to release its findings, citing concerns about jail security. Mayor Ford did not respond to a list of questions that was sent to him by e-mail and in a letter. He did, however, speak about The Globe’s inquiries with the Toronto Sun, telling the newspaper that any suggestion that he played a role in the beating is “far fetched” and “way out there.” Mr. Ford’s lawyer and close adviser, Dennis Morris, said the notion that the mayor had advance knowledge of the attack on Mr. MacIntyre was “insanity.”
Mr. Morris said the allegations in the lawsuit are “without fact or foundation.” Mr. Ford has retained Gavin Tighe, a Bay Street litigator, to represent him in the civil suit. Mr. MacIntyre is being represented by Sean Dewart and Tim Gleason, who declined comment.
None of the claims in Mr. MacIntyre’s lawsuit, which lists Mr. Ford, Mr. Petros, another former football coach named Payman Aboodowleh, as well as the Minister of Correctional Services as defendants, have been proven in court.
The lawsuit touches on one of the more enduring mysteries of the scandal that has engulfed Mayor Ford since he became the focus of a sweeping police investigation and admitted to smoking crack cocaine: what was an Ontario provincial court judge referring to in 2012 when he said he inferred that Mr. MacIntyre was beaten in jail because he was “a bother to Mr. Ford?”
Mr. MacIntyre wound up in jail in January, 2012, after police were called to Mayor Ford’s house because of a confrontation between the mayor and Mr. MacIntyre, which culminated with Mr. MacIntyre threatening to kill Mr. Ford. (In his statement of claim, Mr. MacIntyre alleges that the argument stemmed from a debt that was owed to him by his then common-law spouse, Kathy Ford, the mayor’s older sister.) Mr. MacIntyre eventually pleaded guilty to threatening the mayor with death, as well as possession of cocaine and heroin. But when he was sentenced in June, 2012 – several months after the jailhouse attack – the judge presiding over the case, Mr. Justice Paul French, called the attack a case of “so-called jailhouse justice.”
“I infer that it was visited upon Mr. MacIntyre because of his being a bother to Mr. Ford,” Judge French said.
Judge French’s comments were widely reported in the media, though he never elaborated on what led him to this conclusion.
Mr. MacIntyre’s lawsuit and his interview with The Globe are his first public description of the beating that his statement of claim says left him with a severely fractured tibia and fibula, and at least four teeth that were “sheared at the gum line.”
Mr. MacIntyre is familiar with the confines of the Toronto West Detention Centre. He is a convicted drug trafficker who has served prison stints in both Canada and the United Kingdom. He has suffered from a drug addiction that he says he has kicked over the past two years.
So, when he was jailed again in January, 2012, he says he repeatedly asked to be placed in a range of the jail, unit 3A, that typically houses older and calmer inmates. But his requests were denied, his statement of claim alleges, and he continued to be kept in the general population.
“I have been incarcerated many times and I could feel the tension,” Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview. “Plus [the story of the arrest] was all over the news and everybody from the Rexdale area and I was getting bombarded with questions. I just had a bad feeling,” he said.
About two weeks after he was admitted to jail, on Jan. 27, Mr. MacIntyre sent a letter to Kathy Ford, which the court later called a violation of his no-contact order with the mayor. He threatened to cause “a shitstorm.”
“You and your family have one chance to leave me the fuck alone and stop this shit!,” he wrote in the letter. “You and your family think I should play nice! Fuck you.”
But the letter was intercepted by jail officials. As punishment, Mr. MacIntyre was placed in segregation. After his stint was over, jail officials returned him to the general population, the claim alleges.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Petros, said there would be “dire consequences” if he did not remain quiet about the mayor. Mr. Petros was constantly “in my ear,” Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview.
“He was boisterous, overbearing. He was always on me. No matter where I turned, he seemed to be there, like a shadow, constantly,” Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe.
“I would just cut him off and say get lost, leave me alone. And then I would sit down to play cards and if I’d stand up, he’d be right on me, in my ear… He was trying to push himself on me, to intimidate me.”
In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre said he had no recollection of Mr. Petros before his incarceration, except for a phone call that he says the mayor made to Kathy Ford in the summer of 2011, shortly after Mr. Petros was arrested coming out of the home that they had invaded in a search for money and drugs. The mayor was concerned for his former player and he wanted to know whether Mr. MacIntyre had any insight into the implications of Mr. Petros “ripping somebody off that was supposedly to do with the underworld,” Mr. MacIntyre said. “I said I didn’t know the guy and didn’t want to get involved.”
