February 6, 2013 8:58 am

TCHC could soon open investigation into ‘backroom dealings’

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TORONTO – The CEO of Toronto Community Housing is warning that a third-party audit has revealed unverified kickbacks, shoddy work, wasted money and double-billing throughout the public housing corporation.

In a statement on the Toronto Community Housing Corpoartion (TCHC) website, CEO Gene Jones says he has recently learned of improprieties that “deeply disturb” him.

An anonymous tip in late 2012 led to conversations with staff and residents and eventually a third-party audit, Jones said, which revealed countless improprieties.

Those improprieties include “kickbacks, people not agreeing to work or approving work that they shouldn’t be approving,” Jones said, noting that all allegations are unverified.

“We’ve been double-billed, maybe paying vendors twice and so forth, maybe putting vendors on our list that shouldn’t be on the list,” he said.

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The amount of wasted money is currently unknown and these allegations come when the TCHC suffers from a backlog of repairs that in 2012 was estimated to be $751 million.

A third-party investigation into the audit’s findings will begin shortly.

Jones warned publicly Wednesday that any confirmed wrongdoing by TCHC employees “from the top to the bottom” will be punished.

“If there’s criminal activity, we’re going after that,” Jones said.

Councillor Maria Augimeri, a former TCHC tenant who now sits on the board of directors, said that she knows of the problems the TCHC faces.

“I know as a former tenant that things went on that were less than forthcoming, that business deals were made in a less than forthcoming way,” Augimeri said.

Jones also invited anyone with information to contact him at 416-981-4050 or via e-mail at Eugene.jonesjr@torontohousing.ca.

People can also anonymously report problems at 1-877-993-6744.

 

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