ABOVE: Sandro Lisi was planning to work for city with endorsement of ‘close friend’ Mayor Rob Ford. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Alexander ‘Sandro’ Lisi planned to work for the city of Toronto with the endorsement of his “close friend,” Mayor Rob Ford, according to court documents obtained by Global News.
The documents were released Tuesday by a Toronto judge along with a character reference Ford had written for Lisi. A character reference Ford wrote for an Etobicoke man charged with stunt driving was also released by the city.
In the character reference Ford describes Alexander ‘Sandro’ Lisi – a man charged three weeks ago on various drug charges – as “courteous and polite.”
According to the letter, the mayor has known Lisi for a number of years.
The letter was first referenced during a June 14 sentencing after Lisi was convicted of threatening to kill a woman, according to a report in the Toronto Star. Lisi is appealing the conviction.
Though the Etobicoke man has no official role in the mayor’s office, he has driven the mayor around Toronto on several occasions.
In the letter, written on city letterhead and released by a Toronto judge on Tuesday, Ford writes that Lisi worked as a volunteer in the mayor’s successful campaign.
“Mr. Lisi was an exemplary member of my campaign team, where he displayed exceptional leadership skills and worked hard both in and out of the campaign office,” the mayor wrote. “Lisi has demonstrated to myself that he has a great work ethic and has always shown tact and diplomacy.”
Ford maintained his support for Lisi after he was arrested again on Oct.1 in Etobicoke on drug-related offences. He was charged with trafficking marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.
“He’s a friend,” Ford said after the arrest. “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 him drink, I’ve never seen him do drugs.”
In court documents, however, Lisi is said to “drink on occasion” but does not use drugs.
A second character reference written by the mayor was released on Tuesday. This letter was written for Douglas Sedgewick, an Etobicoke tow truck driver who was refused a licence renewal after the city learned he had been charged with stunt driving, according to the Toronto Star.
“I have known Mr. Douglas Sedgewick through my role as an elected official active in the community. Mr. Sedgewick is an employee of Bill & Son Towing Inc. and he has always conducted himself in a courteous and polite manner,” the mayor wrote.
The character reference was written in January for presentation to the city’s licensing tribunal. Sedgewick eventually had his licence renewed.
WATCH: Councillor Doug Ford speaks to reporters about the mayor’s letters for Lisi and Sedgewick.
Ford claimed some student athletes at Don Bosco High School, where the mayor had coached football, had come to him when they had got in trouble with the police.
“His football kids get in trouble with the law, and they come to Rob and Rob’s character, he doesn’t judge people when they come to him, he doesn’t throw the book at them, he tries to help,” Councillor Ford said. “Not only would he sit down and tell them it was wrong, tell them what to do to correct the issue, but he would show up to court with these kids, he would stand there and support them.”
“A lot of people didn’t have anyone to turn to, a lot of these kids didn’t have a father but they trusted one person, they trusted Rob Ford,” he added.
Full text of Mayor Rob Ford’s letter for Lisi:
To Whom it May Concern:
The purpose of this letter is to provide a character reference for Mr. Alexander Lisi. The following are the facts regarding this individual, as I am aware of them.
I have known Mr. Alexander Lisi through his volunteer work on my 2010 election campaign. Mr Lisi was an exemplary member of my campaign team, where he displayed exceptional leadership skills and worked hard both in and out of the campaign office. Mr. Lisi has demonstrated to myself that he has a great work ethic and has always shown tact and diplomacy.
I have known Mr. Lisi for several years, and he has always conducted himself in a courteous and polite manner. I would be pleased to provide him with a reference.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Mayor of Toronto
– With files from Jackson Proskow