The long-awaited reconvening of the MFP probe this week is not going to be a fun ride for truth-challenged former budget chief Tom Jakobek. According to testimony from a forensic accountant on Monday (August 30), there's no evidence Jakobek's father-in-law made any deposits to the former's Amex account. The significance of this fact will no doubt unfold in the days to come.
Jakobek's already suffered from the probe's meticulous workings. The former mayoralty candidate never figured on investigators tracking down the passenger manifest from the notorious May 1999 excursion to the City of Brotherly Love.
But sure enough, contrary to his protestations, Jakobek was indeed aboard a freebie flight to a Maple Leafs playoff hockey game in Philadelphia, hosted by MFP salesman Dash (brother of the Leafs' Tie) Domi.
In the spring of 2003, Jakobek actually took the witness stand at the inquiry's East York Civic Centre headquarters and confessed he'd lied. Later last year, Justice Bellamy's legal team went public with the results of another investigation. Could it be mere coincidence, the inquisitors asked, that soon after withdrawing $25,000 from his personal bank account on November 1, 1999, Dash Domi called then councillor Jakobek at his office and, two minutes later, drove his car into the City Hall parking lot for a 13-minute stay?
And that just two days later, Jakobek's Amex account was paid down by the sum of $21,000?
The former councillor was quick to offer the inquiry an explanation. The Amex bill was paid by his father-in-law, former Metro councillor Ken Morrish, "in anticipation of our upcoming family trip" to Disney World.' When the inquiry asked the grateful son-in-law and his wife to produce supporting evidence of Morrish's generosity, they refused and proceeded to court in a bid to stop Bellamy from poking around. No such luck.
On Monday, Sheree Mann of the accounting firm Grant Thornton testified. There is no evidence, she said, that Morrish made any deposits to Jakobek's Amex account. But all kinds of money was moving in and out of bank accounts held by the former councillor's mother, father and grandmother during the period in question.
Mann said there was no evidence to suggest that Jakobek had signing authority for these accounts. But, she added, "given the volume and dollar amount of cash deposits to the accounts and the transfers from these accounts and the payments to his American Express account, Jakobek appears to have controlled or influenced the activity in these accounts."
Furthermore, Mann noted, of the $335,862.72 deposited in Jakobek's personal bank account between October 1, 1999, and December 29, 2000, only $114,502.79 was "payroll related." There was an amount of $60,782.57 "for which we were unable to identify the source of the deposit," the accountant said. Perhaps Jakobek will be able to explain everything when he takes the stand again next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tie Domi spent an uncomfortable three hours on the stand Tuesday testifying that he - not Jakobek - was the recipient of the $25,000 in $1,0000 bills his older brother withdrew from the bank on November 1, 1999. He said the money was an unexpected 30th birthday present and unsolicited repayment of loans over the years.
However, he was unable to provide any proof that he received the money from his brother or any evidence of what he might have bought with it. "I didn't think this was going to be such a big deal," the pugnacious Leaf forward claimed. He could have asked Jakobek. But Domi insists he doesn't know the guy. Funny, a lot of people are saying that these days.