News Toronto

Former Barrie city staffer gets 15-month sentence for role in kickback scheme

By Tracy McLaughlin, Special to Postmedia Network

Former Barrie city manager Ryan Thompson was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence Wednesday for taking $127,000 in kickbacks from a local contractor. (TRACY MCLAUGHLIN/TORONTO SUN)

Former Barrie city manager Ryan Thompson was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence Wednesday for taking $127,000 in kickbacks from a local contractor. (TRACY MCLAUGHLIN/TORONTO SUN)

BARRIE - 

A disgraced former city manager was sentenced to a 15-month conditional sentence Wednesday for taking $127,000 in kickbacks from a local contractor.

Ryan Thompson, 39, former manager of corporate facilities, and co-accused contractor, Travis Wilkes, 32, former operator of Graham Landscaping Ltd., were handed identical sentences, after pleading guilty to accepting and receiving the secret commissions from 2011 to 2014.

The sentence will allow both men to serve their time at home. They’ll only be allowed to leave their dwellings to go to work, church or tend to medical necessities.

“This offence, motivated by greed, took continued planning and scheming,” said Justice Glenn Krelove in sentencing. “This causes citizens and taxpayers to mistrust their government ... Faith is eroded.”

He noted the crimes were “out of character,” and both men are remorseful.

The two men have since paid back the $127,000.

Court heard the scheme went undetected for three years until city employees started to complain about “outrageous” amounts being billed to the city for snow removal and city repairs done by Wilkes.

City employees became suspicious and the city hired a private investigator. The pair were spied meeting in coffee shops where Wilkes would hand him cash which was deposited directly into Thompson’s personal bank account. Other times they would text each other about “extras.”

Court heard the cost of the private investigation to the city was almost $260,000.

Thompson also admitted to handing Wilkes, 31, $2.3 million in work without a city-approved contract.