Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is in the headlines again as documents related to the arrest of his friend Alessandro Lisi are released. But this isn't the first time the mayor has been questioned over the activities of his friends or acquaintances. Here's a who's-who of some of the names that have come up recently:
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Alessandro 'Sandro' Lisi, 35:
After news of Mr. Lisi's arrest on drug and conspiracy charges, Mr. Ford described the man as "a friend," and "a good guy." In recent months, Mr. Lisi has frequently been seen at the mayor's side - blocking reporters from the mayor during heated media scrums, and ferrying Mr. Ford to official events like the Garrison Ball in February. Neighbours told the Globe in August that Mr. Ford has been a frequent visitor at Mr. Lisi's home, sometimes visiting as often as three or four nights in a row. Mr. Ford said that he's "very surprised" by Mr. Lisi's arrest, and that he has never seen his friend use drugs. According to police notes, air surveillance of Mr. Lisi began as early as June 26, 2013 and Mr. Lisi is related to someone who went to high school with Mr. Ford's brother Doug Ford and staffer David Price. A police document alleges that the investigation of Mr. Lisi was sparked by media reports about an alleged video of Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine. Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced on Oct. 31 that police are in possession of a 'recovered digital video file', which will be presented in court, and Mr. Lisi has been charged with extortion. The video was seized on June 13 and is consistent with images published in the press, Chief Blair says. Police conducted forensic evidence of the video on Oct. 29. The document says that, between Aug. 7 and Sept. 19, Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi were in contact 349 times by phone. It also includes multiple accounts of meetings between Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi, at least one of which mentions police specifically following Mr. Ford and identifying him as the mayor.
Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail
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Payman Aboodowleh, 38:
Mayor Ford brought Mr. Aboodowleh, who has a history of violent crimes, onboard at Don Bosco as a football coach around 2007. It’s unclear how Mr. Ford and Mr. Aboodowleh first came to know each other, but several sources told The Globe that Mr. Aboodowleh served as an 'enforcer' for Mr. Lisi (the mayor’s friend and occasional driver). The Toronto Catholic District School Board says it was unaware of Mr. Aboodowleh's criminal past -- which includes charges for assaulting a peace officer in 2009, assaulting his brother, and break and enter – because it was supplied with a false name for the police records check. A review of criminal records in the Ministry of Attorney-General's database also shows that Mr. Aboodowleh has, in the past, used his brother's name during encounters with police. Police documents contain detail of run-ins that Mr. Aboodowleh and Mr. Lisi, who have apparently been good friends since high school, had with police as recently as last year. In May, 2012, the two fo them were investigated by officers 'in relation to marijuana,' though no charges were laid. According to the documents, Mr. Aboodowleh said he was mad at Mr. Lisi because he was fuelling Mr. Ford's drug abuse.
Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
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Bruno Bellissimo, 43:
Mr. Bellissimo has had numerous run-ins with police over the years, and what numerous sources described to the Globe as a history of drug-related activity. In late March, Mayor Ford arrived after-hours at Toronto West Detention centre, and, according to a number of sources, indicated he wanted to meet with Mr. Bellissimo, who was jailed on assault charges. That visit request was denied. According to Mr. Bellissimo's mother, the mayor and her son have been friends "since Bruno was small." Mr. Ford has not responded to questions about why he went to visit Mr. Bellissimo.
J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail
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Anthony Smith, Mohammad Khattak and Monir Kasim:
This photograph was circulated along with the alleged Ford drug video, according to Gawker and The Toronto Star, in an attempt to show Mr. Ford's alleged connections to drugs. Anthony Smith, pictured on Mr. Ford's right, was gunned down in front of a King St. nightclub in March. On Mr. Ford's left are Monir Kasim and Mohammad Khattak, alleged gang members who were both later arrested in the June Project Traveller raids. Mr. Ford's lawyer told the Globe that the mayor has his photo taken with people all the time, and likely would not even remember when it was taken. Police documents refer to the residence where the picture was taken as a crack house. According to police documents, Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi spoke on the phone seven times on Mar. 28 – the night Mr. Smith was murdered.
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Fabio Basso, 45, and his sister Elena Johnson, 52 (pictured):
The now-famous photo of Mr. Ford with Smith, Kasim and Khattak, was taken in front of the Basso house in northwest Etobicoke, and just steps from the Dixon Road apartments where the Project Traveller raids took place. Both Mr. Basso and Ms. Johnson have a criminal history. Last year, Mr. Basso was caught stealing DVDs and fabric softener from Walmart. His sister Ms. Johnson pleaded guilty two years ago to trafficking cocaine. The home was the site of an armed invasion May 21, where a man forced his way in and assaulted two residents with a weapon, police said. According to a neighbour, Mr. Ford was 'close' to Mr. Basso in high school. Police documents refer to the Basso house residence as a crack house. Documents also state that Mr. Basso spoke on the phone with Mr. Lisi two days after the killing of Mr. Smith.
Kevin van Paassen/The Globe and Mail
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Mr. Price is the mayor's director of operations and logistics, and also his former football coach. In September, the mayor told reporters that it's "no one's business what happens in my office," after it was revealed that GO Transit is investigating several incidents involving Mr. Price. Transit officials are investigating alleged incidents of abusive behaviour by Mr. Price toward transit employees, including yelling at a worker and damaging a door. In June, Mr. Price was briefly suspended from the mayor's office, after it was revealed that he had made repeated calls to Mr. Ford's radio show to praise the mayor, but without identifying himself as a staffer. A Globe investigation in May also revealed that Mr. Price was a participant in the mayor's brother Doug Ford's hash business in the 1980s. Doug Ford has denied the report, and Mr. Price has not responded to requests for comment. According to police documents, a meeting took place between police and Mr. Price on June 19 at TPS headquarters. From that interview, police learned that Mr. Lisi was a 'personal friend' of the Mayor's, and drove him from time to time. Mr. Price told police he had never seen Mr. Lisi high or doing drugs, or delivering drugs to the mayor, but apparently told police he had 'concerns about Lisi.' Mr. Price and Mr. Lisi exchanged 21 calls and texts between March 18 and June 24 – most of them on May 17, the day after reports were published describing the alleged crack video.
Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail
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Mr. Towhey is Mr. Ford's former chief of staff. Police documents state that Mr. Towhey 'had suspicions that [Mr. Lisi] was a drug dealer.'
Peter Power/The Globe and Mail
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Mr. Fickel is a former staffer of Mr. Ford. Police documents state Mr. Fickel met with Mr. Lisi on several occasions. Mr. Fickel said he met Mr. Lisi for the first time when he drobbed Mr. Aboodowleh off at Mr. Lisi's home. Mr. Fickel said that Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi were together 'a lot' in January, 2013, and that people at city hall were 'starting to wonder' who Mr. Lisi was because he was driving the Mayor a few times a week.
Matthew Sherwood/The Globe and Mail
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Mr. Bahrami , owner of Richview Cleaners in Toronto, was arrested and charged on Oct. 1 with possession of cocaine, trafficking in marijuana, and conspiracy. Mr. Bahrami's charges are connected with the investigation into and charges against Mr. Lisi. According to police documents, Mr. Bahrami told an undercover officer Mr. Lisi was his supplier.
Peter Power/The Globe and Mail