No wonder Ontario is broke! …… Here’s “McGuinty/Smitherman’s ORNGE expenses” paid for by tax payers!

Posted: January 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

When you are waiting for some health care in Ontario and can’t quite get help when needed because the system is broke and has backed up waiting times for elective surgery, hospital beds, available nurses and Doctors, you may not want to read this as you just may “lose it”!

Ontario’s Ministry of Health may be the most scandal-ridden Ministry ever in Ontario’s history. It appears this Ministry has been used and abused by every single Minister that McGuinty has ever appointed. One in particular, George Smitherman was in charge when E Health scandal broke and set up this latest scumbag organization that is still under police investigation.

No wonder McGuinty went into hiding and quit!

If you get a chance to ask the “potential replacements of McGuinty” in the next week or so what they will do to return all our money, please do so, but just don’t expect an answer!

ORNGE: ‘First-class Chris’ billed us 75¢ for parking, $1.50 for cookies, $8 for fizzy water, $14 for nuts

Kevin Donovan, Jesse McLean  Staff reporters RENE JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO


ORNGE founder Chris Mazza’s lavish lifestyle at home and abroad caught up with him in the dying days of his reign — the bank froze his credit card.

He and girlfriend Kelly Long, who had been promoted to vice-president, had a whirlwind July in 2011, flying to Milan, Italy, for three days and turning around and jetting off to São Paulo, Brazil.

Tens of thousands of dollars in flights, meals and other charges jammed Mazza’s card, and ORNGE officials in Toronto scrambled to clear his account, which was 60 days past due.

The interest on the account was eventually paid by ORNGE’s taxpayer dollars, along with the original expenses.

Six years of Mazza records were released late Friday afternoon after a Star story earlier this week revealed details of his accounts and pointed out that the prorogation of the legislature by Premier Dalton McGuinty meant the records were being kept secret.

Around Queen’s Park, MPPs and staff pounced on the records Friday. Conservative MPP Frank Klees, who led the opposition charge on ORNGE, dubbed Mazza “First-class Chris.” NDP health critic France Gélinas called the “outrageous spending” a “slap in the face to Ontarians.”

Her researchers, along with researchers for the Conservatives and Health Minister Deb Matthews, were busy into Friday night digging up examples.

“How can the government allow someone working in our cash-strapped health-care system to bill taxpayers $8 for fizzy water, $14 for nuts and $855 per night for a hotel room?” said Gélinas.

The biggest hotel expense the Star found in its first review of the records was four nights at the Paris Four Seasons hotel with a rate showing $2,400 a night, all part of a seven-day trip in 2009 to meet with AgustaWestland helicopter company executives (ORNGE bought 12 helicopters at a cost of $144 million). During the Paris leg of the trip, which included London, England and Milan, Mazza was loose with expenses, including $15 for a shot of the anise-flavoured alcohol drink absinthe.

On the other end of the spectrum: 75 cents for parking in Toronto. His records show that ORNGE’s $1.4 million-a-year man readily expensed things that had cost him mere pocket change — $1.50 for a coffee or a cookie, $5.24 for internet connection at LaGuardia Airport in New York.

Matthews told the Star she has asked ORNGE’s new board of directors to explore ways to recover money from Mazza. The records, a big story Friday, were requested by Liberal MPP Liz Sandals last August when Sandals was on the committee investigating ORNGE (dissolved when the legislature was prorogued). The box sat at Queen’s Park untouched until the Star asked for it to be made public.

“We wanted those expenses out,” Matthews said.

Today, ORNGE is under an expense freeze, similar to one imposed on the Ontario government. A dinner can only cost $20; lunch is a maximum $11.

When in the GTA, Mazza had expensive tastes. One expense that caught the eye of Liberal researchers Friday was a $1,194 dinner at Via Allegro in Etobicoke on Boxing Day 2007. According to the document the dinner was with representatives of AgustaWestland. That was before the deal was done to purchase the choppers.

During the six years that were released, the level of expensing is constant, and it was not just for him, though he submitted the expenses. Before Christmas 2006, just one year into ORNGE’s existence, he expensed $800 in limousine rides to bring top-level ORNGE executives to his home. He expensed $357 in booze from the LCBO for that event, including numerous bottles of wine and an eight-year-old single malt Scotch.

When executives file expenses, and some are deemed personal, it is typical for the executive to repay the money. The Star found a few examples of this — one was just under $1,000 expensed at a Harry Rosen men’s store. Mazza wrote a cheque back to ORNGE to cover that.

Most times though, the expenses stood. They tell the tale of an executive who was charged by the Ontario government with running its provincial air ambulance system but instead spent a great deal of time out of the country.

The Star’s previous research showed that Mazza hoped to sell ORNGE to the world and the records certainly back up a travel itinerary with impressive stops.

All trips were first class, both his airfare and his hotels.

In 2010, for example, he expensed an $8,000 return flight to Brazil, a place he would visit frequently, sometimes with Kelly Long. The expense note shows he was to meet potential investors. When ORNGE Global, his international arm, was shuttered in early 2012, there was not a single investor.

In 2011, he took at least two trips to Brazil, one with Long. On one trip (it is not known if he was alone) he expensed almost $6,000 at the Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Another city he visited was New York. He had a $725-a-night stay at the Plaza Hotel, charging taxpayers $5.24 for his internet connection at LaGuardia during the trip. The full hotel stay was $2,470, but he reimbursed ORNGE $191 for personal charges, which a barely legible handwritten note indicates included a bottle of mini-bar champagne and an $80 bike rental. Other trips included numerous California stops.

There were hefty room-service charges, laundry charges on international trips and in-room movies (titles not listed).

The Star has tried to interview Mazza on his expenses this week, but his lawyer said it could not be arranged. In previous responses to the legislative committee, Mazza has apologized, saying he is sorry his salary became a lightning rod for controversy. He was never questioned about his expenses because they were secret when he testified.

Included in the listings of expenses are several related to skiing. Mazza is an avid skier. One expense lists almost $800 for avalanche ski training at Big Sky mountain in Montana. Another was a January 2010 stay at the Fairmont Chateau hotel in Whistler, B.C., at a cost of $2,682. One ski trip, in January 2006, was to Kicking Horse resort in Golden, B.C., at a total cost of $1,100, plus flights.


  1. Tom Blacksmith says:

    For somebody to even make the effort to input a line item for 75 cents on their expense report, they must be either extremely “hard up” or just plain thieves. Why would any wealthy person make this effort? Probably because they are trying to squeeze every penny they can out of the taxpayer honeypot. This guy could very well have spent more time creating invoices and 50 page expense reports than he did running the company. Truly sad and disgusting!

    Unfortunately, I think this has become the norm in government. It attracts the worst of cockroaches and they get away with it because everyone is doing it. Like taking candy from a baby.

    So what’s going on with the OPP investigation anyway? Nothing to see folks!

  2. Time to bring back public flogging, tar and feathering and the guillotine for these bastards.

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