The injured hospital


1297171642844_ORIGINALWe’ll never know what good the $1.2 million Michelle Cadger, 49, somehow managed to pilfer from the Misericordia Health Centre over a decade might have done if it had gone to public health services or capital projects instead of her raging VLT habit and penchant for gold.

Cadger will spend at least a year locked in Stony Mountain prison after being sentenced to three years this week for theft over $5,000. [Article here].

But, like Judge Wanda Garreck said, this was far from a victimless crime. Ultimately, as she says, it’s the public left holding the bag.

I can’t explain how an audit found $1.46 million was missing, but Cadger — who says she didn’t track her many thefts — only pleaded to stealing the million two.

I can’t explain how her husband of 25 years didn’t know something was amiss given they suddenly had a new Toyota and his wife — who made a $40,000 annual salary — had acquired luxury goods including:

  • A Louis Vuitton wallet
  • A Christian Dior purse
  • Many pieces of gold jewelry, some crusted with diamonds
  • A Tag Heuer watch
  • Diamond earrings

And while those items — along with the thousands left in bank account balances, the Toyota Corolla Sport [?] and envelopes stuffed with cash found in Cadger’s apartment — have been forfeited to the Crown, it was admitted it barely makes a dent to compensate what she took.

And then there’s the intangibles and ancillary costs the hospital [read: the taxpayer] incurred as a result of the colossal ripoff Cadger managed to perpetrate.

But I won’t hector you on it. Instead, below is presented the bulk of the victim impact statement the hospital’s CEO, Rosie Jacuzzi, filed in the sentencing hearing, for the record. An offer to read it into the record was declined, but the Oct. 28 statement was left in the hands of the judge to take into account.

The theft by Ms. Cadger has had a significant impact upon this small finance staff, other heath centre staff, the executive and the board of directors. MHC has never experienced a theft by an employee. Management and staff felt a sense of betrayal and violation of trust, a core value of the health centre and our founders, the Misericordia Sisters.

The large size of this theft, and the lengthy period of time over which it occurred has had a negative impact on the morale of staff. The review and interviewing process which have been necessary due to this theft has caused a high level of stress and anxiety to all involved.

Staff felt isolated and the morale plummeted resulting in turnover within the finance department. In addition, there was a loss of confidence in the finance department’s ability to steward resources effectively.

Given that MHC is a health care facility which is funded largely by public funds, I am also concerned that this theft has negatively impacted the excellent reputation of MHC and the Misericordia Health Centre Foundation, which is a charitable foundation providing further financial support for MHC.

This case has been widely reported on in the media. The negative publicity has potentially compromised donations and donor confidence in how the health centre steward their funds. MHC is in a 43 million dollar redevelopment campaign where out foundation is responsible to raise 7 million dollars from private donors toward the overall capital costs.

“The money that was stolen had a direct impact on the health centre’s ability to provide enhanced patient equipment, services and upgrades not funded by government and public dollars. The health centre’s operating and capital budgets are lean and ancillary funding is relied upon to provide enhancements that improve the quality of life for our patients and residents.

“In addition, the time spent by staff, executive and board of directors as a result of this theft has been significant.

The theft was first uncovered in January 2010, when the finance manager became aware that an excessive cash amount was ordered for the ATM located ay MHC in December.

As a result of this discovery, an internal review in January 2010 took months of time of the finance manager as it was necessary that she carry out an analysis of the physical flow of cash, how the cash was used and how it was recorded in the books.

As a result of her review with which revealed the cash shortage, MHC hired KPMG to carry out a forensic audit. This process took weeks to months of extensive interviews of the finance department staff by KPMG and a review involving an analysis of transactions for a ten year period.

Given the nature of this audit, finance department staff spent weeks retrieving and reviewing financial records and documents and meeting with accountants and the police in the course of the investigation.

Both the executive and the board of directors have also spent significant time reviewing these issues and providing direction. An extensive amount of staff timer and energy has been diverted to this theft which could have been utilized in a more constructive manner.

In addition to financial losses as a result the staff time spent on this extensive investigation, there have also been significant costs incurred by MHC, including the costs of the KMPG forensic audit, internal audit and legal fees incurred in providing advice to MHC.”

While it remains a mystery how nobody noticed the missing money for so long, it would be wrong to blame the victim. Misericordia does good work.

It would be wrong to let the actions of one dowdy gambling addict derail the public good they’re trying to do for the benefit of the sick and elderly in the city.

More information on the centre’s “future of care” program can be found here.

Downtown Winnipeg: Personality sketches iii

This is the third in a series of sporadic reports about criminally-involved people who habitually inhabit and wander downtown Winnipeg.

There’s a lot more to them and their lives than I’d bet most care to realize.

These are true stories. 

“He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.” 

It wasn’t until only recently that C found out how old he was.

He made the discovery after a prison guard read the 41-year-old his date of birth off a corrections report.

But then, C’s ignorance about what are (to many people) simply routine facts of life maybe shouldn’t be all that surprising from a man who says his mother consumed so much liquor, solvents and hand-sanitizer that he was “drunk at birth.”

