Would Carmen Santoro Intentionally Mislead Potential Witnesses?

After working our way through the volumes of court documents of the OPFFA vs. Grieve – Atkinson civil suit (at this point, these documents are available to the public), we came across an interesting email exchange between Carmen Santoro and a potential witness. I’m sure you’re all aware that when the OPFFA’s “income” started to decline they went on a witch hunt trying to pin this decline on Grieve and Atkinson.

But the fact is, this so-called “income” was declining because all the large claims had already been settled, and no new cancers have been recognized,therefore fewer donations were coming in from widows. The only claims left to work on were for active members, and active members are not required to make a voluntary donation. By this point, 2015, Grieve and Atkinson had left the OPFFA and had started their own business. They had every right to advocate for any worker in Ontario, and they had every right to charge a fee for their work. In a scheme to generate more “income” the OPFFA started to slander Grieve and Atkinson in an attempt to discredit their business.

I use the term “income” lightly, in regards to the OPFFA, because this money was generated by voluntary donations from widows of deceased firefighters. This money was only to be used within the Occupational Disease portfolio (research, lobbying, appeals, etc). The OPFFA is not a charity, this donated “income” should have been declared as income to Revenue Canada. Just as Grieve and Atkinson reported their business income to Revenue Canada.

In their attempt to slander Grieve and Atkinson, the OPFFA began calling hundreds of widows looking for the tiniest trace of impropriety. Here is one such example, it’s an email exchange between Carmen Santoro and a family member of a deceased firefighter. I will redact her name for her protection.

> On Sep 29, 2015, at 9:36 AM, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Hi Carmen:
> Sorry for being so late getting this info to you. I have been out of town for a couple of days.
> Here are the highlights of my conversation with Paul on August 28th. I will also send you the email (under separate cover) that I had initially sent to him, which generated the phone call.

>. Friday, August 28th @ 1:11 p.m. I sent he email to him
>- within 10 minutes, he called me
> talked for 15-20 minutes ……….
– he told me he would have asked us to forward the 2 cheques to him, he would pass them on to their lawyers who would deposit said cheques into their Trust Account. They would then cut cheques to the beneficiaries of the estate. End of story. No reporting to Revenue Canada necessary
> I told him that I thought that was illegal because the cheques were made payable to the Estate…..
> I said that W.S.IB. told me that they send a print out to Canada Revenue Agency on January 1st, listing all monies paid out in 2015 and to whom the monies were issued. Knowing that my husband was the executor of the estate, I did not want the responsibility falling back on him and so what would we do if C.R.A. contacted us to say that nothing had been reported to them?…
>he also suggested that the legal advice we obtained was incorrect
>I asked if he knew of anyone else having this reporting problem to the Canada Revenue Agency and he said “no ……
>After speaking to Andrew and yourself, my faith in the OPFFA has been restored, ………

Carmen’s reply

Original Message
From: Carmen Santoro
Sent: September 29, 2015 10:15 AM
To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Conversation with Paul Atkinson
re. The Estate of xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Thanks xxxxxxxxxx.,
Thank you for this account of the conversation with Paul. And thank you for your kind words regarding your faith in our organization. Stay in touch. We will be pleased to provide you with proper legal tax advice.
Carmen

Workers’ compensation benefits are compensation paid in respect of an injury, disability, or death to a worker, under the law of Canada or a province or territory. These amounts are shown on a T5007, Statement of Benefits. These amounts are not taxable.
It’s pretty obvious to me that Carmen Santoro contacted this family with the hopes of gaining some damaging information on Paul Atkinson. The only thing the family thought was damaging was that Paul told them they did not have to pay taxes on their WSIB award. The family obviously did not know the rules on WSIB disbursements. But note how Carmen responded, he let the family believe that Paul did something wrong, he did not tell this family that Paul was correct. Carmen left the family believing that Paul was willing to do something illegal, but in actual fact Paul was trying to save the family legal and accounting fees that they did not need to spend because this money is tax-free. And true to Carmen’s nature he took credit as though he did something noble.

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