Brazen move gamechanger for Ford

There are many ways to look at.


There are many ways to look at the latest revelations in the Rob Ford crack video scandal, but only one real conclusion to draw: the police dragnet surrounding the mayor has just tightened substantially.

Chief Bill Blair’s move last week to hand oversight to the OPP is a clear sign the police probe into Ford and his alleged drug dealer, Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, is far from over.

On the contrary, it’s intensifying. Consider the other interesting piece of info revealed Friday, March 7: cops have taken out a new search warrant in the case known as Project Brazen 2, possibly related to phone conversations involving the mayor.

That’s in addition to the warrant reportedly related to Lisi’s iPhone and iCloud records that media outlets have been trying to convince a judge to release in recent weeks.

Ford says he’s not worried, but cops wouldn’t be swearing more warrants if their investigation were winding down. Given the war of words between the chief and Ford, it’s highly unlikely that Blair is trying to duck Ford now by pawning him off on the OPP. In fact, the team that was handpicked by Blair to head up the Ford investigation will still be calling the shots, only they’ll now be reporting to the OPP.

Blair could have asked any other police force for help, but choosing the OPP suggests we’ve entered new, more serious territory. After all, we’re talking about a probe into the mayor that may involve a murder outside a King West club, a couple of jailhouse beatings, a shooting in the city’s northwest end and a home invasion with a metal pipe at the house of the mayor’s former high school chum (where, not coincidentally, the now infamous cellphone video of Ford allegedly smoking crack was shot).

Speaking of coincidences, Ford’s longest-serving staffer, Tom Beyer, unexpectedly left the mayor’s employ last Friday, as first reported by NOW’s Jonathan Goldsbie. Does anything ever happen in a vacuum at City Hall? Police logged a number of meetings between Beyer and Lisi and dozens of telephone contacts during their investigation, according to the search warrant information.

Perhaps the best clue that police may be preparing to lower the boom is the bravado the mayor and his big brother Doug have displayed in recent weeks. It’s the Ford pathology: every time something bad is about to happen, their lies get a little more ridiculous – to wit, the mayor’s claim that Blair’s leading a political conspiracy that’s out to get him.

Ford seems to have forgotten that when embarrassing audio of his 911 freak-out after his Marg Delahunty ambush was floating around, it was Blair who put it under lock and key and came to Ford’s defence.

The only way Ford thinks he can maintain belief in the myth that he’s a fighter for the little guy is to pit himself against the world.

His conspiracy theory is not only meant to help in the court of public opinion, but it could also be laying the groundwork for a “malicious prosecution” argument that the entire investigation against him has been motivated by a personal vendetta. It’s a long shot, but if the circle is indeed closing, what option does Ford have?

Blair’s move to call in the OPP defuses that argument.

Every time it looks like the cops have hit a dead end, there’s a new signal from the chief that the cops are on Ford’s case.

The conventional wisdom a few months ago was that the police had lost their opportunity to charge him. Many of us made our peace with that by hoping embarrassment over coke-sniffing and cavorting with prostitutes would force Ford to resign. But shame alone won’t take down the shameless.

This was only going to go as far as Ford pushed it. If he’d resigned a year ago, some of his troubles would have gone away. But this is a guy both prone to risky behaviour and convinced of his entitlement to political power. It can only end badly.

enzom@nowtoronto.com | @enzodimatteo

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