toronto rainbow

Morning Brew: Rob Ford hired former drug enforcer to coach football, councillors question mayor's friends, Doug Ford angry at leaks, and council votes subway

More revelations about friends of Mayor Rob Ford this morning. Payman Aboodowleh, who has a history of violent crime, was hired by the mayor to coach football at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School and his past concealed from school staff, the Globe and Mail reports this morning. The paper says Aboodowleh, who also used the name Peter Payman, was previously an enforcer for Sando Lisi's drug operation and used several aliases to avoid background checks. He described the Ford/Lisi scandal as "a great adventure."

Meanwhile, several city councillors are questioning Rob Ford's choice of friends. Sandro Lisi, a "good guy" according to Ford, was arrested last week on drug-related charges with the owner of an Etobicoke dry cleaner. The Star reported Lisi also tried to buy back the mayor's stolen cellphone with marijuana. "The mayor needs to make a decision between his friends and the City of Toronto," cllr. Denzil Minnan-Wong told the Globe and Mail.

When asked if he was under investigation by police at City Hall yesterday, Ford responded by shouting "subways, subways, subways," and laughing.

Doug Ford says he's worried that police could be leaking information to the Toronto Star, but he doesn't believe that it's actually happening. Ford would not confirm whether or not his brother had lost his cellphone in March, and directed those questions to the mayor. "The last time I checked Kevin Donovan hasn't been deputized along with Robyn Doolittle as the new sheriffs in town," he said.

The future of mass transit in Scarborough is big, silver, and really expensive - for now, at least. City council yesterday voted 24-20 - a much closer margin than expected - to spend $910 million converting the aging Scarborough RT to subway by way of a 1.6% property tax hike, roughly $41 per household, per year until 2043. Mayor Ford pumped his fist and yelled "Yes" as the vote came down.

Finally, Star columnist Rosie DiManno sounds like she might share some feelings with Rob Ford when it comes to cyclists. In a column published this morning, she calls Toronto bikers "People Who Should Be Shot" and complains that bike lanes make it harder to get in to cabs. Oh, and she repeatedly refers to cyclists as "ped-aphiles."


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Jason Cook/blogTO Flickr pool.

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