He hasn’t heard from her in three years.

Dad — his namesake — was only introduced to him for the first time at age 16 during a chance encounter at the Manwin Hotel.

Dad is blind in one eye because of the amount he drank. He and C don’t keep in touch.

Accounts of how C’s made-in-Winnipeg journey led him to a federal prison cell for the next six years vary even when recounted by him.

“Confirming the account of his life is difficult as he has disjointed thinking which he accounts to his FASD,” a report states.

But it’s safe to say that since he was 9, C’s been largely ‘living off the land,’ as it were.

That is, wandering Winnipeg neighbourhoods on foot, with the Main Street strip — and its characters and dangers and urban angels — being the constant backdrop of C’s public life, mostly lived on the streets.

He had to grow up fast, he says.

 “I know know from the age of 7 to 40 on Main Street there was only pain and suffering,” he said in a recent letter to a probation officer. “When I was 8-9 year of age I felt like I was 15-16 year already. I know it sounds nuts but that part of my life.” (sic)

Then there’s also the good chunk of time C has spent occupying space in provincial and federal jail cells, youth and adult, over the years.

In his fourth decade, the FASD-diagnosed Salteaux/Cree man finds himself HIV-positive, recovering from a recent gall bladder infection that nearly killed him and a blood clot in his lung.

He’s also been labeled a convicted sex offender who took damaging advantage of a young relative introduced to him at a medical clinic in 2008.

He’s assessed at a very high risk to reoffend.

C was recently convicted of aggravated sexual assault after impregnating his 14-year-old, drug-addicted and CFS-involved niece during a 2.5 month-long criminal “arrangement.”

The two would share needles and he’d ply the girl with pills, booze and cash in exchange for sex.

C says he thought of the girl as “a stranger” and was so intoxicated for the entire year that he didn’t remember abusing her. He told a report writer he didn’t have a full understanding of the court proceedings, and had hoped to get a sentence of “time served.”

C’s criminal record is somewhat storied at this point, having amassed more than 40 convictions over his lifetime.

The vast majority of them, however, relate to his street-assimilated “trade” (his word) of “boosting” (stealing) other people’s stuff and reselling it for cash.

But when you’re 9 years old and already living on the streets — likely still bruised and broken from being frequently beaten by a stepdad’s belt and mom’s broomstick, you do what you gotta do.

Simply surviving could be said to be a daily miracle.

Reporting the domestic abuse did him no good, he says. He was “slapped in the face and discredited.” When the violence was directed at his sisters, he tried to step in and was beaten for that, too.

“He was consistently told that he was ugly, wasn’t wanted and that he should’t have been born, which led to suicidal thoughts,” he told his PO.

His six step-sisters each turned to the sex trade. His nine step brothers haven’t fared much better, with many also being locked up — at least one for murder.

By age 8, C’s already thinking of killing himself.

But C? He’s a survivor.

And he says he found at least some safe harbour from the very people who had once likely been mired in similar circumstances as he then found himself.

“He was helped out by various prostitutes and drug dealers who showed him how to live and survive in the elements of Winnipeg. He had people who showed him how to deal drugs and make money ‘boosting’ goods to sell to others.”

He also made some cash by working as a casual at a scrap yard — an arrangement that continued into his 30s.

So that’s what he did. Life on the streets, year after year. The grind.

Somehow, C managed to complete Grade 8.

At 16, CFS punted him to an independent living program and he just stopped going.

He was often kicked out of school for fighting and once — in elementary — expelled for stabbing a classmate with a pencil.

C’s first sexual experience also came at age 9, the same year he started doing drugs, eventually developing a problem with Talwin and Ritalin.

His partner was a 21-year-old prostitute with whom he somehow wound up staying with.

He says they had sex after she gave him a bath one day.

“He reported feeling weird, but believed he was “the man” as he heard people talking about sex but wasn’t sure what it was,” according to a provincial report. “He questions why people make a big deal about it.”

Other sex partners over the years included sex-trade workers, one of whom C married.

A report states they had “up to” four children, all now wards of CFS.

The five-year marriage, as one might imagine, was destructive.

“Their time together was barely a relationship as she was a prostitute that used intravenous drugs, ingested solvents and drank.” As for his part, C admits he often “hid in beer.”

It was his wife who gave him HIV.

She ultimately left him after he was jailed on a prior conviction.

His lineage hails from a reserve north of Regina, but he’s only been there once in his life — for a funeral.

He says he has found some solace with a North End mission, who’s executive director he describes as being “like a mother to him.”

He has expressed hope to change with the help of community groups he’s come in contact with in recent years.

C says he has no connection to his aboriginal heritage. He has no plans to return to his home community when he gets out of prison. That’s his choice.

That leaves us pretty much back exactly where we started.

“The subject enjoys traveling around the city, exploring different neighbourhoods. He presented how this allows him an understanding of how he thinks and other people’s journeys. He commented how he is trying to leave his criminal life of boosting things to sell others behind him.”

 “He stated that he is “a city boy” and will remain in the City of Winnipeg.”