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Rob Ford may not be charged, but he could still be forced to testify

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The CBC points out an interesting footnote to yesterday’s news that the police investigation into Rob Ford has stalled: even though it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the mayor will be charged with any crimes (though it’s worth noting that Toronto Police say they’re still on the case), he could be forced to testify under oath when his friend Sandro Lisi goes to court in late 2014.

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The Informer

Politics

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The Toronto Police investigation into Rob Ford hits a snag, as the OPP steps back

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Last week, rumours began circulating that Rob Ford’s arrest was imminent. The front page of today’s Star describes one reason that was never true: the Ontario Provincial Police, who were called in to oversee the Toronto Police investigation into the mayor’s activities last month, have reduced their role in the case after a disagreement with Toronto detectives.

And disagreements don’t get more fundamental than this. According to the Star, the OPP takes issue with a central assumption of entire Toronto Police investigation: that the mayor or his associates used extortion in an attempt to recover the crack video. The Star’s sources say OPP detective Chris Nicholas, who was assigned to oversee the probe, believes Ford was actually a victim of extortion, not the perpetrator.

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The Informer

People

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Q&A: Mike Arntfield, host of the new Toronto-based reality series To Catch a Killer

The cop, university professor and TV personality has an urgent message: beware the internet

Q&A: Mike Arntfield, the host of the new Toronto-base reality series To Catch a Killer

As a cop who chases online predators, you have a window into the unsettling world of cyberbullying.
I do. Almost as disturbing as the cyberbullying itself is the police’s inability to do much about it. We lack appropriate legislation, responsiveness from Internet providers and departmental support to allot the time required to investigate properly. Plus, research shows that in the vast majority of cases, victims don’t file reports.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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A Markham family was basically burgled, legally, by police

(Image: William Mewes)

(Image: William Mewes)

It’s a story that seems ripped from a Canadian Real Estate Association commercial, but, according to the Star, it’s completely true. A Markham family came home to find their house apparently burglarized, with all their electronic devices gone. They called 911, only to be told by the police, “Actually, it was us.”

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The Informer

Politics

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Surprising nobody, prison officials deny plotting a jailhouse beatdown with Rob Ford

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Rob Ford’s mayoralty has given the world plenty of unforgettable headlines, and this one ranks with the best of them: “Prison officials deny plotting with Rob Ford in jail attack,” says the Star. There you have it: Toronto politics have arrived at a point where it’s necessary for the Ministry of Correctional Services to deny, specifically, having helped the mayor of Toronto brutally maim an enemy—because right now, in this city, almost anything is possible.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Ashley Madison’s legal dispute with a Toronto woman gets even more complicated

ashley-madison

What could possibly go wrong at the offices of a website that exists entirely to enable extramarital affairs? Well, this, at least: Doriana Silva, the ex-Ashley Madison employee who brought a lawsuit against the site late last year, is now being countersued by its Toronto-based parent company, Avid Life Media.

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The Informer

Politics

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UPDATED: Newly released Project Brazen 2 documents say Ford declined a chance to watch the crack video

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Media lawyers were in court this morning arguing for the release of yet another batch of search warrant documents related to Project Brazen 2, the ongoing police investigation into Rob Ford. And we all know what that means: more crack-video news.

Today’s release, as ordered by justice Ian Nordheimer, was relatively minor (lawyers working for various media organizations—not including Toronto Life—are still in the process of trying to get more made public), but it does contain one particularly interesting detail. According to the Star, these documents say Toronto Police offered Ford a chance to watch the crack video provided he didn’t discuss it afterward, and that the mayor declined.

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The Informer

People

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Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi may be an even bigger jerk than previously assumed

Toronto Police surveillance images of Rob Ford meeting secretly with Sandro Lisi. (Image: Toronto Police)

Toronto Police surveillance images of Rob Ford meeting secretly with Sandro Lisi. (Image: Toronto Police)

What little we already knew about Rob Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi wasn’t particularly flattering: late last year he was charged with drug trafficking and extortion after a months-long police probe into his many secret meetings with the mayor, and before that he was convicted of threatening to kill a woman.

The Star’s new investigation into Lisi’s many legal scrapes makes at least two things clear: one, these latest incidents weren’t isolated ones, and two, Lisi is not the sort of person you want to get into a car accident with or perturb in any way. Here’s what the mayor’s good friend—a man Ford has described as “straight as an arrow”—has been up to over the course of the past 15 years or so.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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The Ikea monkey saga is over; he’s free to frolic with other monkeys forever and ever

(Image: @broniewyn/Twitter)

(Image: @broniewyn/Twitter)

Whenever you eat a Swedish meatball or buy a piece of affordable flat-pack furniture, think of Darwin, better known as Ikea monkey, swinging from the lush tree limbs of Sunderland, Ontario and be glad. Never again will he be forced to don a shearling coat and wander North York’s asphalt wastes.

Earlier today, Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary issued a press release saying that Yasmin Nakhuda, Darwin’s one-time owner, is no longer pursuing an appeal of her failed attempt to persuade the courts to return the monkey to her custody. Darwin has been living at Story Book Farm since December 2012, when Nakhuda surrendered him to Toronto Animal Services after he was spotted wandering in the parking lot of the North York Ikea.

