CAO su­ing TLTI rep for $1M

Coun­cil­lor John Paul Jack­son ac­cused of defama­tion

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - WAYNE LOWRIE

The chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer for the Town­ship of Leeds and the Thou­sand Is­lands is su­ing a town­ship coun­cil­lor for $1 mil­lion.

CAO Greg Bor­d­uas claims that Coun­cil­lor John Paul Jack­son de­famed him when the coun­cil­lor made pub­lic al­le­ga­tions from two in-cam­era coun­cil meet­ings in May. Jack­son also de­famed Bor­d­uas in Face­book posts and in emails cir­cu­lated to staff and coun­cil­lors at town­ship hall, Bor­d­uas claims.

In a state­ment of claim filed in the On­tario Su­pe­rior Court of Jus­tice, Bor­d­uas claims that Jack­son made “false, defam­a­tory and ma­li­cious” al­le­ga­tions against him.

Bor­d­uas said Jack­son first made the al­le­ga­tions in an April 25 email to town­ship staff mem­bers, coun­cil mem­bers and the se­nior man­age­ment team.

“The email al­leged that Mr. Bor­d­uas has en­gaged in work­place ha­rass­ment and sex­ual ha­rass­ment, in­clud­ing leer­ing at fe­male staffers, look­ing down their blouses, chang­ing his clothes in his of­fice in front of a win­dow, bul­ly­ing other staffers with re­peated ‘in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour,’ lis­ten­ing into phone calls and ri­fling through their desks at night,” Bor­d­uas’ suit says.

The law­suit says that Bor­d­uas suf­fered “in­jury to his in­tegrity, char­ac­ter and dam­age to his pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion” as well as “sig­nif­i­cant diminu­tion in his stand­ing in the com­mu­nity” be­cause of the al­le­ga­tions.

The law­suit is also against CKWS Kingston, which re­ported on Jack­son’s al­le­ga­tions. None of Bor­d­uas’ claims have been proven in court. Jack­son and Corus En­ter­tain­ment, which owns CKWS, have 20 days to re­spond to Bor­d­uas’ state­ment of claim.

In its sum­mary of the events fol­low­ing Jack­son’s email, the law­suit says the town­ship ap­pointed an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tor to look into the “work­place com­plaint” on April 26. Bor­d­uas was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which was stan­dard pro­ce­dure, ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

When the in­ves­ti­ga­tor re­ported back to coun­cil at its first closed meet­ing on May 23, she found that Bor­d­uas’ con­duct did not amount to ei­ther sex­ual or work­place ha­rass­ment, ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary. The in­ves­ti­ga­tor found that the com­plaints were in bad faith and ma­li­cious.

The coun­cil left its closed ses­sion and voted in pub­lic to hire Bor­d­uas on a per­ma­nent ba­sis, end­ing his pro­ba­tion.

In an­other closed meet­ing a week later, coun­cil de­cided to fire two se­nior staffers and sus­pend two oth­ers for the “ma­li­cious” al­le­ga­tions that they made against Bor­d­uas, the sum­mary says.

The state­ment of claim says that Jack­son made pub­lic re­ports and emails from the two in cam­era meet­ings, in­clud­ing the com­plaints against Bor­d­uas, con­trary to the con­fi­den­tial­ity pro­vi­sions in coun­cil’s code of con­duct. CKWS and other me­dia, in­clud­ing The Recorder and Times, re­ported Jack­son’s state­ments.

Coun­cil later sus­pended Jack­son’s pay for three months for vi­o­lat­ing the code of con­duct based on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the town­ship’s in­tegrity com­mis­sioner.

“Jack­son made nu­mer­ous defam­a­tory com­ments through the town­ship’s com­plaint process. Rather than fol­low­ing the pro­to­col for fil­ing a sex­ual ha­rass­ment and work­place ha­rass­ment com­plaint, the de­fen­dant Jack­son cir­cu­lated the com­plaint to ev­ery mem­ber of coun­cil on April 25. The com­plaint was also sent to five mem­bers of the se­nior man­age­ment team,” the state­ment claims.

Bor­d­uas claims that Jack­son com­pounded the defama­tion in two in­ter­views with CKWS. In them, Jack­son said the al­le­ga­tions against Bor­d­uas showed a “pat­tern of bad be­hav­iour,” he em­pha­sized the num­ber of com­plaints to sug­gest Bor­d­uas was guilty and the com­plaints were cred­i­ble, the law­suit al­leges.

The suit claims that a Face­book post by Jack­son im­plies that a con­spir­acy ex­ists to sup­press in­crim­i­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion against Bor­d­uas and that the al­le­ga­tions are true.

Other Jack­son Face­book posts dur­ing Au­gust com­pounded the defama­tion, the law­suit claims.

“The ma­li­cious, high-handed and ar­ro­gant con­duct of the de­fen­dants war­rants an award of puni­tive, ag­gra­vated and/or ex­em­plary dam­ages,” it claims.

The law­suit against Jack­son and CKWS asks for $500,000 in gen­eral dam­ages, $200,000 in puni­tive dam­ages, $200,000 in ag­gra­vated dam­ages and $100,000 in special dam­ages for a to­tal of $1 mil­lion.

Bor­d­uas, a res­i­dent of Inger­soll, Ont., asks that his law­suit be heard in a London, Ont. court­room.

FILE PHOTO

Coun­cil­lior John Paul Jack­son is be­ing sued for $1 mil­lion by his town­ship's CAO.

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