TCH fires 5 over insurance claim at 200 Wellesley

Five employees of Toronto Community Housing are fired and could face questions from police following an investigation into an insurance claim at 200 Wellesley St. E.

Evidence of alleged wrongdoing by 'several employees' to be handed over to police

The TCH says it has fired 5 employees following an investigation. 2:40
Five employees of Toronto Community Housing have been fired and could face questions from police following an investigation into an insurance claim at 200 Wellesley St. E. 

The organization said Wednesday it found "evidence of wrongdoing by several employees" of its subsidiary Housing Services Inc., in connection with an insurance claim for the high-rise apartment building. 

"The findings are serious," said TCH CEO Eugene Jones Jr. in a statement, "and today we have taken appropriate steps to address them."

Jones said five employees have been terminated, and that the findings of the independent investigation will be handed over to the Toronto police, to determine whether there is cause for further investigation. The employees have not been identified.  More details will be released later, said Jones.

Toronto Community Housing CEO Eugene Jones. (CBC)
Since last month TCH has been investigating the possibility that documents were falsified by HSI. It is alleged the documents were altered so that work that was done in Ottawa was made to appear to have been done in Toronto. 

A fire at the TCH-owned highrise at 200 Wellesley St. E. in 2010 gutted several apartments and left 1,700 people temporarily homeless.

"I don't like to see anybody get fired but, at the end of the day, if they're guilty I don't want people like that working for the city," Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at city hall on Wednesday when asked about the investigation. 

Ford said the wrongdoing at HSI potentially appeared to be "kickbacks" though TCH, in a statement later in the day, said that was not the case. The terminations "were not based on any evidence of kickbacks" said TCH.  

Ford went on to say the goings-on at HSI and 200 Wellesley St. E. involve "millions" of taxpayer dollars. He also cautioned there are still "a lot of problems" with TCH. 

TCH, which is Canada’s largest provider of social housing, has been wracked by problems in recent years.

A series of firings and resignations in 2011 followed reports about questionable staff expenses including spa treatments, manicures and expensive Christmas parties.

Those incidents were "just the tip of the iceberg" said Ford. "There's still more." 

Jones was brought in following that purge to restore credibility to the organization.


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