Update: see previous posts – April 21, 2012 ORNGE: Star’s ORNGE Investigations Nominated for Michener Award, April 20, 2012 ORNGE: Warrant To Be Generated To Compel Dr. Chris Mazza to Appear Before Queen’s Park Committee, March 31, 2012 ORNGE: Health Minister Considered Turning Funding Tap Off to ORNGE, March 27, 2012 ORNGE – Should Liberal Health Minister Deb Matthews Accept Responsibility For the ORNGE Scandal?, March 23, 2012 ORNGE – Liberals Refuse To Release Salaries of ORNGE Executives on Sunshine List, March 22, 2012 ORNGE: Ontario’s Auditor General Uncovers More Questionable Deals at ORNGE Air Ambulance Service, March 21, 2012 ORNGE: Former Ontario Liberal Health Minister Blames Ministry Officials and Board for Scandal at ORNGE, March 17, 2012 ORNGE: Auditor General Jim McCarter to Release Probe Wednesday, March 12, 2012 ORNGE: Ontarians Expected to Pay An Annual Tab of $22 Million (in addition to $150 Million) for ORNGE, March 9, 2012 ORNGE: Too Many Needless Government Agencies in Ontario, March 8, 2012 ORNGE: Demotes Top Executive Who Lied About Possessing Master of Business Administration Degree, March 7, 2012 ORNGE – Current Health Minister (Deb Matthews) Blames Former Health Minister (George Smitherman), March 6, 2012 ORNGE – Helicopters’ Tail Rotors Could Fall Off, says Frank Klees, March 5, 2012 ORNGE – How Much Did Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews Really Know?, March 2, 2012 ORNGE – Sells Gift (Chopper) from AugustaWestland Valued at $50K for $30,001.01, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Opposition Parties Call On McGuinty to Have All-Party Probe of ORNGE, March 1, 2012 ORNGE – Some ORNGE Helicopters Unable to Enter U.S.A. Airspace, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Official Says He Lied About His MBA, February 28, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Fiasco could Hurt Ontario’s Ability to Cut Deficit: Former Deputy Health Minister, February 24, 2012 ORNGE – Where’s the $25 Million Dollars?, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Mistakes Disrupt Patient Care/Safety, February 22, 2012 ORNGE – Cohn: ORNGE leaves a black mark on Deb Matthews’ ambitious health reforms February 21, 2012 ORNGE – Minister of Health Refuses to Resign Over the ORNGE Scandal February 21, 2012, ORNGE – ORNGE Executives Let Taxpayers Down: Dalton McGuinty, February 19, 2012 ORNGE – Message to 400 ORNGE Employees “Shut Up or Face Criminal Charges & Jail Time”, February 16, 2012 ORNGE – Ontario Provincial Police Set to Investigate ORNGE, February 13, 2012 ORNGE Founder Chris Mazza Used Air Ambulance Expertise for His Own Business Interests, February 12, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Gave $1.2 million in Loans (One for a House), Plus a Huge Cash Advance, to Founder Dr. Chris Mazza Over the Past 18 Months, February 10, 2012 ORNGE – Did Alf Apps Quit Fasken Martineau or Did Fasken Martineau Quit Alf Apps?, February 8, 2012 ORNGE Scandal Teaches Belated Lessons, February 7. 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza, February 4, 2012 ORNGE – Paid Fasken Martineau Lawyer’s $9 Million Dollars Between 2006-2012, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Auditor Warned Province Four Years Ago that ORNGE was “Handing Out Money Like Water”, February 3, 2012 ORNGE – Dr. Chris Mazza/Maria Renzella Terminated Without Severance, January 30, 2012 ORNGE’s Travel Medical Plan Targeted Those With $20 Million in Net Worth, January 28, 2012 Doctor Chris Mazza on Extended Indefinite Medical Leave – Needs to Answer Million$ of Questions, January 28, 2012 ORNGE Transports Patients In Dangerously Designed ORNGE Helicopters, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – ORNGE Foundation Charity Shut-Down and Closed, January 26, 2012 ORNGE – Has Appointed a New Board of Directors, January 24, 2012 ORNGE – 18 Middle-Management & Charity Program Cut, January 22, 2012 ORNGE architect George Smitherman brokered meeting between Korean officials and ORNGE, January 16, 2012 ORNGE – “The Jig is Up”, December 29, 2011 There Are Some Red Faces at ORNGE, December 27, 2011 ORNGE Hires New Spin Doctor, December 26, 2011 Doctor’s Salary Quadruples In Four (4) Years to $1.4 Million, December 20, 2011 Wanted: Paramedics for Emergency Flights on ORNGE’s Air Ambulance Helicopters, December 6, 2011 Orangeh Gonna Tell The Taxpayers How Much of Their Money You’ve Spent on Yourself ?
