O.P.F.F.A. spending Tens of Thousands of Union money to fight against Atkinson / Grieve for what outcome?

According to the O.P.F.F.A., millions have been misappropriated by Colin Grieves and Paul Atkinson. Currently, they are in pretrial trying to assess if there is enough evidence to justify a trial.

Following the Plastimet fire, many firefighters started to fall ill from the toxic chemicals each were exposed to while they battled the blaze and smoke-filled air. With such an influx of cancer and other health-related issues, Grieves and Atkinson began another long battle to bring proper representation to all their ailing comrades with financial aid through WSIB.

According to the O.P.F.F.A., they received a complaint, which led them to conduct an investigation into all donations. Bev Bamlett, widow of deceased firefighter stated she had concerns of the conduct of Paul Atkinson who had handled her WSIB claim.  She was particularly upset that Atkinson seemed to consider a successful settlement to a lottery win.  This internal investigation led the O.P.F.F.A. to believe that several large donations were never received and misappropriated by Atkinson.  The O.P.F.F.A. state at least 3 million dollars is missing.  Past O.P.F.F.A. President Carmen Santoro has stated “our only intention through this is to make all our widows whole”.

Donations from the WSIB settlements were collected and disbursed for firefighters and retired firefighters alike but were all the fees collected properly? This is what has ultimately been called into question.

Prosecuting lawyers, the police, retired firefighter family members, and key executives within the fire union have all been called to stand.

The trial itself has been a costly endeavour.  The costs are climbing and the members may soon be asked for a hefty contribution. The sale of the member-owned OPFFA building was rumoured to have sold for 1.2 million and only weeks later resold for almost double around the time the charges were laid.


Firefighter Lawsuit

Catalyst for Change

Sale of OPFFA building.

Lawsuit costs climbing.

3 thoughts on “O.P.F.F.A. spending Tens of Thousands of Union money to fight against Atkinson / Grieve for what outcome?”

  1. Dear Administrator, I know this will be a long post but everyone needs to see this. These are some comments that people have left on the Grieve/Atkinson fundraising site (https://fundrazr.com/paulandcolin). Everyone needs to know how people truly feel about these two men. These are comments from widows, co-workers, children of deceased firefighters, ex-chiefs of fire departments, ex WSIB employees, etc. The OPFFA is spreading propaganda and lies, they are trying to destroy the reputation of Colin and Paul. I won’t allow it, and these people who left these comments won’t allow it. There are many more comments that I did not post.

    Glen and Laura Peace:
    We have known Colin for years and are confident that he will be found innocent of all these allegations.

    Brian Colbeck (retired HFD)
    Thank you for all the help and hard work.Bev and I wish you both all the best from the bottom of my new heart.

    Joseph & Valerie Elliott:
    Colin Grieve is not only my Co-Worker, he is one of my Best Friends. What the OPFFA is doing to Colin is absolutely disgusting. I stand behind Colin 100% and hope he gets cleared of all these horrendous and unsubstantiated accusations. The OPFFA , in my opinion is unscrupulous organization . I have no trust in them.

    Christopher Tsang :
    Has anyone asked the OPPFA why they are not supporting Paul & Colin to help bereaved families more? OPPFA should be asking Paul & Colin to train others to help more families and re-write the rules and legislation to make it easier for dying firefighters and their families to cope with the bureaucracy. I would like to say what I really think but it would be censored. Whoever launched this lawsuit is pathetic.

    I am making an anonymous donation because I have concerns about retribution from the executive. They are all bullies and this needs to stop!!!

    Lindsay Glegg:
    36 years ago I pledged to never knowingly or willingly harm a brother!! I am making this donation to stand behind two brothers who have been harmed!!! I encourage everyone to donate and aid Colin and Paul receive the justice they SO deserve.!
    “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”! – Winston Churchill

    Mike and Kathy Hamelin:
    The treatment our brothers received and continue to receive for doing so much for ill and injured firefighters is disgusting and shameful!

    Susan and David Alliston :
    Thank you both for the hard work you’ve done advocating for presumptive legislation. We all rest a little easier knowing that our families will be taken care of should we contract a work related illness.

    Greg Edwards:
    I echo the comments of so many before me. The impact of Colin and Paul’s work over the years is immeasurable. The help they have provided to so many firefighters and their families should not go unnoticed. It is time for us to unite and support them.

    Mike Taylor:
    Tremendous compassion and hard work done from these gentlemen. I know there are hundreds of families who respect and appreciate all they’ve done.

    Bruce Greenlaw:
    Colin and Paul are two men of great integrity.
    The smear campaign by two ” firefighters”
    ( and I use that term loosely) , cannot undo the decades of great work that Colin and Paul did for firefighters across Canada.
    I’m standing up for them because they stood up for me when I needed them.
    I encourage all firefighters that they have helped directly , and those firefighters that received Presumptive Legislation WSIB benefits , to make a donation. And just as important , be a voice that they need. It the least we can do , they’ve been fighting for us for decades.

