THUNDER BAY - According to the alleged victim at the centre of an extortion trial, he was told by Keith Hobbs on numerous occasions that he would be sent away for a long time if he did not follow along with the purchase of a house for Mary Voss.
“(Keith Hobbs) said you should just pack your toothbrush because you will be gone for a long time,” the victim said. “He used that phrase, pack your toothbrush with me for at least the next 10 days. You’ll be packing your toothbrush so you better think long and hard about this.”
The alleged victim in an extortion trial against former Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs, his wife Marisa, and local resident Voss continued his testimony on Thursday afternoon.
During questioning by Crown attorney Peter Keen, the victim shared more details about how the Hobbs’ and Voss allegedly attempted to extort him into purchasing a house valued at $439,000 for Voss with threats of handing over incriminating evidence to police.
The evidence in question involved several disturbing videos depicting the victim using vulgar and offensive language and being physically violent.
According to the victim’s testimony, he was informed by Keith Hobbs that an officer with the Thunder Bay Police Service was in possession of an envelope that contained a USB drive with the videos.
The victim then testified that Hobbs said he would be charged before sharing what the victim called a ‘bizarre’ story.
“He said no, and these are his words, this cop owes me either a favour or owes me big time,” the victim testified. “He was using slang words like that. I looked at him and said, Come on, this doesn’t really happen? And he said. 'Yes it does.'”
According to the victim, Hobbs said when he was a sergeant with the Thunder Police Service, another officer allegedly beat an individual in custody and Hobbs tore up the incident report and the officer now ‘owes him one.’
“He came to me with the incident report and I buried it, or words to that effect,” the victim testified. “The police officer was never charged and the mayor kept that to himself.”
“So the cop who has the video in an envelope, what will he do with it,” the victim continued. “(Hobbs) said he will give it back to me as soon as I phone him and get it back.”
Following that conversation, the victim testified that Marisa Hobbs and Voss began talking about purchasing a house for Voss.
“They wanted to go looking at houses and they wanted me to agree that they had, in essence, my agreement that they can go look and I will buy a house and look after it, look after the entire payment,” the victim said. “There would be no 50/50, she would not put up a penny, I would buy the house outright.”
The victim continued there was a house for sale worth $260,000, but Voss did not want to purchase it and was instead looking at houses in the $400,000 to $450,000 range.
“I was worried about my own financial position,” the victim said. “My monthly expenditures were not small. It was costing me a fair bit of money.”
During a dinner with Keith and Marisa Hobbs and Voss, the victim said Hobbs told him how he learned about the videos.
“The policeman who has them phoned him,” the victim said. “He said he wouldn’t open the videos and wait for the mayor to tell him what to do.”
“This is when he said I had to buy them a house to get rid of these videos,” the victim continued.
Keith Hobbs then drew up an agreement, the victim testified, stating Voss did not want to sign anything he drafted. The document stated the victim would purchase a house on Gemstone Drive for $439,000, which will then immediately be handed over to Voss.
Part of the agreement also stated that none of its contents could ever be disclosed or it would become null and void.
“We all knew what that meant,” the victim said. “We wouldn’t go to the police or newspaper to ruin my reputation.”
The victim testified he had one of the USB drives given to him by Craig Loverin who obtained it from Keith Hobbs. The victim said he was to receive another one from Marisa Hobbs and Voss and the third from the police officer who would return it to Keith Hobbs. The victim added he was unaware there was a fourth USB drive.
The USB given to him by Loverin stayed in his pocket until the day he was arrested, the victim testified.
The victim shared more details about Voss being in contact with someone in another country and requests for money for lots that were purchased.
While the victim said he did provide some money, he soon stopped.
“As this story wore on, I began to doubt the veracity of the story,” the victim said. “That’s when I said I’m not giving anther penny. I don’t believe this story. I guess I woke up.”
Brian Greenspan, counsel for Keith and Marisa Hobbs, will begin his cross-examination of the victim on Friday.