When the RCMP called the chief of Thunder Bay police to let him know he had a leak in his department involving an investigation into the city’s mayor for alleged extortion they weren’t prepared for what they were about to hear, a court heard Monday.
Just a few days had passed since the RCMP first went to Thunder Bay police on Dec. 14, 2016 with details of their extortion investigation into Mayor Keith Hobbs and Hobbs already knew.
Three Mounties called Chief Jean-Paul Levesque Dec. 22 to let him know he had a leak and were expecting he would find out who it was.
They learned in that call with Levesque it was he who told Hobbs.
“I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say. There was nothing to say,” testified RCMP Cpl. Ron Miller in the opening day of Levesque’s breach of trust and obstruction of justice trial at the Thunder Bay courthouse.
The call ended quickly and the three Mounties sat in silence for about 20 seconds just looking at each other.
“Is that what we heard, that the chief told the mayor of the investigation?” said Miller describing to the court what he thought of Levesque’s admission.
The RCMP was in the process of handing the file over to Thunder Bay police who were then going to ask the Ontario Provincial Police to investigate.
Hobbs had spent 34 years as an officer on the Thunder Bay police before becoming mayor.
The OPP had to wait for the RCMP to hand over all of its investigation, which was basically a lengthy recorded interview with the complainant in the case against Hobbs which needed to be transcribed.
Miller sent the first 20 pages of the transcription Dec. 21 to now acting Deputy Chief Don Lewis, but after the call with Levesque he testified they stopped all communication with Thunder Bay police and in January directly forwarded the file to the OPP that would later charge Levesque in May.
Levesque told the Mounties during the call on Dec. 22 he hadn’t told Hobbs who the complainant was but based on testimony in court Hobbs had a pretty good idea.
The complainant was 36-year-old Craig Loverin, an Afghanistan war veteran, who was friends with local lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff.
Loverin testified in the morning that Hobbs set up a meeting in the parking lot of a Metro grocery store and Tim Horton’s on the evening of Nov. 17.
He said Hobbs got into his vehicle and gave him a white USB memory stick that contained several videos of Zaitzeff being recorded at his home.
Loverin said he was directed to give Zaitzeff the memory stick that Hobbs claimed to have gotten from a Thunder Bay police detective.
The court would hear later in the day from RCMP Const. Darryl Waruk, that Loverin said that Hobbs claimed to have two current Thunder Bay police detectives who “owed him” after he destroyed cellblock video when the officers had bodily fluid thrown at them back when Hobbs was still on the force.
No more details were provided to the court.
RCMP Cpl. David Leonard testified Loverin came to him and several other Mounties Dec. 8 and gave a full statement the following day.
Leonard said Loverin told said Hobbs told him to give the videos to Zaitzeff so he “knows how much trouble he is in.”
The court heard that Hobbs wanted Zaitzeff to buy his ex-girlfriend, Mary Voss, a home for $420,000, when he had only planned to purchase one for $250,000. If he didn’t Zaitzeff would be on the front page of a national magazine.
By the time Loverin went to the RCMP last December Zaitzeff had already been charged in late November with several counts of sexually assault.
Hobbs and his wife Marisa Hobbs were both charged with extortion and obstruction of justice in July.
Voss was charged with extortion.
Hobbs had been on leave as mayor but recently returned to the council chambers.
The trial continues Tuesday.