The daughter of ORNGE’s chairman and the girlfriend of founder Chris Mazza did the small amount of research that brought the air ambulance’s for-profit arm a $6.7-million payment from an Italian helicopter firm.
Two small binders of market research, including press clippings, were assembled by Kelly Long (Mazza’s girlfriend, who rose to be associate vice-president of ORNGE) and Carrie Anne Brunet (a junior ORNGE executive who is the daughter of now former ORNGE chairman Rainer Beltzner).
Beltzner is to testify Wednesday at Queen’s Park hearings into the ORNGE affair and is expected to be asked about the controversial payment.
Neither Long nor Brunet could be reached for comment. Both lost their jobs at ORNGE after the Star exposed financial and patient care problems at the provincially funded service.
Ontario Provincial Police are investigating various allegations surrounding ORNGE, including one involving AgustaWestland’s payment of $6.7 million to Mazza’s for-profit company shortly after ORNGE purchased 12 helicopters at a cost of $144 million, a deal financed with taxpayers’ money.
An opposition critic suggested this payment was a “kickback” during recent legislative committee meetings at Queen’s Park. An AgustaWestland executive testified that he found the “insinuation and allegation insulting to me professionally and to my company.” The executive, Louis Bartolotta, said he would comment no further on that matter.
An ongoing Star investigation has looked into the marketing services report and found very little work was done to justify the whopping payment. Interim ORNGE boss Ron McKerlie has viewed the two small binders produced by ORNGE for AgustaWestland and said they do not justify the large payment. The OPP now has copies of the binders that were in ORNGE’s offices.
ORNGE purchased 12 helicopters in 2008 from AgustaWestland. Shortly after that, ORNGE Peel (a Mazza-controlled company) struck a “marketing services agreement” with the helicopter giant. ORNGE Peel later changed its name to ORNGE Global.
The plan was for ORNGE Peel to scout opportunities for AgustaWestland, countries where the helicopter firm could sell choppers retrofitted as air ambulances. The contract had three phases, with total payment to ORNGE Peel of $6.7 million. The Star has not yet obtained records explaining how this money was spent.
Mazza put two people in charge of the marketing services. Carrie Anne Brunet was a junior ORNGE official who had formerly worked for an umbrella organization representing credit unions. She joined ORNGE in 2008.
Brunet was to report to Long, a one-time water-ski instructor and waitress who was the girlfriend of Mazza (they are now living together). Long was an instructor at a Newmarket-area water-ski clinic where Mazza often took lessons behind a ski boat.
Mazza brought Long to ORNGE in 2006. She rose rapidly through the ranks, all the way to associate vice-president before she and Mazza lost their jobs (with no severance) in the wake of the first ORNGE stories late last year.
Using Google and other research tools, Long and Brunet investigated possibilities for AgustaWestland, a giant international helicopter company that has revenues of about $2 billion and more than 10,000 employees. Brazil and Saudi Arabia, they determined, were two places that needed air ambulance services.
As part of their research, Long and Brunet included newspaper clippings and television reports about the new, brightly painted ORNGE air ambulances that AgustaWestland had produced. That information was placed in one of two binders.
During this time, both Long and Brunet were attending — at ORNGE’s expense — the executive MBA program at the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ont., at a cost of more than $90,000 each. Long recently graduated. Brunet is set to graduate this June.
When asked at the Queen’s Park committee about the marketing services agreement, Bartolotta, the AgustaWestland executive, said ORNGE was “responsible for providing to us a series of reports, which they’ve done to a degree, before all of this unfortunately blew up.”
He said AgustaWestland needed help to “understand where in the world there would be similar models that might be helpful for us to pursue — I’m speaking more generally, but where countries might have a requirement for air medical transportation, where the ORNGE model might fit.”