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Mazza’s salary not excessive: former Ornge exec

May 16, 2012, Toronto - A former director of Ornge in charge of compensation is defending the pay packages of top executives at Ontario's troubled air ambulance service.


May 16, 2012
By The Canadian Press

Luis Navas says the six-figure compensation paid to ousted CEO Chris Mazza wasn't unusually high for someone working in the health transportation sector.

Mazza's compensation eventually reached $1.4 million, but Navas told a legislative committee that he left the board before that.

Navas was also grilled on his employment history at Ornge, which is currently under a criminal investigation, and his work on a $2-million contract with Italian helicopter firm AgustaWestland.

Navas says he was never chief operating officer of Ornge Global, one of the for-profit spinoff companies that's currently in bankruptcy proceedings.

He insisted that he was just an advisor to Ornge Global, even when Conservative Frank Klees produced a business letter that Navas signed as COO.

Navas says he never had an employment agreement with Ornge Global and signed the letter as COO because it wouldn't have been "productive'' to sign it as an advisor.

Kelly Long, a former junior executive at Ornge and Mazza's girlfriend, testified that Navas was COO of Ornge Global and that she reported to him.

A spokesman for Ornge also said Navas became chief operating officer of Ornge Global Solutions in January 2011, but no payment has been made on that contract since last August.

But Navas says that's not the case and he only worked as an advisor to Ornge Global.

Navas also told the committee that he sat on Ornge's board of directors from 2006 until 2009 and he served as chairman of the compensation committee.

Ornge spokesman James MacDonald said Navas served on the board from 2005 until 2010. Navas said there's a discrepancy because he resigned in the 2010 fiscal year.