Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi may be an even bigger jerk than previously assumed

Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi may be an even bigger jerk than previously assumed

Toronto Police surveillance images of Rob Ford meeting secretly with Sandro Lisi. (Image: Toronto Police)

What little we already knew about Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi wasn’t particularly flattering: late last year he was charged with drug trafficking and extortion after a months-long police probe into his many secret meetings with the mayor, and before that he was convicted of threatening to kill a woman.

The Star’s new investigation into Lisi’s many legal scrapes makes at least two things clear: one, these latest incidents weren’t isolated ones, and two, Lisi is not the sort of person you want to get into a car accident with or perturb in any way. Here’s what the mayor’s good friend—a man Ford has described as “straight as an arrow”—has been up to over the course of the past 15 years or so.

Bed bugs
In a sense, the most damning of Lisi’s alleged misdeeds is this one: the Star’s sources say that he’s believed to have deliberately infested an enemy’s home with bedbugs on at least one occasion. Anyone who has ever experienced an infestation knows that this is a level of cruelty just shy of burning someone’s house down.

Road rage
Lisi first came to public attention as the mayor’s occasional driver, and so it’s a little disturbing that one of the Star’s major findings is that his driving record is abysmal. In 1999, at age 21, he struck a 76-year-old woman with his car, leaving her severely disabled until she died in 2003. In 2010, after getting into an accident, the Star says Lisi sued the other driver for $1 million, claiming that the collision had left him with “post-traumatic insomnia.”

Death threats
The Star documents a number of times Lisi was hauled before the courts for allegedly threatening various women with violence, including one instance, in 2002, when he showed up in a high school classroom and “made a motion with his finger across his neck” at an 18-year-old female student. For that and other threatening behaviour against the same woman, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Even before his recent drug trafficking arrest, the Star says Lisi had a reputation for drug involvement in his Etobicoke neighbourhood. Five of six known drug-possession charges against him were dropped, but his associates say he was a known low-level dealer who sometimes gave people drugs in exchange for them calling the police on rival drug suppliers.