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The Informer

Politics

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A play-by-play of the escalating Ford-family feud with police chief Bill Blair

(Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost)

(Images: Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service; Fords: Christopher Drost)

While it’s somewhat understandable that Doug and Rob Ford would be unhappy with the Toronto Police Service’s ongoing investigation into the mayor’s activities, this week’s escalating hostilities between the brothers and police chief Bill Blair are completely baffling. Demonizing enemies is chapter one in the Ford-family crisis-management playbook, but fighting with Blair gives the appearance of an effort to undermine the rule of law, which is something most politicians would avoid.

How bad is it? This is a direct quote from a press conference Rob Ford held earlier this afternoon:

If he’s going to arrest me, arrest me. I have done nothing wrong. And he’s wasted millions of dollars. I want him to come clean and say, how much money did it cost the taxpayers? For surveillance on me and planes that he had to rent. That is absolutely game-playing, it’s politics. And I am not apologizing.

Here’s how things got to this point.

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The Informer

Politics

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UPDATED: Doug Ford gets police chief Bill Blair investigated for misconduct

(Image: Ford: Christopher Drost; Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service)

(Image: Ford: Christopher Drost; Blair: Courtesy of the Toronto Police Service)

Doug Ford has frequently alleged that his brother Rob’s troubles are the result of a conspiracy against the Ford family. His statements are usually interpreted as attempts to deflect blame for the mayor’s lapses of judgment onto adversaries in the media and in the justice system, and so we can only assume that councillor Ford is pretty pleased with himself for getting one of his complaints taken seriously.

Doug has repeatedly suggested that the Toronto police investigation into the crack video and other evidence of the mayor’s odd behaviour is politically motivated—the result of a secret vendetta being nursed by chief Bill Blair. There’s no evidence to suggest that this is actually the case. Among Doug’s non-sequiturs about Blair’s supposed hidden agenda, though, was one arguably legitimate complaint: during a November news conference, Doug accused Blair of having gone on a fishing trip with Andrew Pringle, a member of the police board. According to the National Post, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, a police watchdog, is now investigating that allegation of misconduct.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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TekSavvy will turn over the names of 2,000 alleged movie pirates

(Image: Pirate flag: Chris Evans)

(Image: Pirate flag: Chris Evans)

In a blow to internet freeloaders nationwide, a federal court decision released on Thursday compels TekSavvy, the Ontario-based discount broadband provider, to disclose the names of about 2,000 customers who are accused of having illegally downloaded movies. The case was initiated by Voltage Pictures, a U.S. production company with stakes in many movies, including 2010 Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.

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The Informer

Politics

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Toronto police have GPS data for Rob Ford’s car and are seeking more mayor-related warrants

(Image: Christopher Drost)

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Rob Ford‘s crack scandal may be a book now, but the material for a Crazy Town sequel is already in the works. The Toronto Star reports that the police are still seeking search warrants as part of their ongoing probe of the mayor. The cops are after cellphone records, but you know what they’re not after? GPS records for the OnStar device in Ford’s personal Escalade. That’s because, according to the Star‘s sources, investigators are already hard at work excavating that particular goldmine of locational data. We have no way of knowing what’s being done, but it’s easy to imagine the GPS information being used to put together a map of the mayor’s movements over many months.

Ford says we should read nothing into this. “I will just give [police] my cellphone,” he told the Sun. “They can take it.” The Star says its lawyers are already working to get the warrant documents unsealed, so there’s a very good possibility the public will know more in a few months.

The Informer

Real Estate

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Need to check a home’s criminal record? This website can help

A screenshot of Housecreep, as it appeared earlier today.

A screenshot of Housecreep, as it appeared earlier today.

Every Toronto home has a history, but there are a few out there that have a past.

The city averages about 56 homicides a year, and they all have to happen someplace. There are fires, clandestine marijuana grow operations, and other, weirder crimes that defy concise description. Sellers are legally required to disclose defects in a property, like physical damage that might result from a house having been used to produce drugs, but for things that are more psychological in nature, like crime-related infamy, it’s buyer beware.

That’s why Housecreep is such an intriguing thing. Launched last spring by a Toronto-based multimedia developer named Robert Armieri and his statistician brother Albert, the website is a searchable database of addresses where bad—or, at any rate, newsworthy—things have happened.

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The Informer

Features

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Breaking Brian Shin: portrait of a Bay Street master and suburban drug dealer

Brian Shin was a Bay Street financial whiz with a secret life as a high-volume drug dealer. When he slipped up, he lifted the veil on a powerful criminal underground run by second-generation Asian kids

Breaking Brian Shin: portrait of a Bay Street master and suburban drug dealer

Brian Shin seemed like the ideal employee. He worked long hours, dressed sharply and exuded sufficient swagger to fit in on Bay Street. His ­pedigree—a bachelor’s in commerce from U of T, a master’s in taxation from the University of ­Waterloo and work experience at the tax firm Deloitte—made him overqualified for his job at Lannick, a corporate recruiting firm. In two years, he placed roughly 100 managers and executives, and contributed $700,000 to the bottom line, making him one of the company’s top recruiters. He earned a salary of $130,900.

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