“I have nothing left to hide,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Tuesday afternoon, when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine and then concluded that since he had come clean, he was ready to move forward and run for office again next year.
Nevertheless, the mayor’s confessional moment, aimed at cauterizing his troubled city stewardship after six months of controversy, still leaves a number of unanswered questions.
Was Mr. Ford only an occasional crack user?
In suddenly disclosing that “yes, I have smoked crack cocaine,” Mr. Ford insisted that he was not an addict and suggested it only happened once, while he was too inebriated to remember.
“Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors.”
Beyond the obvious parsing that he admitted to several drunken-stupor moments where he could have indulged in crack, a court document details many intriguing interactions between the mayor and his occasional driver, Alessandro “Sandro” Lisi, who is facing drug trafficking charges.
According to a 474-page police affidavit filed to obtain a search warrant, during six months of undercover surveillance, Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi had numerous rendezvous that were conducted in increasingly covert manners, on occasion handing each others bags and envelopes.
“[Former Ford staffer] Nico Fidani had brought up concerns that Lisi was providing the Mayor with illegal drugs. Fidani thought that Lisi would drive the Mayor around to ‘hot spots’s and facilitate getting drugs for the Mayor,” the police documents alleged.
The affidavit further alleges that “If the mayor is obtaining illegal narcotics then it is probably Sandro who is taking him to get them”
Another former staffer, Chris Fickle, told investigators he heard “that ‘Sandro’ may be the person who provides the mayor with marijuana and possibly cocaine.”
The affidavit’s allegations have yet to tested in court. Large swaths of the document were blacked before its release last week but more details might be released.
Will Mr. Ford address other issues raised by his infamous video?
The controversy started in May when the U.S. website Gawker and the Toronto Star revealed that they had been approached by someone peddling a video of an incoherent Mr. Ford smoking from a glass pipe.
In addition to the allegation that he smoked crack, the journalists who were shown the video reported that it showed Mr. Ford calling federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau a “fag” and his high school football players “f––– minorities.”
Also left unaddressed is that, according to those who saw the video, someone else was present, a man who was out of camera sight but whose voice could be heard egging Mr. Ford into making offensive remarks.
It is not known who that man is and why was he trying to embarrass Mr. Ford.
Was Mr. Ford paying the utility bills for the crack house where the video was recorded?
The video is believed to have been recorded at 15 Windsor Road in Etobicoke.
According to the court affidavit, a source told police that “15 Windsor Road is a `trap’ house. The house belongs to a couple of crackheads but Dixon guys go there often to `chop’ crack or just hang out and get drunk.”
The affidavit speaks of a notebook that came into police possession. The origin of the notebook is blacked out but the affidavit suggests it is tied to Mr. Ford.
“In the first entry from January 7th, 2013 it lists contacting the water department for 15 Windsor Rd in relation to the water department,” the affidavit says, adding that “In the last entry from March 20, 2013 it appears to be a list of bills outstanding for 15 Windsor Rd.”
It was during that period that the video is alleged to have been recorded.
“One possible explanation for these entries could be that the Mayor is dealing with house maintenance and bill payment at 15 Windsor Rd,” the police document concludes.
Mr. Ford has also not explained under what circumstances he was photographed outside that house with Anthony Smith, a suspected gang member who was later murdered.
Did Mr. Ford attempt to use his office as Mayor of Toronto to get information from police?
According to the affidavit, in August, after Mr. Ford spotted the police surveillance, his staffers called the Toronto police, wanting to know who was in a vehicle that had been following the mayor for a week and a half.
After the police said the information was confidential, the mayor’s chief of staff, Earl Provost called to complain that the mayor was “getting angry… because he can’t give him what he wants.”
Police offered to speak directly with Mr. Ford, but the mayor never followed up.
The affidavit concludes: “I believe that the above attempts by Provost to obtain registration details for Mayor Ford 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.”
Why was the mayor seeking to meet an inmate in an after-hours jail visit?
Sources have told The Globe and Mail that, in late March, Mr. Ford showed up at the Toronto West Detention centre at 7 p.m., about three hours after official visiting hours, and asked if he could have a tour. When the request was denied, he asked without success to meet a then-inmate named Bruno Bellissimo, who was in custody on assault charges and is described in the affidavit as a “self-admitted ‘crack user.’”
In the afternoon before the attempted detention centre visit, the mayor and Mr. Lisi spoke three times. Between March 18 and June 14, Mr. Lisi and Mr. Bellissimo made five points of telephone contact, each time originating with Mr. Lisi.
Will Mr. Ford explain how he came to give Mr. Lisi an endorsement on official letterhead?
The letter only became public after Mr. Lisi was charged with drug offences last month. It was written when Mr. Lisi was facing sentencing for threatening to kill his former girlfriend. He received a suspended sentence and a two-year probation. He is now appealing.
In the document, the mayor described Mr. Lisi as an “an exemplary member” of Mr. Ford’s 2010 election campaign team, one who demonstrated “tact and diplomacy.”
“I have known Mr. Lisi for several years, and he has always conducted himself in a courteous and polite manner,” Mr. Ford stated in the one-page note dated June 4, 2013, and printed on the mayor’s official City of Toronto letterhead.
Mr. Ford’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, however, told reporters that he wasn’t familiar with Mr. Lisi.
“I have never met this person,” Doug Ford said.