Fantino targetted

Former cop union boss calls for inquiry into 'misconduct'

By ALAN CAIRNS, TORONTO SUN

Tue, December 19, 2006

Former cop union director Mike McCormack called for a public inquiry yesterday into "allegations of misconduct" by Toronto Police brass during ex-chief Julian Fantino's tenure.

In a press release, which McCormack asserts is written on "behalf of numerous officers who were wrongfully charged ... during Fantino's reign," McCormack said one of the sources of what Fantino asserts are "evil lies" against him was used to charge other cops.

In a $2-million civil lawsuit filed last week against the former chief and others, Toronto Police Const. Rob Correa alleged that he was wrongfully investigated and charged in 2004, while now-OPP Commissioner Fantino "sought to suppress" wiretap information from a probe into an allegedly dirty cop in a bid to protect his own reputation.

In Correa's statement of claim, he alleged that a key internal affairs cop learned from the wiretaps that Fantino "was allegedly involved in the conduct of wire intercepts" of a Toronto Police Services Board chairman "involving unknown investigations."

A mobster told internal affairs that a son of Fantino's was a "known drug abuser" and the target of another cop's plan to get "incriminating photos" to make Fantino quit, according to allegations in the statement. The mobster also allegedly told internal affairs that Fantino was "receiving unauthorized gratuities" from a Woodbridge businessman.

The allegations have not been tested in court. A statement of defence has not been filed.

Fantino could not be reached for comment yesterday but he told the Toronto Sun's Joe Warmington last week that Correa's allegations were "evil lies" and "hurtful and completely false." He also took issue with the allegations against his son. "Going after me is one thing but going after my family is as low as you can get," the former chief said.

McCormack and Correa were charged with corrupt practice under the Police Services Act in 2004 for their links to troubled car dealer Jeff Geller.

It was claimed that Correa made "secret commissions" while president of an Ontario car leasing company, which he helped start for Geller after the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Commission rejected Geller's license renewal in 2003. McCormack's wife, Elizabeth Martin, was also a director.

McCormack, the eldest son of former Toronto Police Chief Bill McCormack Sr., testified before a vehicle commission hearing that Geller might be given his sales licence back if he submitted to random drug testing.

Both McCormack and Correa -- who asserted they were trying to help Geller get back on his feet and received no payment -- were separately acquitted of wrongdoing at police tribunals.

McCormack said a public inquiry would quickly give Fantino his "day in court. I would not want him, or his family, to have to endure the over two years that I had to wait under his administration to be completely cleared of false allegations," he said.

McCormack's brother, Bill McCormack Jr., faces criminal charges on allegations he was engaged in a kickback scheme in the Entertainment District.