Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's friend, alleged drug dealer Alessandro Lisi, warned police that "your guy is going to get his" after his arrest back in October – an apparent reference to a complaint that would be later filed against Chief Bill Blair.
The revelation once again heats up a long-simmering battle between the mayor's office and the city's head of police. It also comes on the same day that Chief Blair denounced the mayor's sexually explicit comments about him in a video as "deeply offensive."
Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said Wednesday that Mr. Lisi – a former driver for the mayor who faces charges of drug trafficking and extortion related to the video that shows the mayor smoking crack cocaine – made the comment in an interview with investigators shortly after his arrest. "It came across not as a heads-up, but as a threat," Mr. Pugash said Mr. Lisi told investigators. "He said, 'Your guy is going to get his.'" When Mr. Lisi was asked to clarify who he meant by "your guy," Mr. Pugash said he replied "Chief Blair."
The police chief and the mayor have been at odds since October of last year, when Chief Blair revealed in a news conference that police had a copy of the so-called "crack video." Chief Blair's comment at that conference – telling reporters he was "disappointed" by what he saw – prompted the mayor's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, to make a complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
Mr. Pugash said Mr. Lisi's comments appeared to foreshadow Councillor Ford's complaint. Chief Blair made similar remarks to various media Wednesday, saying he believed Mr. Lisi's comments to be warning of the OIPRD complaint.
But Councillor Ford shot back Wednesday evening, describing the chief's comments as "political."
"It's unfortunate that the chief wants to play politics rather than focus on policing," he said. "I don't know Lisi. I've never talked to Lisi in my life. I don't condone anything Lisi says. What Lisi says, that's Lisi. What the chief says, that's the chief."
On the same day, Chief Blair told reporters he was offended by a video that shows Mayor Ford swearing and using sexually explicit language to describe him.
The video, which shows a rambling Mr. Ford speaking in Jamaican patois, was filmed late at night at the Steak Queen restaurant in Etobicoke and posted to YouTube last month. Afterward, Mayor Ford – who last year vowed to quit drugs and alcohol – admitted he'd been drinking before the video was filmed.
"He began the rant with calling me a pretty filthy obscenity, and quite frankly, most of the rest – even though it was in patois – those are also obscenities," Chief Blair said in an interview with CP24. "It was disgusting … my kids saw that. My daughters heard that," he added.
Mayor Ford did not respond to several questions about Chief Blair's comments as he emerged from a meeting of big city mayors in Ottawa on Wednesday.