POLITICS

Axed Pan-Am Games Execs To Get More Than $500,000 In Severance

09/26/2014 03:49 EDT | Updated 11/26/2014 05:59 EST
TORONTO - The dismissal of two Pan Am Games executives will cost Ontario taxpayers more than half a million dollars.

Elaine Roper was let go as senior vice-president of human resources earlier this year and will receive a severance payment of $301,451.

Louise Lutgens was dismissed at the same time as senior vice-president of community and cultural affairs and will receive a severance payment of $271,180.91.

A spokeswoman for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games said in a news release that the settlements follow terms in the former executives' contracts.

Other settlement costs include legal fees of $3,500 for each case, outplacement payments of $10,000 for each, deferred retirement benefits including an RRSP of $14,023.96 for Lutgens and $16,730 for Roper, as well as medical and health benefits through the severance period of about $3,500 for each.

The two executives were let go in March, when the games announced "streamlining" measures, and CEO Saad Rafi said Friday in a statement that those changes are going to mean that about $1.5 million that would have gone to compensation will instead go to frontline operations.

When former CEO Ian Troop was fired late last year, he got a cash severance payment of $478,200 plus $27,300 in retirement benefits. The dismissal also cost taxpayers $10,000 in outplacement payments, $3,500 in legal fees and medical benefits of $15,800.

At the time, the Pan Am board gave no reason for Troop's departure, but sources said there were key operational issues that were not being decided, creating a schism between the organizers and the Ontario government.

There was also an outcry from the opposition parties when Troop, who was paid $477,000 a year, billed taxpayers 91 cents for parking, $1.89 for a cup of tea and $8,561.19 for a Mexican hotel and cocktail party.

In July, TO2015 said it had spent $126.9 million, about 15.7 per cent of its total operations budget of $810 million. It also reported $23,136 in travel and hospital expenses since July 2013.

The Liberals have also been criticized for the cost of security for the Games, admitting that the original $113 million built into the Pan Am budget was just a best guess and it may climb above the latest estimate of $239 million.

TO2015 said it couldn't provide the latest figures, saying it was in the hands of the Pan/Parapan Am Games Integrated Security Unit.

The total budget for the Games, including security, transportation and the athletes village is currently estimated at $2.5 billion.

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