August 12, 2009
The Canadian Press
ORILLIA – A veteran Ontario Provincial Police officer at the centre of a criminal corruption scandal has been charged with discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act.
The charge relates to an alleged 2002 meeting in Montreal that OPP Sgt. Mike Rutigliano is accused of having "arranged and attended with members and associates of the Rizzuto traditional crime group, regarding a jewellery store in Woodbridge, Ontario.”
"When questioned on or about February 19, 2004 as to your relationship with Vito Rizzuto, you provided false and misleading answers stating, 'I do not know the man, I have never met the man, I have never spoken to the man, I have never communicated with the man either in writing or electronically, nor have I ever had any association with him, directly, or indirectly.’"
Rizzuto is considered Canada's top mob boss and is currently serving a prison sentence in the United States in connection with gangland killings.
In October 2002, when the Montreal meeting is alleged to have occurred, Rutigliano was working out of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission, where he had been since 1996.
The 50-year-old sergeant, who is suspended from the force, made his first appearance this morning at the OPP's general headquarters.
He declined to comment.
Insp. Charles Young asked the matter be put over until Sept. 28 at which time an "external prosecutor" will have been appointed and prepared to proceed.
Outside headquarters, Toronto defence lawyer Owen Wigderson said his client is not guilty of the charges though no plea was entered today.
"The timing of these allegations is certainly thought-provoking," Wigderson said.
"But until all of these cases are over, everything that I have to say in my client's defence is going to be said in a courtroom."
Earlier this year, Rutigliano was released on bail after he was charged with corruption and obstruction of justice offences in connection with three separate investigations.
Rutigliano, who joined the provincial service in 1981, was working as the OPP's court case manager within the Toronto court system when the offences allegedly occurred.
In one set of charges, Rutigliano is alleged to have interfered in the sexual assault prosecution of former Steelback Brewery CEO Frank D'Angelo.
D'Angelo was acquitted of assaulting a business associate's 22-year-old daughter. He has been charged with obstruction of justice and attempting to obstruct justice.
In 2004, Rutigliano was found guilty under the PSA of discreditable conduct for making a threat to a former business associate.
Two years earlier, York Regional Police charged Rutigliano with "threat to property," though the charge was withdrawn and the file relating to the matter destroyed.
The OPP officer is also charged with an alleged $15 million fraud targeting Bombardier Inc.
In a third set of charges, Rutigliano is charged with helping Peter Mavroudis — a con artist who has thrice been convicted of taking money in return for non-existent tickets to Maple Leafs games — "avoid prosecution in Ontario."