Watch video: The Project Brazen investigation may have stalled due to lack of evidence. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Who’s in charge of an ongoing criminal investigation into Mayor Rob Ford and his friend Sandro Lisi?
Depends whom you ask.
The Ontario Provincial Police, who took over the case last month say barring any new information, the Toronto Police are overseeing it.
The Toronto Police say the OPP is still overseeing the investigation.
“As far as we’re concerned, OPP oversight continues,” Toronto Police Spokesperson Mark Pugash said. “We would expect that when project brazen 2 is concluded that we would sit down with the OPP and the various crowns and we would work out the way forward.”
Watch: Mark Pugash maintains that Project Brazen 2 investigation is ongoing
Rob Ford, meanwhile, said Thursday he feels he’s been “cleared” of wrongdoing now that the OPP say it doesn’t look like more information is forthcoming.
OPP Sgt. Pierre Chamberland said Thursday the OPP handed it back to the Toronto Police because no new information has come forward since they took over the investigation on March 5.
“To date there is no new information or evidence that has been provided to the OPP. We basically don’t have any further role to play at this point,” he said in an interview.
Pugash said the police investigation is ongoing, and the provincial police are still in charge.
“Project Brazen 2 is an ongoing investigation. It’s not over,” Pugash said. “When it’s concluded we expect that we’ll sit down with the OPP and the Crown to decide on the next step.”
Lisi was charged with extortion last fall, accused of threatening or menacing Mohammed Siad and Liban Siyad – two individuals recorded in police wiretaps, as yet untested in court, discussing the now infamous video of Ford smoking what looks like crack cocaine.
Watch: Doug Ford says Rob was victim of extortion
Police have been investigating the mayor and Lisi since last May, documenting multiple meetings and exchanges of packages, as well as allegations of drunk driving and that Ford got city staff to buy him alcohol.
Wiretaps connected with Project Traveller, an investigation into Toronto guns and gangs, uncovered allegations of Ford’s drug use and alleged attempts at extorting the mayor over a video believed to show him smoking crack.
The Toronto Star and Gawker first reported on the existence of the video on May 16.
The contents of those documents have not been proven in court.
Watch: Rob Ford gets heated as he tries to get through media outside his office waiting on answer about latest reports
The OPP assumed oversight in Project Brazen 2 last month at the request of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.
He said he made the move to “avoid distractions” in a case which both Ford and his brother Doug have criticized as being politically motivated.
The mayor defended himself Thursday to reporterssaying, “I’ve said it from day one that I didn’t do anything wrong,”
Ford’s brother Doug thanked the OPP “for doing a proper investigation” when asked by reporters at city hall on Thursday, but remained tight-lipped about whether or not the mayor was indeed the target of extortion.
“I don’t know. I think you just have to look at it and I don’t know 100 per cent,” said Ford. “I guess the police know that better than we would know. So that’s it.”
With files from The Canadian Press