    Dave :
    Enough is enough! When is this going to stop! How can you justify spending the retirees’ contributions and the funds to harm two people who have done the most for firefighters. Without them, there would not be presumptive legislation in Ontario. Colin and Paul you have our support!

    Cindy Price:
    I have known Colin and Paul professionally for over 20 years. As a retired WSIB occupational disease adjudicator, I worked with them closely while they advocated for firefighters. I support them completely and believe this malicious law suit to be unjust and unfair. I hope firefighters collectively show their support.

    As a union member who attended some of the pretrial, I am shocked that the members have not supported these two men. This is David vs Goliath and it looks like David is going to win again.

    Bridget Carolan and Chuck Carolan:
    Paul has always treated our family with respect and compassion. He was very helpful and clear with our options.

    What OPFFA has done to these two fine gentlemen is criminal.

    Edith Burch:
    Finally a chance to show our family’s gratitude for the tireless support throughout Randy’s illness. Randy and I met a number of times with Paul Atkinson and felt blessed to have him guiding us through a painful and confusing process. Randy’s bravery in facing his own diagnosis was evident in his appearing in the Mask Up video and standing proudly with Paul, Colin and other affected families in the legislature to ensure illnesses be added to the presumptive list. Randy had peace in knowing that after he died we would not face financial burdens compounding our grief and wanted to help other families as much as possible. I am sure he is watching over us now and would want Paul and Colin to feel as well supported as we were, and to stay strong. In all they did for us they never once asked for anything in return.
    The truth will come out. Paul Atkinson and Colin Grieve’s honesty, dedication, transparency and human decency is to be admired. I look forward to a formal apology from the OPPFA and proper compensation for these two incredible professionals who fought on behalf of so many others.

    Tyler and Cindy Popowich:
    I need to put into words exactly what Paul and Colin mean to this family! Suffice to say they’ have pulled us from our darkest days, lent an ear or a shoulder during the many frantic moments throughout Tyler’s cancer treatment and recovery. Tyler’s fight with cancer wasn’t his only battle, they helped us navigate the endless paperwork and the general confusion and chaos that accompanied the disease. They never once expected anything in return, other than hoping for the sound of relief of the voice at the other end of the phone call. They’ve become an extension of our family, and families fight for one another. In hearing about the horrible allegations put forth against Paul and Colin, which are disrespectful, insulting, and utterly disgusting considering the countless hours they dedicated to helping people like us survive the illness and the process. We stand beside you! We will do so until you are exonerated of all charges! That’s non negotiable!
    We love ya brothers ,Tyler and Cindy

    In memory of Earl Smith a Hamilton Firefighter for 30 years. Our family is truly grateful to Colin for all his hard work,
    dedication, professionalism, and commitment at such a difficult time.

    Lorraine Whitehead:
    In memory of my husband, Brian Whitehead, who died with esophageal cancer after working on the Scarborough Fire Department for 30 years. Thank you, Paul and Colin, for your many years of dedicated hard work protecting the families of the many who have fallen.

    Joan Arnold:
    Thank you Colin from the bottom of my heart❤ i hope you truly know how much i apprieciate everything you did for Jim and I! I am so sorry you are going through this hell, please know that I support and believe in you.
    Love, Joan Arnold

    Andrea Arnold:
    My father, Jim Arnold, died from his work related cancer knowing that his wife who has mobility issues would be taken care of…all of which was the result of all the hard work that Colin Grieve’s did. Colin Grieve’s is our family’s hero and as such we support and believe in him as so many others do. He is a selfless, honest, hardworking, caring man that helped my family through our hardest moment.

    Kay & (son) Colin Macdonald:
    Paul Atkinson went to work immediately when we realized my Dad, James Macdonald was quite sick in early May 2011. When Dad was diagnosed with primary brain cancer, Paul then went after benefits that still help my Mom to this day. We didn’t expect much, if anything. Dad retired in Fire Prevention, and had been a volunteer firefighter for a few years in Thistletown. I asked Paul about maybe a semi-private room and a more comfortable hospital bed. Dad was in a lot of physical pain from the cancer spreading through his spine and into the lungs. Paul knew how to help because he was the one who, along with Colin Grieve, secured these benefits for all firefighters who become ill from our dangerous job. It’s great to see people getting behind Paul Atkinson and Colin Grieve. They were there for all of us!

    Cam Ritchie:
    These two BROTHERS have spent decades serving our wounded warriors, and the impact they have had on our lives, past, present and future is immeasurable. We are honour bound to assist them in their battle for justice, as they did for so many of us, in our time of need!

    My Father was a Toronto Fire Fighter and my best friend. He died battling a horrific Cancer. Paul Atkinson and Colin Grieve supported him from the moment they met him until the day he died. They worked tirelessly on his case. They spent many hours just talking with my father. They both wanted my father to know my mother would be fine financially. My sister and I will never forget what you did for our family! God bless you both.

    Who are the OPPFA directors who are showing their inadequacy to help the firefighters by launching this lawsuit? Isn’t the OPPFA supposed to be helping, not hindering? Why isn’t OPPFA supporting Paul & Colin? Unbelievable that they would want to deprive the surviving families of much needed restitution. This is a good example that “Actions speak louder than words”.

