Toronto Housing staff resist call for resignations

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford meets with Toronto Community Housing Corporation's CEO, one day after an auditor's report uncovered questionable employee spending at the organization.
Coun. Doug Ford told CBC News the Toronto Community Housing Corporation requires significant change right away.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford met with Toronto Community Housing Corporation's CEO on Tuesday, one day after an auditor's report uncovered questionable employee spending at the organization.

Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor's brother and frequent spokesperson, told CBC News the meeting between the mayor and TCHC boss Keiko Nakamura "lasted about 30 seconds."

Doug Ford would not provide details about the meeting, but said the organization would see significant change very soon.

"There has to be changes," Ford told CBC News. "You can't expect different results with the same people. There has to be more accountability. This was a blatant abuse of taxpayers' money."

"You don't need a vacuum in there, you need a pressure hose to clean the whole place," said Doug Ford.  "Right from top to bottom, because it's not just the board, not just the employees, it's a combination of both."

A city auditor general's report released Monday uncovered thousands spent on questionable employee expenses at the city-run housing agency, including employee cruises, massages and Christmas parties exceeding $40,000.

'Either way, they're going'

Doug Ford also said the TCHC board will see significant management changes, even if the members refuse to resign.

"Either way, they're going," said Ford. "One way or another, they're going."

But a statement issued by TCHC's citizen board members Tuesday afternoon said the auditor's report did not outline specific problems with the organization's policies, for which the board is responsible.

"We would ask the mayor to document his reasons why private citizens who have volunteered their time because they believe in giving back should be replaced," the statement said.

City councillor and TCHC board member Maria Augimeri speculated that Mayor Ford demanded Nakamura step down during Tuesday's short meeting.

"She's done nothing wrong," said Augimeri about Nakamura. "There's no culpability."

Augimeri said the auditor general's findings about millions of dollars in single-sourced and improperly tendered contracts at TCHC are far more serious than the inappropriate employee spending.

"What we have to delve into now are the procurement practices," said Augimeri. "I believe that those are the things that are the more egregious wrongs that one can find." 

The TCHC plans to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday.