Officer criticizes Fantino for calling lawsuit 'evil lies'

December 18, 2006
CBC News

The son of a former Toronto police chief is calling for a public inquiry into recent allegations levelled against Julian Fantino in a $2.5-million lawsuit filed by another officer.

Officer Mike McCormack, son of former chief William McCormack, issued a press release saying he and a number of other officers are offended that Fantino called the lawsuit a "bunch of evil lies."

The lawsuit, filed by Const. Rob Correa last week, alleges that Fantino and other senior officers conspired to sabotage the constable's reputation and cover up embarrassing information about Fantino's family during his time as the police chief. None of the allegations have been tested in court.

Correa's lawsuit claims negligent investigation and malicious prosecution in the laying of internal police charges against him in 2004 for alleged links to a cocaine addict and convicted car thief. He was acquitted and now claims charges were laid without any evidence.

McCormack is not involved in the lawsuit, but claims he was also "wrongfully charged" with corruption by Fantino about two years ago. He was cleared of the charges in January.

"When my family went through years of false allegations, Mr. Fantino was reported as saying, 'What do you want me to do, bring out a crying towel?'" McCormack said in the press release.

McCormack calls Fantino's comments about the lawsuit "hypocritical."

His brother, Billy McCormack Jr., has been charged criminally and is before a preliminary hearing, accused of shaking down nightclub owners for protection money.

Fantino denies allegations

Fantino has denied the litany of allegations outlined in the multimillion-dollar lawsuit that names him.

"The allegations will be exposed for what they are — a bunch of evil lies," Fantino told CBC News.

Correa, a 22-year veteran, filed a 24-page statement of claim last week that names Fantino, the Toronto Police Services Board and five others in a lawsuit.

The statement claims, among other things, that Fantino was allegedly involved in the conduct of wire intercepts of the chair of the Police Services Board.

Watchdog group wants explanation

A Toronto police watchdog group is calling on Fantino, who is now the Ontario Provincial Police commissioner, to offer a full explanation of what happened.

"His words that they are a 'bunch of evil lies,' I mean, he might believe that, but I think it would be good if we could get some actual detail from him as to what happened," said John Sewell of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition. "This a very heavy claim laying over his head."

Correa has refused to specify which Toronto Police Services Board chair he is alleging was the target of a wiretap intercept.

The statement of claim states that Fantino used Correa's case to "bolster his image in the media."