Manitoba

City of Winnipeg wants RCMP to hand over documents in police HQ investigation

The City of Winnipeg has asked the courts to compel the RCMP to produce copies of all information, documents, notes and records the Mounties seized from Caspian Projects as part of a criminal investigation.

City is suing Caspian and AAR to recoup losses in police HQ, wants the documents to support its case

The lawyer for former City of Winnipeg CAO Phil Sheegl is seeking a court order that would allow him to question two RCMP officers who investigated construction of the police headquarters. (CBC)

The City of Winnipeg wants a judge to compel the RCMP to produce copies of all documents, notes and records seized from Caspian Projects during the course of a criminal investigation into the construction of the Winnipeg police headquarters building.

The documents are important to the city's case in a lawsuit filed against it by Caspian in June, City of Winnipeg chief corporate services officer Michael Jack says.

"Seized documents are essential for the plaintiff to properly assess the merits of, and respond to, the amended statement of defence, counterclaim and crossclaim," Jack said in a Sept. 18 affidavit.

Caspian was the main contractor involved in the conversion of the former Canada Post building on Graham Avenue into the Winnipeg Police Service's new HQ, which has gone more than $75 million over budget.

In May, the city sued Caspian and engineering firm Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited to recover costs for what it called a number of alleged defects and deficiencies in the $214-million construction project. The city said fixing those problems will cost taxpayers "north of $10 million."

The Winnipeg Police Service has ordered an engineering study after officers discovered flaking concrete in the parking garage of the WPS headquarters. The city is suing Caspian and engineering firm AAR to recover costs for what it calls a number of alleged defects and deficiencies in the $214-million construction project. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

In June, Caspian responded to the city's civil suit with a statement of defence and in turn filed a $7.9-million counterclaim against the city for damages and money it said is owed in the construction project.

"Design and construction of the [Winnipeg Police Service] headquarters was delayed by the fault or negligence of the City, its employees or agents," Caspian said in the June court document.

"It would be unfair to require the plaintiff to proceed to trial without having production of the aforementioned documents," the city said in the Sept. 18 notice of motion application.

No charges in RCMP investigation

The RCMP investigation into the construction of the police HQ is now in its fourth year and so far no charges have been laid.

In December 2014, the Mounties raided Caspian's offices and are still in possession of documents seized in that raid. In 2015, they also seized documents from an office inside the new police HQ that had been occupied by AAR.

RCMP raided the offices of Caspian Construction in December 2014 as part of a fraud investigation into the Winnipeg police downtown headquarters project. (Sean Kavanagh/CBC)

The RCMP is also investigating fraud allegations in the construction of the Canada Post mail processing plant near the James Richardson International Airport. That plant was also built by Caspian.

The city said it can't properly respond to Caspian's allegations without the RCMP documents.

"I do verily believe that the production of the seized documents currently in the possession of the RCMP would cause little inconvenience or expense to any other party, that no one other than the RCMP can produce the seized documents in question," Jack said in the affadavit.

Last December, Canada Post filed a similar court application to force RCMP to hand over the seized documents.

​A Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench judge dismissed that request.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caroline Barghout

Investigative Reporter, CBC Manitoba I-Team

Caroline began her career co-hosting an internet radio talk show in Toronto and then worked at various stations in Oshawa, Sudbury and Toronto before landing in Winnipeg in 2007. Since joining CBC Manitoba as a reporter in 2013, she has won an award for her work on crowded jails and her investigation into Tina Fontaine's death led to changes in the child welfare system. Email: caroline.barghout@cbc.ca

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