Former children’s hospital CEO ‘ready for the fight’ in fraud case, lawyer says

Former children’s hospital CEO ‘ready for the fight’ in fraud case, lawyer says

HALIFAX — The former CEO of Halifax’s IWK Health Centre is “anxious” but ready to fight fraud charges, her lawyer says.

Tracy Kitch and former IWK chief financial officer Stephen D’Arcy — both of whom now live in Toronto — were scheduled to make their first appearances in a Halifax courtroom on Thursday.

As expected, neither of them showed up, leaving lawyers to speak on their behalf.

“Needless to say, she’s very anxious, but she’s ready for the fight,” defence lawyer Joel Pink told reporters afterward.

Kitch — a former executive vice-president of patient care and chief nursing executive at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto — resigned as the IWK’s CEO in August of last year. An independent review had concluded she owed tens of thousands of dollars for “potentially personal” expenses charged to her corporate credit card.

Kitch, who served as CEO of the children’s hospital between 2014 and 2017, was charged with breach of trust and fraud over $5,000.

D’Arcy also faces a charge of breach of trust, in addition to charges of unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data.

“Any time there’s an allegation of public trust that’s being breached, whether it’s a hospital or any other organization, it is treated very seriously,” Crown attorney Peter Dostal said outside the courtroom.

He said Kitch and D’Arcy are facing separate charges, which means their cases will proceed separately.

“However, (the cases) are related and are both considered quite serious, given that the allegations relate to activities of people in positions of public trust. We’re taking it very seriously.”

Pink told the court he had received the Crown’s disclosure of evidence, which includes 4,500 pages of financial documents.

Saying he needed extra time to pore over the material, Pink asked provincial court Judge Anne Marie Simmons to schedule the next court date for June 2019.

However, Dostal objected, saying Pink’s review of the evidence shouldn’t take that long.

Simmons rejected Pink’s request: “I think that’s too long,” she said.

She said Kitch must return to provincial court to enter a plea on April 15, and D’Arcy must do the same on Feb. 27.

Outside court, Pink said he asked for more time because he wants a forensic auditor to examine all of the files.

“In most fraud cases, the paper trial is very important and is really voluminous,” he said. “This is a complicated one, so it just means there’s much more that we have to go through.”

Police said they launched their investigation following a complaint of financial mismanagement from the IWK board of directors on Sept. 20, 2017. D’Arcy stepped down five days later.

Kitch was arrested at her home in Oakville, Ont., while D’Arcy turned himself in to Toronto police.

Kitch was earning an annual salary of $296,289 at the time of her departure.

Earlier this month, Nova Scotia’s auditor general said he was shocked to find a lack of oversight and basic financial management controls at the hospital.

Michael Pickup released an audit report that concluded the IWK’s board of directors failed to create a culture that promoted accountability.

“The lack of adequate oversight by the board and management significantly increases the risk of fraud, theft, unauthorized transactions, inefficient spending and wasted money which the IWK Health Centre could have used for other organizational priorities,” the report said.

Pickup also found the board and management did not have a fraud policy in place.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

hospital fraud

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced more than 1,500 active cases in Alberta Monday afternoon and five additional deaths. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
New COVID rules coming

Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

(Black Press file photo.)
Rocky police charge three suspects after pellet gun shootings

Three incidents results in several injuries

Red Deer city council gave final approval to a mask bylaw that will go into effect on Nov. 30. (Black Press file photo).
Red Deer city council approves mask bylaw that takes effect on Nov. 30

It could be ‘superceded’ by a provincial mask bylaw, if one is announced Tuesday

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) knocks a pass away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the first half of an NFL football game Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio)
Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

Goff throws for 376 yards, 3 TDs in Rams’ 27-24 win vs Bucs

New York Red Bulls midfielder Dru Yearwood, left, fights for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, N.J., on November 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Experienced Toronto FC ready to take on upstart Nashville SC in playoff action

Canada's head coach Dave Lowry during practice at the IIHF World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland, on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. The Winnipeg Jets have hired Lowry as an assistant coach. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Former WHL head coach Dave Lowry joins Paul Maurice’s staff in Winnipeg

Felix Auger-Aliassime, of Canada, returns a shot to Dominic Thiem, of Austria, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships in New York on September 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Seth Wenig
A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

A steady if unspectacular season comes to a close for Canada’s Auger-Aliassime

Sacramento Kings' Alex Len (25) collects a rebound against Brooklyn Nets' Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Ashley Landis
Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Raptors continue to shore up frontcourt, signing Alex Len to one-year deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Freeland says Liberals will deliver economic, fiscal update on Nov. 30

Canadian Joint Operations Commander Lt.-Gen. Mike Rouleau speaks during a news conference on the recent Canadian Forces helicopter crash, Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in Ottawa. The Canadian Armed Forces is preparing to formally apologize to victims of sexual misconduct. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Canadian Armed Forces to formally apologize to victims for sexual misconduct

Alberta Liberal Party David Khan at a campaign stop in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 11, 2019. The Alberta Liberal Party says its leader, David Khan, is stepping down. A news release from the party on Sunday evening says Khan is accepting a new job in law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Alberta Liberal Party says leader, David Khan, stepping down to accept new job in law

Most Read