Former IWK CEO elects trial in provincial court on fraud charges
Tracy Kitch stepped down in 2017 following report she billed the hospital $47,000 in personal expenses
Former IWK Health Centre CEO Tracy Kitch has elected trial in provincial court on charges of fraud over $5,000 and breach of trust.
Kitch was not in Halifax provincial court on Tuesday, but her lawyer, Joel Pink, estimated the trial would take three to four weeks. Pink declined to comment as he left the courtroom.
"There's nothing to report today," he said.
Trial dates are scheduled to be set July 2, at which point an official plea is also expected.
Crown attorney Peter Dostal said the expected length of the trial reflects the intention of calling between 25 and 35 witnesses and the need to go through "a fair amount of documents."
"The public is well aware from the Grant Thornton review that there was quite a thorough review of the expenses over a period of about three or four years and much of that material may be at issue throughout the course of the trial," Dostal told reporters outside the courtroom.
Board members could be called to testify
That potential witness list includes anyone interviewed by police who either works or used to work at the IWK or who has or had contact with the organization.
It includes some members of the board, although Dostal said it's too early to discuss who would be called to testify.
Kitch stepped down from her post at the Halifax-based children's hospital in August 2017 following the report from Grant Thornton that showed she billed the hospital $47,000 in expenses deemed to be personal.
That report was ordered after CBC reported Kitch charged personal travel to a corporate credit card as well as other items such as iTunes charges and car service.
While Kitch denied any wrongdoing at the time, the Grant Thornton report showed she also expensed personal travel for family members.
She eventually repaid the money to the hospital after leaving her post, but by that time, the chair of the hospital's board had called in the police and the province's auditor general.
Former CFO back in court in July
The hospital's former chief financial official, Stephen D'Arcy, was also charged. A CBC report showed he knew about and helped try to conceal Kitch's expenses.
D'Arcy is due in court July 2 related to charges of breach of trust, unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data.
Dostal said the Crown is "mindful" of the fact that Kitch's case involves people in high-ranking positions in the executive of a major organization.
"Certainly their role within the organization and what they were involved with over the course of the allegations of the offence are important to us," he said.