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Mayor livid over public housing expenses

March 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM

TORONTO, March 1 (UPI) -- Toronto's new mayor was fuming Tuesday after an audit showed lavish spending by Toronto Community Housing Corp. employees last year.

Just three months into his tenure, Rob Ford, a self-proclaimed cost-cutting fiscal conservative, appeared angry at a news conference in which he called for resignations from the board, the Toronto Sun reported.

A city auditor's report showed such expenses as a $40,000 Christmas staff dinner, $1,000 for luxury chocolates used as gifts and $800 for manicures, pedicures and massages at a staff picnic.

"This money could go to helping people that need it the most -- the people I have monthly meetings with to try to get people's (homes) fixed," Ford said. "Time after time after time, the excuse is we don't have enough money. Well, obviously that excuse does not hold water.

Ford also vowed to review procurement procedures, as the auditor said as much as $10 million, or 5 percent of the corporation's expenditures, had been awarded without tenders.

The TCHC maintains a $6 billion housing portfolio accommodating some 164,000 tenants and is one of North America's largest landlords, the Star said.

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