Mr. Petros invoked the name of Mr. Aboodowleh, a former assistant coach on Don Bosco who is a friend of Mr. Ford, Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview. Mr. MacIntyre said he has never met Mr. Aboodowleh, who has an extensive record for crimes of violence. The claim also alleges that a video of the mayor ranting about wanting to kill someone, released in November, was filmed at Mr. Aboodowleh’s house and was referring to Mr. MacIntyre.
Mr. Morris, the mayor’s lawyer, said on behalf of Mr. Ford: “He denies he was going to kill anybody.”
Mr. MacIntyre said jailhouse culture prevented him from asking for Mr. Petros to be moved – “No, you don’t do stuff like that” – and that his only choice was to try to get himself removed from the unit.
But before he could, he says he was attacked. On March 22, as Mr. MacIntyre was drying his head with a towel outside the unit’s showers, he was assaulted, his lawsuit alleges. He said he could not identify his attackers because of the towel, but he told The Globe he was struck and then brought to the ground with either a tackle or a kick to the leg. “I heard the snap and I fell on my back,” he said.
“It felt like forever, but a good minute and a half in real time. It felt like 10 minutes, but probably a minute, minute and a half.”
His statement of claim alleges that the attack was executed by “Petros and another unknown inmate or inmates, or some combination of the foregoing.” In his interview, he said he could not definitively identify Mr. Petros as the attacker because of the towel but that he is certain Mr. Petros was the mastermind behind the beating.
“I’m not saying he was the one that assaulted me, because I’m not sure. But I am saying that he was part and parcel of what happened – because I don’t have enemies,” he said. “But to have this guy in my ear constantly? One plus one equals two.”
The area outside the unit’s showers where the attack unfolded is normally monitored by a video camera, but the “video surveillance had been inexplicably disabled” before the assault, the claim alleges. Immediately after the attack, a guard thrust papers into his face and asked him to explain what had happened, Mr. MacIntyre said. He indicated that he had “slipped” in the shower, an explanation that he acknowledges was not true. (Another source from the Toronto West Detention Centre said it was “implausible” that Mr. MacIntyre’s injuries were the result of falling in the shower.)
He was kept at the jail for 36 hours after the assault, a delay that caused complications in treating his injuries, the claim alleges. At the hospital, where he resided for about two weeks, his leg fracture was repaired with several screws, he said. To this day, Mr. MacIntyre, who has no dental coverage, has been unable to replace his front teeth, he said.
A source with knowledge of the attack on Mr. MacIntyre said the alleged role of a former Don Bosco player, or players, was something that was discussed in at least one court proceeding in the lead-up to Mr. MacIntyre’s sentencing.
Mr. MacIntyre alleges that Mr. Petros, Mr. Ford and Mr. Aboodowleh conspired to have him attacked. When Globe reporters asked what evidence existed that Mr. Ford played any role in the attack, Mr. MacIntyre declined to answer, saying he did not want to discuss such evidence in advance of examination for discovery proceedings.
In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre said that he was never interviewed by anyone from Toronto police.
In an e-mailed statement, the Ministry of Correctional Services said police were not contacted because “the individual in question refused to co-operate in any investigation.”
Mr. Petros did not reply to written requests for an interview, including a letter with detailed questions that was delivered to him through the Correctional Service of Canada.
More than a year before Mr. Petros was incarcerated, he appeared on stage in his Don Bosco jersey at Mr. Ford’s 2010 mayoral campaign kickoff at the Toronto Congress Centre. In a video recording posted online by Mr. Ford’s campaign team, he is shown standing in the background while Nicholas Swaby, another one of the mayor’s former players, described Mr. Ford’s contributions. Since that video was put online, Mr. Swaby was charged with aggravated assault in connection with the 2009 murder of Christopher Skinner. When Mr. Petros was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2012, the assistant Crown attorney who prosecuted him described how his victim was bound, stabbed and threatened with a sawed-off Winchester rifle. His victim, the owner of the home Mr. Petros invaded, “suffered injuries to virtually every part of his body, in addition to extensive swelling and bruising.”
In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre declined to answer many questions about Mr. Ford’s use of illegal drugs and alcohol.
“I have kept my head down, per se, in regards to all this, you know. I’m not talking about personal stuff.”
With reports from Jill Mahoney, Ann Hui and Elizabeth Church