CFN – That’s Bob Peters of Economic Development in Cornwall Ontario. We initiated an investigation on his first round of employment with the city of Cornwall that ended in 1997. Mr. Peters left to work with/for/ Web Tech; IE Mr. Peter Gault, dad of Joey.
His direct boss at the time was Mr. Paul Fitzpatrick; Cornwall Ontario’s current CAO. After Mr. Peters left the city’s employ for Web Tech he eventually returned after playing a role in current Mayor Bob Kilger’s election and subsequent re-election including doing graphic work for the mayor’s campaign during office hours.
We asked a distinct question of Mr. Peters which resulted in this heavily threatened email from a huge heavy weight lawyer, Mr. David Sherriff- Scott from the firm BLG (Borden Ladner Gervais) The firm and Mr. Sherriff Scott also are believed to have worked on Project Truth and for the City of Cornwall previously.
What I do know is that Mr. Sherriff-Scott and the City via Mr.Fitzpatrick and council have now not responded to THREE requests as to who is paying the good council’s fees which are huge. A minimum of $400 per hour! If the city has been paying the bill a few questions arise.
Why would the city pay for a question asked about someone’s past employment? IE my question, which was very brief, was specifically related to Mr. Peter’s departure of his first round of employment with the City of Cornwall?
Why would the City be spending tax dollars having a high powered law firm track CFN when it can be read for free?
If the city is paying this bill the good citizens of Cornwall Ontario will have by now spent more on this legal bill alone than they did for us promoting and marketing Cornwall in all of 2011! That’s nuts if true.
If the city has paid for this message then it’s now confirming what it’s previously denied; that it terminated our advertising. Previous to this email it has only said it’s not renewing and not stated that we can’t pitch the city for more business.
If Mr. Peter’s is paying the bill how and why does he have access to other employee’s emails? Could this be related to rumblings out of City Hall of Councilors not getting mail, snail or electronic directed to them?
Either way this heavy handed bullying is something we all should take seriously. I know I do. I consider this a direct threat to the survival of The Cornwall Free News.
And why the secrecy as to who Mr. Sherriff-Scott’s true client is? Why would the city simply deny they are paying the bill instead of refusing to reply?
Please note that our email to Mr. Peters was a Question with zero allegations or accusations made.
Here is Mr. Sherriff-Scott’s email UNEDITED. And for those of you who heckle me for typos, if Mr. High Powered lawyer can make them so can I!
I am responding to the email you sent to Mr. Bob Peters yesterday on behalf of your online publication, The Cornwall Free News. This email is written with prejudice.
The explicit allegations as well as the allegations your email contains by way of innuendo are utterly false and defamatory of Mr. Peters. The publication by you of such allegations will be actionable.
I have for a number of months tracked a series of stories that you have written and published as well as a series of emails that you have sent to Mr. Peters and others. These materials reveal an unmistakable, hostile and aggressive pattern of communications which began immediately following the City of Cornwall’s decision to terminate its advertising with your on-line publication. Since Mr. Peters was involved in that process, it is perhaps no surprise that he has been singled out personally, among others, by you for repeated attack.
Your email of yesterday’s date however appears to have escalated matters considerably. Now, you seem to be intent on publishing allegations, the nature and tone of which, will cause very serious and potentially permanent damage to Mr Peters in both his personal and professional life. I would therefore urge you to very carefully take stock of the situation and to consider that not only are the allegations categorically denied by Mr. Peters, but also there is absolutely no evidence to support the contentions to which you have referred. There couldn’t be any evidence because the allegations are false.
Your personal exposure to an action will not change as a result of the your request for Mr. Peters to comment. Defamation principles relating to responsible journalism demand far more than a disingenuous request for a comment. When an allegation is patently false and its publication will cause the most obviously serious damage, no defence will avail to protect you form the consequences of taking such a step. I would therefore urge you to consider the gravity of your apparently intended course of action. If, in spite of this email, you proceed with the publication of the allegations to which you have referred, I assure you that absolutely all necessary steps will be taken to protect Mr. Peters and to compensate him for the damage you may cause.
Finally, if you intend to publish the false allegations referred to in your email, please provide me with four business days of notice so that I may bring this matter to the attention of the Court in order to seek such interim relief against you as the circumstances may warrant. I will treat your failure to give such notice to me as malice.
Heavy huh? Can you imagine getting one of these? For the record we have not accused Mr. Peter’s again of anything. We are investigating his termination of employment during his first tenure with the city of Cornwall.
It’s boggling to my mind and several legal friends, mentors, and consultants who have seen this are shaking their heads too.
If the city finally answers and confirms that it’s paying the freight for Mr. Sheffiff-Scott does it seem right for a city council and administrator to put this on taxpayer’s back?
It sure feels to me like some personal vendetta? Has the Cornwall Free News so incensed City Hall that they are purposely trying to run us out of town and out of business?
And here is what I sent to Mr. Peter’s which triggered Mr. Sherriff-Scott’s threat. We have edited out the block that seems to be triggering this email until we are ready to move to publication which of course is not the same as ready to publish.
Hi Mr. Peters,We are investigating that your termination of employment with the city of Cornwall that ended in 1997 was related to XXXXX XXXXX XXXX? Also, around the time that your first wife gained employment with the city of Cornwall?I would like to give you an opportunity to respond before we move to publish.Thanks