A review of the bidding process for the City of Toronto’s garbage and recycling contract has revealed that one of the firms was paying drivers bribes to ferry it’s waste to public work sites.
The Toronto Star reports that contractors owed from $7-million to $13-million in wages have brought multiple lawsuits against Vancouver-based Aggregate Industries over the recent developments.
Aggregate was one of three firms that came in second in the bidding process for the garbage contract. However, according to the review, Ansa Waste Solutions is accusing the company of corrupt practices after missing out on the contract.
In the lawsuit, an Ansa executive claims that multiple garbage handlers for Aggregate had been caught with cash as well as how-to materials like burner tips for burner wells.
Aggregate allegedly issued and encouraged those bags of cash to be carried by drivers on city garbage routes – it then reported the thefts as lost service hours to the Public Works and Infrastructure department, which would issue the workers a ticket for fraudulent activity.
All told, Ansa claims Aggregate owes it $10-million for bogus service hours, but some estimates go as high as $13-million.
“It’s like a perfect storm for the court,” defense lawyer Andrew Lawrence told the Toronto Star. “A subcontractor’s in debt because it paid its workers illegally, and it’s suing its subcontractor to recoup the cost of illegal payments it made to its workers.”
Aggregate says that the allegations are baseless, with president Craig Kemp calling the lawsuit a “political hit job” by Ansa.