Toronto taxpayers paid over $9K for washer-dryer set, city auditor general's report reveals


The city spent more than $9,000 on a residential washer-dryer set — just one of multiple instances of overbilling and lack of oversight revealed in a report to city council Wednesday.

Auditor General Beverly Romeo-Beehler did a detailed review of 250 invoices received by the city's corporate real estate management (CREM) division between 2013 and 2020.

She found dozens of instances where a lack of oversight was evident in work commissioned by CREM, some of which cost the city thousands of dollars, although the report doesn't offer a total amount lost due to the lack of oversight.

"People should be upset ... They're entitled to be," Coun. Stephen Holyday, who chairs the audit committee, told CBC Toronto.

"At the end of the day, this is public money and it should be treated as equally careful as you would treat your own money when you're dealing with these bills."

'Inaccurate or inflated invoices'

CREM is the city division that's responsible for the upkeep of city-owned properties.

Sean MacIntosh, a director of forensics in the auditor general's office, said the review of CREM was triggered when his office "received an allegation that the Toronto Corporate Real Estate Management (CREM) Division (formerly Facilities Management) was paying inaccurate or inflated invoices."

In the case of the washer-dryer, Romeo-Beehler said the Whirlpool washer-dryer set could have been picked up for a fraction of the cost. Retail prices for such sets "are in the range of $2,200," her report states.

"The vendor also charged an additional $1,125 for installation, which included labour hours for three technicians and $110 for two four feet long and 3/4" in diameter braided hoses."

One manager of a city-owned building told the auditor general it was routine for the city to rubber stamp invoices for some supplies and subcontractor work without checking to see whether the city was actually getting value for money.