Former Ontario air ambulance chief accused of charging taxpayers for lavish ski trips

A report obtained by CBC News in Thunder Bay says the satellite phone on the Ornge aircraft was “not functional” …The former head of Ontario’s air ambulance service is making headlines again over spending irregularities and questionable expenses he charged to ORNGE during his tenure.

The Toronto Star reports that Ontario's health-care system paid for ex-ORNGE head Chris Mazza to go on two ski trips in 2010.

The vacations reportedly cost the taxpayer a total of $15,000, which included air fare, lift tickets, and hotel. Frankly, it sounds like this whole mess could have been avoided if he just checked Groupon first.

The Star report points out that Mazza was attending "continuing medical education" conferences and arrived at one in Whistler, B.C., five days before the conference began and left one day after.

His expenses suggest Mazza took that time to hit the slopes on the taxpayers’ dime.

[ Related: No expense too small for Mazza to bill to Ornge, documents show ]

Mazza's lawyer told the Star that he would not answer questions because "it is apparent to him that The Star [sic] is only interested in defaming him."

The full investigation goes in depth on where he went and how the money was spent.

It concludes with an interesting note that Mazza flew to Calgary after a conference in Feb. 2010, and charged the price of a seven-day car rental to the publicly-funded company.

ORNGE officials say they do not know why he went to Calgary or what he did until he returned to Toronto a week later.

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The investigation is interesting, but somewhat small fry considering Mazza has already been raked over the coals for his $1.4 million salary and major financial irregularities surrounding the air ambulance service.

Still, one can’t help but wonder what Mazza was doing during that week in February.