RCMP allege company building Winnipeg police HQ wrote cheques to mayor
by The Canadian Press
Documents suggest the firm manipulated invoices for work on the project, which is more than $75 million over budget
WINNIPEG—Newly unsealed RCMP documents suggest the owner of the company that built Winnipeg’s new police headquarters wrote cheques to former mayor Sam Katz.
The search warrant papers were filed days before police raided Caspian Construction in December 2014.
Mounties allege Caspian forged, inflated and manipulated invoices for work on the headquarters—a project that’s more than $75 million over budget.
The documents say a former accounting employee from Caspian told investigators that Katz had received two personal cheques from the company’s owner worth as much as $6,000 each.
Other employees told police money paid to the former mayor was for Winnipeg Jets and concert tickets at the MTS Centre.
None of the allegations in the documents has been proven in court
The accountant did not know why Katz received the money and noted it wasn’t related to any specific job.
CTV Winnipeg contacted Katz who said the cheques were for tickets and had absolutely nothing to do with the police headquarters project.
CTV also contacted the owner of Caspian Construction. Armik Babakhanians tells CTV he strongly disputes all allegations.
The former accounting employee also told RCMP that Caspian billed the city for personal family items and invoiced it to the cost of the police building.
A $25,000 swimming pool, house renovations and a septic tank cleaning were included.
The RCMP began its investigation after audits at city hall found red flags with the police headquarters construction.
RCMP asked a judge to make copies of Caspian’s computer files.