Dry cleaner arrested with Ford friend says he's innocent
The owner of an Etobicoke dry cleaning business is denying any wrongdoing after being swept up Tuesday in a police raid along with Mayor Rob Ford’s occasional driver and security guard.
Jamshid Bahrami, 47, was arrested Tuesday evening along with Alexander Lisi, 35, at Richview Cleaners, located in a plaza near the intersection of Eglinton and Kipling Avenues.
The pair has been charged with various drug- and conspiracy-related offences.
Police are remaining tight-lipped about the case, but said in a statement they made the arrests when executing a search warrant in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation.
After a court appearance on Wednesday, both Bahrami and Lisi were released on $5,000 bail.
A day later, Bahrami told CTV Toronto in an exclusive interview that he only knows Lisi as a friend who hangs around the plaza. Bahrami denied he is involved in any sort of criminal activity.
“The only stupid thing I did was to have Sandro (Lisi) as my friend – who was involved with Rob Ford,” Bahrami said Thursday.
Bahrami said Lisi would come by occasionally and they would get a slice of pizza together, or Lisi would hang out in his shop.
Bahrami also said he knows nothing about the relationship between Lisi and the mayor.
He added Ford also occasionally comes to his store, and shops at other businesses in the plaza.
Lisi is described in reports as a member of Ford’s entourage, but does not serve an official role in the mayor's office.
Bahrami said he’s been accused of trafficking marijuana, but claims he has a permit to use medicinal marijuana to treat his arthritis.
Looking tired and dishevelled after spending the night in custody, Bahrami Thursday was trying to clean up his shop, which was left in disarray after Tuesday’s police raid.
Since re-opening Thursday, Bahrami said customers have been calling all afternoon, looking to pick up their clothes. Bahrami has operated Richview Cleaners for 17 years.
Lisi and Bahrami are next scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 12.
On Wednesday, Ford held a brief news conference at a gas station near his Etobicoke home, and told reporters that he considers Lisi “a friend.”
“He’s a friend, he’s a good guy and I don’t throw my friends under the bus,” Ford said. “I’ve never once seen the guy drink, never once seen him do drugs.”
With a report from CTV Toronto’s John Musselman