08.12.2013 08:05 AM

Toronto needs a mayor: Rob Ford tried to meet secretly with drug dealer in jail


“At around 7 p.m. on March 25, about three hours after official visiting hours, Mr. Ford arrived unannounced at the Toronto West Detention Centre and asked if he could have a tour of the jail, four sources with knowledge of aspects of the incident said. After the tour request was declined, the mayor indicated he wanted to meet with Mr. Bellissimo…

That request was also declined and the mayor departed – leaving an unsolved mystery within the correctional service about why the mayor visited at such an odd hour, why he was indirect about the purpose of his visit and why he needed to speak with Mr. Bellissimo, a 43-year-old who has had run-ins with police and has what numerous sources describe as a history of drug-related activity.”

Wow. Well, at least he wasn’t staggering around Toronto streets on the weekend, wasted. That would suggest he really does have a substance abuse problem.


  1. Philippe says:

    When I saw the video of him staggering around slurring… I actually felt bad for him, believe it or not. With everyone around him mocking him in the streets and the spectacle it was causing, I couldn’t help feeling that he needs a lot of help.

  2. partrick says:

    Here is a man who desperately wants to be found out and fired from a job he doesn’t like and knows is beyond him. The enablers around him will run him into the ground, then shed a false tear and move on. Let him return to a councillor who returned calls and fixed pot holes.

  3. Lance says:

    Any mayor visiting an inmate as per request is not out of the realm of possibility or reasonability, though it doesn’t happen very often. Inmates are allowed to have people from the federal, provincial, or municipal government (i.e. ombudsman, M.P., Minister, councilman, inmate advocates, etc) visit them. Those visits are not usually carried out in the way a run-of-the mill visit would occur and they are usually held in a private area instead of the common visit area (at least at the jail I work at), similar to the way a visit with a lawyer is set up.

    We don’t usually ask why they want to meet with an inmate constituent. But it is passing strange that Mayor Ford wanted to meet with an inmate I>after a tour/being denied a tour. Why wouldn’t he just be upfront about his desire to meet with an inmate beforehand? Why would he be so incidental and offhand about it? The weirdness of the way he went about it just ends up raising more questions.

    • GFMD says:

      I assume it’s standard practice (if not required) that such meetings be scheduled beforehand, during hours which are both reasonable and inside accepted visiting hours?

      • Lance says:

        The regular visits by friends and family are set-up that way (again, at least at the jail I work at); booking times being subject to availability, inside regular visiting hours. Lawyers just usually show up within that time period whenever they want without an appointment, though if it will be an unusually long visit sometimes they make appointments so as to not monopolize the professional visiting rooms away from other inmates and their lawyers. Making an appointment within visiting hours (which isn’t something Mayor Ford did) isn’t required because they have access to their clients without question, as it is the right of the inmate to have access to their lawyer (unless it is denied temporarily due to an extenuating circumstance, such as an institutional emergency). However, making an appointment in that manner is something that they do out of courtesy to our operational needs. In my estimation we have a 99.99% understanding with the legal community in that regard, and get along happily.

        In my own personal experience while on duty I haven’t come across too many government officials visiting inmates. However, according to the Ministry of Correctional Services Act

        Section 44.
        (5) Visits to a inmate, except those by:

        (a) a peace officer on duty,

        (b) a barrister or solicitor representing an inmate respecting a charge for which the inmate awaits trial,

        (c) a Member of Parliament or of the Legislative Assembly,

        (d) the commissioner, a regional director, a district director, or the Director of Inspection and Standards, or

        (e) the Ombudsman,

        may be supervised by an officer, who may terminate the visit where, in his opinion, the management, operation, discipline, or security of the correctional centre is threatened by continuation of the visit.

        (6) Notwithstanding this section, the persons referred to in subsection (5) (a) to (e) may visit an inmate at any reasonable time.

        I don’t see “Mayor” in there anywhere. Not to say that he cannot visit an inmate, but it doesn’t seem that he has the same visiting rights as the ones mentioned in the Act above. The way I interpret it, he is no more special in that regard than the average Joe.

  4. KP says:

    Well, I never would have believed it, but a lawyer used the phrase ‘super duper’ in open court. He’s not (much) better than I am!

  5. Mulletaur says:

    We need to have recall legislation for the City of Toronto. This is something that the political right used to be in favour of. I wonder where they stand on this now.

  6. Brammer says:

    Measuring for curtains?

  7. !o! says:

    If it weren’t for this other stuff about to come to the surface as the result of operation traveller, and the degree to which his public image has been eroded by his abuse antics, I’d almost dare to say that the stumbling-around-drunk thing on Danforth makes him re-electable, if suitably exploited: he just needs to down a few beers and go out and be congenial:

    1) It’ll attract a media storm the likes of which would be the envy of rival would-be mayors.
    2) If he’s drinking but not out of control it detracts from the ‘abuse problem’ narrative: drunks are out of control, everyone’s had a couple in public.
    3) He comes across as one of us, I hate to use HOAG on the oversized maggot, since it’s such a clash of images, but he may well come across that way to some.

    Fortunately there’s certainly more to come on the sordid underbelly (blech, there’s another awful image) of what is the Ford Phenomenon and it’s way too risky a gambit to play at this point.

  8. Elisabeth Lindsay says:

    Just curious…….when was the last time Toronto had a credible Mayor??

  9. Joe O'Neill says:

    Rob Ford’s been friends with that guy, Bellissimo, since they were 7-years old.

    If you don’t understand why someone would visit a lifelong friend in jail, perhaps that says more about you than it says about the mayor.

    • Roy A Smith says:

      exactly. real people, like our kind hearted mayor, visit their friends no matter where they are. or what hour of the day it is. this is what good, honest, taxpayer-respecting people do.

      and as we all know, the best way to make sure you get to see your friends is to show up unannounced at an unusual hour. ideally after you’ve put away a few spiked double doubles.

      as you said – they’ve know each other since they were seven. that’s, like, decades or something, of those two rascals hanging out… tossing the ol pigskin around… playing mayors n’ dealers… lending out money. oh what times those two must have had.

      they even have a long-standing tradition of pretending they don’t know each other. oh, those jokers… young Bruno Bellissimo would turn up at the Ford manor and ask jolly Papa Ford for a surprise tour of their house. he would joking tell Bruno to fuck off and Bruno would then ask to see Robby. and Rob, in turn, would secretly come around to the Bellissimo residence, wanting a tour of the crackhouse.

      and it really does say something – quite telling – about a person who can’t understand a simple, true friendship such as theirs.

  10. Lance says:

    “and as we all know, the best way to make sure you get to see your friends is to show up unannounced at an unusual hour.”

    Except, that doesn’t apply when that friend is in jail.

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