OPP officers suspended amid RCMP investigation into union
Allegations of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering by top union managers
- Three OPP officers suspended in continuing RCMP investigation
The Ontario Provincial Police Association has cut ties with its chief administrative officer amid an investigation into allegations of fraud, breach of trust and money laundering by a handful of union officials.
On Saturday, the OPPA notified its members that a notice of termination had been delivered to Karl Walsh, the now-former chief administrative officer for the union. The email to members indicated that Michael Briscoe would continue to serve as the union's acting chief administrative officer.
Walsh, who ran for a provincial seat in the 2011 election for the Liberals, had been put on administrative leave just days before the OPPA terminated his employment.
James (Jim) Christie, the union's president, and Martin Bain, the union's vice-president, have taken voluntary leaves of absence.
In a weekend news release OPP Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes announced three officers have been suspended from duty pursuant to Section 89 (1) of the Police Services Act:
- Det. Sgt. James Christie.
- Const. Martin Bain.
- Const. Karl Walsh.
The OPP will not be commenting further on the continuing RCMP investigation, the release said.
The union has said that the managers' leaves should not be considered an admission of wrongdoing.
None of the three managers have been charged with a criminal offence, and none of the allegations have been proven.
However, the RCMP have stated in documents used to obtain search warrants that they believe these managers were involved in:
- The unusual investment of union money in condos in the Bahamas.
- The formation of a company to provide exclusive travel services for both union business and personal travel by members
- The formation of a consulting company to advise the union about investments, including a three-year deal that would bill the union $5,000 a month.
- Questionable vacation and travel expenses billed to the union, in some cases totalling more than $100,000 a year.
In court documents, the RCMP have listed the names of other individuals, who are not members of the OPPA executive, who are also under investigation.
The RCMP probe began in October following complaints by union staff alleging fraud.