Ford may have offered alleged gang members cash, car in exchange for video
Sandie Benitah, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:49PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 4, 2013 8:37PM EST
Alleged gang members from a Dixon Road neighbourhood may have tried to blackmail Rob Ford for money and bragged about having a lot of “dirt” on the embattled mayor, including alleged photos of him with heroin and other drugs, as well as a video which shows him smoking from a glass pipe, court documents suggest.
These latest allegations are among the newest pieces of information to be released from a police ITO (Information To Obtain) document that details various investigations into drug trafficking in Etobicoke, particularly the activities of a gang known as the Dixon City Bloods or the Dixon Goonies.
The mayor’s name and his alleged connection to drugs come up repeatedly throughout the 474-page ITO, much of which has been released by a judge to media in pieces over the past several weeks.
This latest portion of the document, released Wednesday, includes information gleaned from police wiretaps which suggest the mayor had contact with several people who have since been arrested and charged with drug-related offences.
Though the mayor’s name comes up several times in intercepted conversations, Ford’s voice is never heard. Ford has not been charged with any criminal activity in connection with the police investigation. And all of the allegations in the ITO have not been proven in a court of law.
Ford’s stolen cellphone and drug accusations
One of the shocking allegations to come out of the ITO involves the possibility of Ford doing heavy drugs hours before he was scheduled to attend a community cleanup event in Etobicoke on April 20, 2013.
Police say they intercepted a phone call that day at 12:54 a.m. where an allegedgang member received a call from someone telling him that he needs to go to 15 Windsor Dr. -- a residence police have called a crack house -- because Ford is there and “wants some drugs.” Ford has said he has known the family who lives at 15 Windsor Dr. for years.
Hours later, one of the alleged gang members was recorded saying he has “so much pictures” of Ford “doing the hezza,” which is believed to be slang for heroin. Another man was heard telling the other to take a picture because of what it would be worth but the first male indicates that “the picture did not go through.”
Just before 6 a.m., the wiretap caught another conversation about Ford. The young man on the phone said he was at 15 Windsor Dr. and that the mayor was “smoking his rocks today,” the ITO says.
Later that morning, while the mayor took part in the public event at Colonel Samuel Smith Park between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., police say they heard on the wiretap two young men discuss how Ford’s cellphone was stolen and how they planned to get it back to him without stirring up trouble.
“The named parties were intercepted deliberating how to give back the phone to avoid any issues, but stated that they are not concerned about Ford calling the police because they have a picture of him “on the pipe”,” the ITO says.
Ford’s phone was never officially reported stolen to police.
Police intercepted a phone call made to the men from a phone number believed to be used by Ford’s friend and former occasional driver, Sandro Lisi. The man said the mayor was “freaking out” about his cellphone and would put “heat” on Dixon if the phone wasn’t returned promptly.
The documents then suggest that the phone was returned to a member of Ford’s entourage for “1.5 of kush” (street slang for marijuana). The men were also heard voicing their displeasure to each other about being subjected to Lisi’s threats.
“They were not pleased with the threats and indicated that they have a picture of Ford “on a pipe” and therefore will not tolerate his threats,” the ITO says.
The document goes on to say that the alleged gang members agreed they should make it clear they were not giving back the phone because of the cops.
“The other male advises that they love and respect Rob Ford but they have Rob Ford on a lot of f*&^%ed up situations and they don’t wanna say anything,” the ITO says.
Lisi has since been charged with drug trafficking in connection with another related police investigation.
The ITO also contains new information about a video which shows the mayor smoking from a glass pipe.
Conversations recorded on the wiretap indicate that the alleged gang members were eager to sell the video as early as March, even though they appeared to want to back away from the deal after the media reported on the video and the story made international headlines.
In the intercepted conversation that took place on March 27, 2013, two men are heard discussing an alleged offer believed to be from the mayor to purchase the video for $5,000 and a car. The men were dissatisfied with that offer and one can be heard saying he was going to ask for “100 or 150” which police believe meant $100,000 or $150,000. The two men disagreed over whether or not they should sell the video to Ford or to the media.
In May, after the media published reports about being approached by people trying to sell the video, police noticed increased tension between members of the Dixon Road community.
On May 21, days after the media broke the crack tape scandal, Abdullahi Harun -- one of the men police believe was trying to sell the video -- was shot on the 17th floor of a Dixon Road highrise. (On May 18, police were told of a tip that was given to a member of the mayor’s staff that identified a unit on the 17th floor of a Dixon Road highrise as a possible location of where the video could be.)
A witness told police he heard several people arguing before the gunshots rang out. Harun survived his injuries.
Then, on the evening of May 30, police intercepted a phone conversation which discussed the kidnapping of Mohamed Siad, the man heard discussing the sale of the video in an earlier conversation.
In the conversation, one of the men explained how Siad had cried, saying he destroyed the video and how his family was in trouble. Siad was threatened and warned to stay away from Dixon. The ITO indicates that there were no other interceptions that confirmed that Siad was in fact kidnapped.
Siad was later arrested as part of the police investigation known as Project Traveller. Days after his arrest in June, he was stabbed at the Don Jail. He is currently awaiting trial.
The ITO also touched on another rumour that began circulating after news of the crack video made headlines. In the documents, police appear to discount the theory that the video was a motive in the murder of Anthony Smith.
Smith, who appeared with other men in a now infamous photo with Ford outside the Windsor Drive home, was shot to death in Toronto’s King West district in March 2013. Police believe he was killed in retaliation for an earlier robbery and not in connection with any controversy involving the mayor.
Price received information
The morning news of the crack video was made public, Ford’ staffer at the time David Price told police he received a call from an anonymous, unidentified person who called from an unknown number. This person divulged information about the video, including the street name of the person who was trying to sell it, his phone number and a possible location of the video (A unit on the 17th floor of a highrise at 320 Dixon Road.)
Price also told Ford’s then chief of staff Mark Towhey about the call. And though he didn’t tell the mayor about the call (as per Towhey’s instructions), he did tell the mayor’s brother Doug Ford with whom he has a long-standing friendship. Price also told police he didn’t believe Doug and Rob were on speaking terms at the time.
@SandieBenitah is on Twitter. For instant breaking news, follow @cp24 on Twitter.