A senior executive of the Ontario Provincial Police Association has been fired in the wake of RCMP allegations that he participated in a scheme to defraud the union’s membership using a travel company, a consulting firm and risky offshore investments.
In an email to staff, Doug Lewis, acting president of the OPPA announced that Chief Administrative Officer Karl Walsh had been fired.
“The Board of Directors met on Friday, March 13th, 2015, in Barrie and unanimously approved a motion to terminate the employment contract of former CAO Karl Walsh,” the email read. “Notice of termination has been delivered.”
Walsh, who ran unsuccessfully for the provincial Liberals in Barrie in the 2011 election, was previously placed on administrative leave by the OPPA board of directors because of the RCMP investigation.
The unproven allegations against Walsh and two other top OPPA officials are contained in an affidavit used to obtain search warrants executed by the RCMP late last week. They claim that Walsh, union president Jim Christie and vice-president Martin Bain committed theft, breach of trust, fraud, and laundering the proceeds of crime.
Bain and Christie have since taken leaves of absence. No charges have been laid.
Among the investments the trio allegedly used to profit from and “deceive” union members are two beachside condos in the Bahamas and $100,000 of OPPA money that was wired to a fund in the Cayman Islands.
Their alleged accomplices include Toronto criminal lawyer Andrew McKay, a former cop who often represents police officers. None of the people named in the RCMP affidavit could be reached for comment.
McKay is the sole director of PIN Consulting Group, a mysterious company with which Walsh and Christie signed a three-year, $180,000 contract on behalf of the OPPA last year.
Whistleblowers warned the RCMP that McKay did not have the relevant skills to run a company offering PIN’s array of services, including real estate investments and vacation property opportunities. The firm was run out of the same Bloor St. address as McKay’s law practice.
Also last year, without explanation, Walsh abruptly dropped the OPPA’s travel provider and instructed union members to only use a company called First Response for all their travel needs, the court document states.
First Response was registered just 10 days after PIN. The travel firm is listed as a division of Leximco Ltd., whose only directors are McKay and Klara Kozack, also listed as a conspirator in the affidavit.
As chief administrative officer, Walsh was responsible for the association’s $70-million budget.
He previously served as OPPA president from October 2005 to March 2011.
On his LinkedIn profile, Walsh identifies himself as a director of the Ontario Pension Board, which administers the $18-billion Public Service Pension Plan sponsored by the Ontario government.
The OPPA has hired the law firm Stikeman, Elliott, Lewis to conduct an internal investigation into the alleged criminal ring within the union’s top brass.
Lewis, the acting president, added in his email that Walsh had been required to hand in his union-owned vehicle and OPPA electronic equipment.
- With files from Rachel Mendleson, Wendy Gillis, Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson