March 16, 2004
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OPSEU calls for conflict-of-interest investigation at MPAC
TORONTO – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is calling on Finance Minister Greg Sorbara to look into conflicts of interest at the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation.
“In light of recent revelations of conflicts of interest at MPAC, it’s time Ontarians knew what was really going on there,” said OPSEU president Leah Casselman. “We’re calling on the Minister of Finance to launch a full investigation.”
On March 8, MPAC CEO Bob Richards announced that International Property Appraisal and Services (IPAS), a private company, had ceased operations. IPAS was run by two MPAC senior managers, Paul Campbell and Brian Guerin, and at least one private consultant, Christopher Devadason, paid by MPAC. A March 14 newspaper report
revealed that Richards himself had given the go-ahead for IPAS to begin operations.
“MPAC’s conflict of interest rules specifically bar employees from using MPAC’s intellectual property for personal gain,” said Casselman. “This includes software, patents, databases, and theorems. It defies credibility to imagine that IPAS would not make use of intellectual property developed at MPAC, especially when
one of the company’s principals is the person responsible for the statistical models that decide residential property values in Ontario.”
Many municipalities are upset with the service MPAC has been providing since it eliminated 40 per cent of its staff, Casselman noted.
“We can certainly understand municipalities’ frustration,” she said. “It’s no wonder services have deteriorated when senior managers have been spending their time scheming to line their own pockets instead of concentrating on providing quality service to the people who pay them.”
Front-line workers at MPAC are extremely upset about Richards’ handling of the scandal, Casselman said.
“If any of our members had been involved in this, they would have been fired,” she said. “Not only have the managers involved in IPAS not been disciplined, they have been aided and abetted by the person responsible for the ethical conduct of the whole organization.”
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For much more information: Randy Robinson (416) 448-7441; (416) 788-9134 (cell)