Dr. Chris Mazza, former CEO - Ornge, poses in front of an Ornge helicopter at during the unveiling of the new brand for the air ambulance service at the Toronto Island airport on August 28, 2006.
Credits: ERNEST DOROSZUK/QMI AGENCY
The disgraced emergency doc now under investigation by the OPP billed everything from his Tim Hortons and 75-cent parking bills to $8,000 flights to Brazil, boozy dinners and expensive medical texts.
"It is a breathtaking set of expenses," Health Minister Deb Matthews said. "It's consistent with other behaviour. It just reinforces that cleaning house at Ornge was absolutely the right thing to do."
Mazza routinely expensed lunches and dinners at restaurants both pricey and pedestrian, everything from Byzantium, Oro and Bistro 990 to Milestones and Pizza Nova.
But it's the extravagant spending by the high-flying Mazza that really catches the eye. He travelled extensively to Milan, New York, Rio de Janeiro, San Diego, Orlando and Whistler, B.C. -- usually executive class and often stayed at high-end hotels.
In New York, he expensed rooms at the Plaza and the Four Seasons at up to $850 a night, adding $80 bike rentals, movies and $14 nuts to the tab. His bill at Rio's Copacabana in 2010 was nearly $6,000.
Drinks were also on Mazza -- he spent more than $300 at the LCBO once for a staff dinner he hosted and his bills include Jack Daniels, Lagavulin and Oban single malt and expensive wine.
Health ministry officials say it's not clear if taxpayers were billed for all of the spending as some of the expenses went to Ornge's public side while others were paid by the web of private spinoffs Mazza built in an ambitious plan to make the air ambulance service a global powerhouse.
All in all, the records released Friday include more than $237,000 in credit card expenses between 2005 and 2011, $1.2 million in loans and advances and $2.2 million in medical services Mazza billed in his role as Ornge's medical director. There is also another list of $89,000 in expenses but it's not clear if that is in addition to the credit card bills.
"(Premier) Dalton McGuinty refused to hold Matthews accountable for lack of oversight and it looks like the new premier will be walking in his footsteps," Progressive Conservative MPP Frank Klees said.
"All six candidates for Liberal leader hold responsibility for the lack of oversight and wasteful spending and they all owe Ontarians an explanation as to why tax dollars have been wasted on lavish expenses while the rest of the province deals with a jobs crisis."
A lawyer who has represented Mazza could not be reached for comment, but the former Ornge CEO testified in July at a provincial government committee that he had nothing to apologize for concerning his stint at the troubled air ambulance service.
"I poured my heart and soul into what I was doing; I did the best I could and that was all I think anybody could ask," Mazza said as he was grilled about his girlfriend's hiring, a $1.4-million salary, a botched helicopter interior design, a speedboat purchase and falling patient transfer numbers.
Mazza told the committee the government was aware of developments at Ornge and could have intervened any time.
A special report on Ornge by Ontario auditor general Jim McCarter released in March concluded that tens of millions of dollars were wasted while patient safety was quite possibly compromised.
Mazza went on sick leave shortly after his $1.4 million salary was made public, and was later terminated from his position.
"The Liberal government can't pass the buck on this one," said France Gelinas, NDP health critic.
"The people of Ontario want to know why they're stuck picking up the tab for this government's negligence."