    John Vonk:
    Paul and Colin’s efforts for ALL Ontario Fife Fighters presumptive legislation entitlements was an epic accomplishment not to matched by any other organization or party.

    Lorraine Whitehead :
    In memory of my husband, Brian Whitehead, who died with esophageal cancer after working on the Scarborough Fire Department for 30 years. Thank you, Paul and Colin, for your many years of dedicated hard work protecting the families of the many who have fallen.

    William North:
    As a beneficiary of your hard work, having gone through cancer and not having to deal with the problems of the WSIB, I want to thank Paul and Colin for their dedication and hard work. I hope this helps. Thanks again

    Ernie Yakiwchuk:
    I was appointed Management Co-Chair of Toronto Fire’s OHS Committee before the amalgamation of the Cities and kept that position until I retired in 2006.I always found Paul’s dedication to protecting the health of firefighters came first. I sat at the table while he fought for his brothers and sisters. For this I will always appreciate Paul. On a personal note, Paul handled my cancer claim competently and professionally.
    Thank you Paul for all your good work.

  2. Copied directly from the CanII website – Canadian Legal Information Institute.
    (when reading this, keep in mind all Witness statements produced by the OPFFA’s lawyers were written by the lawyers themselves and not by the witnesses. They were unsworn and some unsigned. OPFAA Executive Ann Bryant, Two lawyers representing the OPFFA Civil Lawyers Rahool Agrwal and Andrew McCoomb, and all Witnesses, testified to this in the Criminal Pretrial. Also, keep in mind that Detective Constable Taylor Meyers obtained his Arrest Warrant and Production Order Warrant based on these very same Witness statements. Detective Constable Taylor Meyers testified he did not question one single witness, his judgement was based solely on the pre-written witness statements handed to him by the OPFFA)

    COURT FILE NO.: CV-16-00550104
    DATE: 20180305
    Re: OPFFA Counsel’s Involvement:

    [68] A review of the criminal disclosure obtained by the Atkinson defendants confirms that the OPFFA counsel were rather involved in various investigatory steps and the contacting of Halton Police. OPFFA counsel did conduct an investigation into the defendants, and shared the results of that investigation with Halton Police.
    [69] That involvement does appear to have been somewhat aggressive on occasion, especially when Halton Police initially took the position in April 2016 that there was insufficient evidence to support a criminal investigation. Subsequent to Halton Police taking that position, OPFFA counsel provided factual summaries to Halton Police of the interviews and information that OPFFA counsel collected to “assist” in investigating Atkinson and Grieve.
    [70] OPFFA counsel conducted interviews with several witnesses, and forwarded those witness statements to the Halton Police. OPFFA counsel also had numerous discussions and meetings with Halton Police, all undertaken with a view to furthering the investigation and the potential laying of criminal charges against Atkinson and Grieve.
    [71] The Atkinson defendants take the position that OPFFA counsel may indeed be called as witnesses in the criminal proceeding, including at the preliminary inquiry, as it was OPFFA’s counsel who interviewed the witnesses and obtained the witness statements. As put by the Atkinson defendants, “given that OPFFA counsel appear to have largely conducted the investigation, it is difficult to imagine how they will not be witnesses in any criminal trial.”

  3. Found this @ http://www.turnoutblog.com/2016/03/10/iaff-corruption-freddy-does-the-trick/

    Christopher Day says: May 12, 2016 at 6:00 am
    If hypocrisy was an art, Carmen Santoro would be Michelangelo. He talks about keeping debate in-house and maintaining confidentiality, yet he didn’t hesitate to take to the media to smear the names of two firefighters who have spent decades helping widows and sick firefighters to navigate their occupational disease claims. He has stolen thousands of dollars from his own local and was aware of his Board members (while he was president) stealing 10s of thousands more. He has bullied and harassed members in good standing off of boards and committees to fuel his own narcissism and build a corrupt empire that is now crumbling around our ears, all so he can pad his own paycheck while climbing the ladder to kiss the ass on the next rung up.

    So it’s no wonder he’s in favour of keeping matters confidential. Hiding behind confidentiality is what has allowed him to go as far as he has while hiding his dirty little secrets.
    Carmen, your secrets will catch up to you.

    Ellard Beaven says:May 17, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Yes Chris I agree. How did the OPFFA enter into a lawsuit against Paul and Colin without it being brought to the convention floor? The OPFFA executive under Carmen’s leadership voted to sue and announce it at seminar and now have been counter sued for12 million. So this June they will probably ask for more money for an unconstitutional lawsuit and if we lose the OPFFA will be bankrupt. I remember when the OPFFA was a proud and honest organization that never had their integrity in question… What happened???

    I know a Crook! says: May 18, 2016 at 2:03 am

    Ellard, I can answer your question…….Carmen is a CROOK, not only in Oakville when he was the president but in the OPFFA…..the problem is the OPFFA is full of wannabe leaders…….OPFFA locals are sheep……following the leaders off the cliff. If you ask me….in 5 years there will be no OPFFA…..more locals are looking to LEAVE…!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *