No charges pending against Catholic trustees

  • December 1, 2008
{mosimage}TORONTO - Ontario's education minister says a 15-day police review into Toronto Catholic school trustee expenditures concluded that no trustees will face criminal charges.

Kathleen Wynne told The Catholic Register she's satisfied with the amount of time it took police to review trustees' expenses, which were released in a Nov. 12 audit report by Ernst & Young.
“I can't second guess the auditors or the police. We did everything we could and gave the time that the auditors needed. The police took the time they needed,” she said.

Toronto police spokesperson Tony Vella said the report revealed “systematic weaknesses” in the policies and procedures of the Toronto Catholic District School Board. He said no further police investigation was necessary because trustees “made full restitution to the board.” The audit report said trustees paid back $10,024 in questionable expenses with only $918 outstanding. One trustee refused to repay, the report added.

The preliminary police investigation was solely based upon an Ernst and Young audit of the Catholic board and no trustees were interviewed by police, he said.

The audit reported almost $30,000 in questionable and prohibited expenses from alcohol to a gold ring and personalized vehicle license plates.

Meanwhile, Toronto Catholic District School Board chair Catherine LeBlanc-Miller said the relatively short period of time of the police review raises an important question: “Will the Catholic community and the public view this as a thorough review?” she asked.

“The turn-around time was awfully tight compared to the initial report by Norbert Hartmann and the initial audit by Ernst and Young,” she said.

“I would expect that the public would want to be confident that everything was thoroughly looked at.”

Meanwhile, Wynne said she's awaiting a written report from police. Once the report is in, Wynne said the ministry “will be giving trustees the option to pay the potentially ineligible expenses or recouping them from their honoraria.”

A letter to the board supervisor outlining options for the trustees will follow afterwards, she said.

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