Secret recordings obtained by CBC News offer proof that Toronto police conducted illegal eavesdropping on a former police board chair.

There have been allegations for years that police began spying on their civilian boss, Susan Eng, beginning in May 1991, days after she was sworn in.

Then police chief Bill McCormack and Julian Fantino — superintendent of detectives at the time and later police chief and OPP commissioner — have repeatedly refused to say whether they requested or were aware of the surveillance.

But now CBC News has obtained the tape recordings of Eng talking to her confidant and friend, Peter Maloney, about everything from police business to the very personal.

At the time, police had gone to a judge claiming Maloney may have ties to drug dealers.

The judge granted officers authority to wiretap his phone, but they were ordered to shut down the wiretap after a minute if the calls involved anyone, such as Eng, not listed on the paperwork.

Police ignored the order and recorded Eng, with some recordings lasting 20 or 30 minutes.

Eng expresses disgust

Eng, a lawyer who is now vice-president of advocacy for CARP, which represents retired people, told CBC News recently that she's disgusted and worries this kind of thing is still going on.

"You know there's a law against illegal wiretapping," said Eng. "Police are supposed to uphold that law, not go out and break it when they feel like it."

In the early 1990s Toronto police were under fire over several shootings of young black men. The province appointed Eng, a civilian, to bring in reforms.

The officer who made the tapes, Det. Garry Carter, claimed he was acting on orders.

Carter left the force in 1995, but later pleaded guilty to stealing $47,000 in connection with the missing money from the police investigative fund. He was sentenced in 2002 to a year of house arrest.

A report written by Carter and leaked to CBC News in 2007 said Fantino was extremely concerned Maloney, Eng's political ally and a Toronto criminal lawyer, could pose a security risk.