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TCHC to turn over questionable vendor files to police

CEO and President of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation Gene Jones addressed the media the morning after a shooting at a backyard barbecue on Danzig St. in July, 2012.

Galit Rodan/The Globe and Mail

Toronto Community Housing Corporation says it will turn at least two files from its review of work performed by outside vendors over to Toronto Police "for investigation of possible criminal wrongdoing."

Gene Jones, TCHC's president and chief executive officer, made the announcement in a news release Wednesday, about three months after the review was launched.

He said TCHC will also hire a forensic accounting firm to determine whether more cases should be turned over to police "or whether civil action should be pursued."

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"I remain committed to upholding the highest standards of accountability and ethical behaviour at Toronto Community Housing," Mr. Jones wrote in the statement. "We must always get the best possible value from every dollar we spend and provide the best possible service to our residents."

TCHC announced in February that it had hired a third-party firm to review what it called "alleged improprieties and wrongdoing" involving some staff and vendors who do repairs and maintenance – incidents Mr. Jones said could include kickbacks, double billing, shoddy repairs, or repairs that weren't done at all.

Mr. Jones, who took over as TCHC's president last year, said he received an anonymous tip in late 2012 about the alleged improprieties.

When asked for comment Wednesday, a Toronto Police spokeswoman said, "There is nothing for us to comment on at the present time."

TCHC, with 164,000 low- and moderate-income tenants, is the largest social housing provider in the country.

In 2011, the city's auditor-general ripped TCHC for millions of dollars in improperly sole-sourced contracts and $200,000 in inappropriate expenses – including massages, chocolates, boat cruises and spa trips.

That report prompted Mayor Rob Ford to ask everyone on the board to resign.

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He said at the time there was "a sense of entitlement that has got to go."

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