Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he will boycott events related to the 2015 Pan Am Games until he sees some changes in spending by senior organizers. However, the CEO says the rules were followed.
The mayor sent a letter Ian Troop, chief executive officer of the organizing committee, saying he is “extremely concerned” about expenses being filed by senior Pan Am employees.
“I’m very disappointed with the people at Pan Am,” Mr. Ford told reporters at City Hall on Friday, vowing that he will not attend any events connected to the games until a new expense policy is in place.
Pan Am officials came under fire last month when it was revealed many were claiming small and sometimes bizarre costs on their expense accounts, including a 91-cent parking ticket for Mr. Troop.
In the letter, dated Sept. 30, Mr. Ford calls the spending “completely inappropriate” and formally requests detailed explanations, a copy of the organization’s expense policy, and audits and financial statements.
Late Friday afternoon, Mr. Troop released a letter to the mayor stating all the organization’s financial documents are posted online for the public and the expense policy will be revised in light of the public outcry.
“Minister Michael Chan has requested that [the games organization] further tighten its expense policies. The audit committee of the board has recommended revisions to our policy. I have attached the draft of their recommendations for your review and input,” Mr. Troop said in the letter.
A copy of the letter provided to The Globe and Mail did not include the attachments, but Pan Am spokesman Teddy Katz said the revisions would be made public when they are in place.
“If you have further ideas for improving the policy, I hope you will let me know,” the letter to Mr. Ford says.
A member of Mr. Ford’s staff said the letter had not arrived as of Friday afternoon.
Some of the expenses questioned include $9.92 billed by the committee’s senior vice-president, Louise Lutgens, for laundry, and $8,561.19 by Mr. Troop for a hotel room in Mexico and a cocktail party.
Mr. Troop’s letter pointed out the claims comply with the organization’s expense policy, which, along with its quarterly expense reports, is available online.
Mr. Ford also criticized a $7-million bonus package offered to 64 executives in charge of organizing the games. Mr. Troop is eligible for $780,000 on top of his annual $390,000 salary if the venues are completed on time and the event meets its budget.
“Talk about a racket. That’s just a complete waste of taxpayers’ money,” Mr. Ford said. “We can’t justify spending that kind of money when the average person can barely keep their heads above water.”
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has called the costs “ridiculous.”
“I believe that it is the kind of entitlement that is unacceptable. I don’t believe it should happen,” she said in September.
The federal government, the province and several municipalities are covering the costs of the games.