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Toronto Community Housing CEO says firing of five managers "needed to be done"

The high-rise building on Wellesley Street was the scene of a six-alarm fire in September 2010

TORONTO, Ont. – The CEO of Toronto Community Housing says the firing of five managers “needed to be done,” following an investigation into an insurance claim related to the Sept. 2010 fire at 200 Wellesley Street.

The employees were terminated on Wednesday.

“These decisions were not easy to make, especially not when we terminate employees,” Gene Jones said, Thursday. “But my mandate from the board of directors is to improve Toronto Community Housing performance, and restore credibility, integrity with our residents and the public.”

Jones says he has now passed information from the investigation on to Toronto Police, but it’s not known yet if charges will be laid.

On Wednesday, Mayor Rob Ford said millions of dollars were involved, but Jones isn’t sure where the Mayor got the information.

“It’s substantial, but I couldn’t speculate if it’s millions or a few hundred thousand, or thousands,” he said. “It’s serious enough that it warranted the action that I’ve taken, yesterday.”

The TCHC CEO added an independent forensic investigation found evidence of wrongdoing by several employees, but kickbacks were not involved.

Meantime, TCHC board chair Bud Purves said Jones did exactly what needed to be done.

“I’m satisfied that Gene managed this matter responsibly, professionally and under the best interests of the corporation, its shareholders and residents.”

Purves said the board took the matters very seriously.

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