POLITICS
07/10/2014 11:42 EDT | Updated 07/10/2014 11:59 EDT

Rob Ford's Rehab 'Buddy': Sandro Lisi Gave Me Directions To Mayor's House

CP/Toronto Sun screengrab

The woman charged with driving under the influence in Rob Ford's SUV says she was directed to the Toronto mayor's house by Sandro Lisi, the alleged drug dealer charged with extortion in relation to the infamous crack video.

But Councillor Doug Ford says LeeAnne McRobb, a former patient at the GreeneStone facility who struck up a friendship with the mayor, is just a liar.

In a revealing interview with The Toronto Sun, McRobb, 36, said that she and Ford were "best buddies" in rehab and that the mayor playfully called her a "little monkey."

Rob Ford has been tight-lipped about McRobb since returning to Toronto but has admitted that he gave her permission to drive his vehicle.

Still, McRobb told The Sun's Jenny Yuen that Doug Ford didn't approve of her friendship with the mayor and apparently didn't speak to his brother for three weeks.

McRobb also shed some light on how she came to be behind the wheel of Rob Ford's Cadillac Escalade when she was arrested on May 20. She says she needed to take her own car for repairs and Rob Ford recommended she take it to a body shop in Toronto. According to McRobb, Lisi then provided directions from the body shop to the mayor's house so she could pick up Rob Ford's SUV.

McRobb presumably drove that vehicle back to Muskoka but the details are unclear as she was uncomfortable discussing Lisi, a man with a history of violence that includes assaulting and stalking young women and, allegedly, spreading bedbugs in the homes of his enemies.

"I don't want to talk about that," she told The Sun. "Sandro Lisi and all those people, I know them, I've met them to say, 'Hi, how are you?' But I have no affiliation with those people."

The revelation could complicate Rob Ford's claim that he is no longer associated with some of the shady characters he suggests made his substance abuse issues worse.

In his first speech after returning to City Hall on June 30, Rob Ford said he was previously "blind" to the dangers of some of the company he kept.

"And those associations have ended," he said. "My commitment to living clean is now unwavering."

Lisi, 35, was charged in October with trafficking in marijuana, possession of proceeds of crime, possession of marijuana and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

Those charges were laid as the result of a Toronto police investigation that was initially launched to look into reports of a video appearing to show Ford smoking crack cocaine.

Police announced in late October that they had recovered the video and charged Lisi with extortion for allegedly threatening two men charged with gang offences while trying to get his hands on the notorious video. He was released on $5,000 bail in the same month.

Rob Ford said at the time that he was "shocked" by Lisi's arrest and has never seen him drink or do drugs.

"He's a friend, he's a good guy and I don't throw my friends under the bus," he said.

Despite the charges, the mayor did not end his friendship with Lisi, who was once his occasional driver.

In January, an intoxicated Rob Ford was recorded speaking obscenities in Jamaican patois in an Etobicoke Steak Queen restaurant. A second video from that night appears to show Rob Ford and Lisi meeting.

And a drug dealer told The Toronto Star that Rob Ford pummeled Lisi on the April night he was again filmed smoking crack cocaine.

"Poor Sandro was crying like a baby," the dealer told The Star.

Rob Ford checked himself into rehab shortly after that story broke but, at least according to McRobb, did not cut off contact with Lisi.

Doug Ford told reporters Thursday that he never met McRobb, despite her claim they spoke once when he visited his brother in rehab. McRobb claims Doug Ford expressed concerns she was after the mayor's "wallet."

And Doug Ford, who is also his brother's campaign manager, told The Sun's Don Peat Thursday that the mayor has no contact with Lisi these days.

"(The mayor) doesn't talk to Lisi. He's ended relationships with Lisi absolutely 100%, that’s what he said, OK, that's what he told me ... I am 100% confident," he said.

Toronto voters head to the polls on October 27.

With files from The Canadian Press

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