"He's a good guy, and I don't throw my friends under the bus."
At a press conference that was held, oddly, in a gas-station parking lot, Mayor Rob Ford spoke briefly to reporters about the arrest of his friend and occasional driver, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi.
“I’m surprised,” said Ford. “I’m very surprised. And it’s before the courts. Obviously I can’t say much.”
Lisi was arrested at an Etobicoke dry cleaners on Tuesday night. He’s charged with four drug-related offences, including trafficking in marijuana. Arrested along with Lisi was Jamshid Bahrami, who is reportedly the owner of the dry cleaners. Bahrami is charged with three offences, including possession of cocaine.
Lisi’s name first came to public attention in August, when the Star reported that he and other Rob Ford associates were under investigation for their alleged efforts to retrieve the well-known but little-seen cellphone video that reportedly appears to show Ford smoking crack. The same article also said that Lisi had told friends that he supplies drugs to Ford. Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux, the police officer leading that investigation, is named on the Toronto Police Service press release that announces Lisi’s arrest.
In the past, Ford has said that Lisi is “straight as an arrow,” and at today’s press conference, which lasted about two minutes, he reiterated that.
“He’s a friend,” said Ford. “He’s a good guy. And I don’t throw my friends under the bus. Like I said, he’s straight and narrow. I’ve never once seen the guy drink. Never seen him do drugs.”
The mayor refused to answer other, more probing questions about his dealings with Lisi, and berated reporters for showing up at his home. Before leaving the podium, he plugged his upcoming business mission to Austin, Texas, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday and Friday.