When 800 Pound Gorilla Lawyers Send You Threatening Emails & Is the City of Cornwall Paying the Bill for Mr. David Sherriff-Scott ?

Bob Peters - Economic Development - Cornwall Ontario

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.
We will be updating this story as information and answers become available.
Scary, huh?
Cornwall Free News


  1. It’s really funny how you fold under pressure, and start to blame everyone else for your stupidity.

    I, for one, a Cornwall taxpayer, would give my ENTIRE LIFE SAVINGS and everything I own to shut you and your incoherent site down. I am more than happy to have my taxes (IF SO) spent towards this case! I wonder how this all began?? Lets take a look at the root cause of this, rather than listen to your personal theories (which are completely biased towards your well being). Any rational and intellectual person would realize that you are the problem! So thank YOU, for possibly spending our money on the deterioration of this gossipy website!

    And as for your continuous motto on “freedom of speech” goes? Barely… I have tried to have a couple of my posts put up on here (isn’t that free speech??) which were completely unbiased towards any one of your articles and NOTHING. Just goes to show you screen out the weeds that aren’t beneficial to your image 😉

    You, sir, are the bully here! Get over yourself.

    Good Luck

  2. Author

    We have criteria for people that post anonymously. If you want to post your real name by all means those two posts would be public.

  3. To each their own opinion as an ex city worker I have been around long enough to know what is truth, slander, BS. I myself do not like seeing people of this city in the spot light but I will say this, if the shoe fits. Many people at the City truly go around thinking their crap don’t stink, sorry you are just like the rest of us, come down a notch and stuff like this may not come about.

  4. It’s easy to make grand gestures and issue insults behind a pseudonym isn’t it. I wonder how many other taxpayers would like to pay the city lawyers with their hard earned cash.

  5. ” the City of Cornwall’s decision to terminate its advertising…”
    “Since Mr. Peters was involved in that process…”

    Did this lawyer just put his own shoe in his mouth and admitted that the City of Cornwall, with the help of Mr. Peters… TERMINATED its advertising with CFN.

  6. In reply to COME ON PEOPLE!!!!!!! post;
    I consider myself a “rational and somewhat intellectual person”, and I don’t see this online publication’s reporter as being the problem. Instead, in my opinion I see the people who are causing the issues are at fault. Please provide one instance where the reporter has been completely wrong in any of his publications? Tell me what’s wrong with trying to find out how public funds are allocated? Tell me what’s wrong with inquiring about a public officials past termination? Tell me what’s wrong with wanting to know about potential wrong doings by a public official? There is nothing wrong with asking a question, a reporters job is to report a story or to get the other side. I think it would be beneficial TO THE COMMUNITY if there was more transparency from the city and elected officials. I’ve lived in this town for all my life and it’s a small town, yes there is a lot of “coffee shop talk” but remember one thing, almost everyone in this town has had a relative who worked for the city and knows the truth to what you and others call gossip. Sooner or later the truth always comes out, if there is nothing to hide then why be so tight lipped? People muck up all the time, heck we’re all human the important thing is to correct past or any potential present wrong doings to ensure there is no repeat. I really don’t like seeing my tax dollars go to waste and I don’t think others do either. There are more important issues which plague our city that need to be addressed and if the amount indicated by one of our elected officials is accurate I find it really hard to digest. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I’ll respect yours, you have valid points but it’s a tad harsh to say you would spend your life savings to see this online publication go down, you must be rich. I don’t always agree with the reporters commentary but last I checked we live in Canada and he is entitled to his opinions and he is entitled to make an inquiry. On that note, I’ll leave you with a phrase from one of favorite authors Evelyn Beatrice Hall; “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.
    Good Luck

  7. I hope nobody ends up “sleeping with da fishes” over this. It seems to be getting very nasty and dirty.

  8. Does Mr. Peters and his lawyer familiar with the notion of investigative journalism? It appears he has some skeletons in his closet. Otherwise, he would just have answered the reporter’s questions instead of resorting to intimidation.

  9. Well, it looks like the City would lose a suit due to the fact that it is not the government but the elected or individual itself being discussed!

    Investigative journalism isn’t illegal, unethical or bothersome unless the individual has something to hide!

  10. Also, you would think you would want everyone to know the truth and protect your image! Why would you not answer a question behind closed doors to prevent a story from going public?

    I can only think it would be because there is something to hide!

  11. From following the stories here I think the problem is twofold.
    1, as we all know the city has a extremely large load of dirty laundry.
    2. The Cornwall Freenews seems to think it is holier than thou.

    So many issues in the city are well known to the public and have been since the time of Nick Kaneb. Nick was a fine man, but a devious politician and businessman. Which is why he was so part of the problem in the citizens s welll. We were so busy with forming unions we forgot to watch what the government was doing. Now if you look at the council registry and many associated businesses we see a long line of DNA or kinship. It would be like the Oracle of Kevin Bacon.

    But that does not justify the recent acts and information escaping to the news, I could never understand why the human resources manager was hired in the first place especially with his history in Hamilton. It was like hiring a pedophile to watch your kids. I bet it was the oracle of Cornwall in this case. I think Phil Poirier made comments about which would verify this.

    The Lawyers now involved were the same lawyers in project truth. I followed project truth closely and had people involved on sides, accused and victims. It was a hard thing to follow. Poorly orchestrated and wrongly represented. The main charge is this trial was to Mc Donald, but we never ever seen his long time live in friend Mr. Sauve come to the courts. Why was that? Will we see the same neglect here when and if this goes to trial?

    Cornwall Freenews

    I give you kudos for your efforts here, but your approach does appear to border on harassment and libel. As written earlier Cornwall has dirty laundry, we already know that. You are essentially preaching to the choir, a choir having held station long before you arrived. Rather than chase people and force the issue maybe if you presented alternatives or avenues people could choose other than the ones we are forced to walk would give you better standing. Pointing fimgers is easy, but three point back to you.

    You knew Paul called a city truck and that he was near some fellow employee’s house. How did you find that out? Why is it your business?? You use the new buzz word, bullying. Could your efforts toward Paul Fitzpatrick be considered bullying as well? What does an 800lb gorilla have to do with the situation?

    I have seen many posts where people claim you sensor the posts or deny them. Your reason does not waiver and is very vague. “We have criteria for people that post anonymously” I have looked over your site and cannot find one piece of criteria clearly defining your standards. This appears as though what people say is correct. You like the city have closets or are controlling information.

    As I said I like your tenacity but it has gone unchecked for too long. Now I think you may be held responsible for any misquotes or misrepresentations.

    Good Luck Cornwallfreenews

  12. sorry a misprint, “Which is why he, Nick, was so sucessful” should be in there preceding “so part of the problem in the citizens s well”

  13. Author

    Hailey we have published our posting criteria before. Here it is again for you. We allow Anonymous comments however if you wish to make certain kinds of posts; particularly ones that attack someone, you have to post your name.

    Anonymous attacks are pretty gutless. It’s not a perfect policy and it’s always evolving.

  14. In all of this one question remains: Why would the City of Cornwall hire lawyers from Ottawa? Does the City of Cornwall think that lawyers from Cornwall are not smart enough? These people running this city are certainly not competent and have no respect for “buying locally”.

  15. Me thinks local people/lawyers are interconnected and know too much about the City shenanigans for Peters to keep a straight face.

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