Prez pondered suing magazine

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By Wojtek Dabrowski

Ryerson president Claude Lajeunesse looked into legal action against Frank magazine after it published a scathing article over the summer about his time at the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.

But Lajeunesse, who was president of the AUCC for seven years before coming to Ryerson in 1995, shrugged off the article, saying he would rather concentrate on Ryerson-related business than worry about comments made in the satirical bi-weekly.

The Frank article, which ran May 17, discusses a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit filed by Doris Bradbury against AUCC vice-president Eva Egron-Polak. The piece alleged unprofessional conduct between Lajeunesse and the two women.

“As for legal action, we’ve looked at that,” Lajeunesse said Monday. “In my view there is so much to be done here at Ryerson right now.

“I’m not going to be diverted by looking at other types of issues that are not really related in any way, shape or form to Ryerson.”

The AUCC is a non-profit policy consultant that represents Canada’s 90 universities and colleges across the country and overseas.

According to legal documents, Bradbury claims she was wrongfully dismissed from her job at the Ottawa-based organization by her boss Egron-Polak.

George Hunter, Bradbury’s lawyer, said Lajeunesse may be called to testify in the suit because he was the AUCC’s president from 1988 to 1995—the “material times,” as far as the suit is concerned.

Hunter said calling Lajeunesse to testify “will depend tactically on where the case is at the time it goes to trial.”

Originally, Bradbury was seeking more than $3-million from Egron-Polak, the AUCC and two other AUCC staff members. But Hunter said the suit was now been scaled dwn to $530,000, with Egron-Polak and the AUCC being named as the only defendants.

Hunter also said the next stage in the suit, the examination for discovery, is scheduled to start later this month. During that stage, the two sides examine relevant evidence but witnesses aren’t called to testify.

Lajeunesse, Bradbury, Egron-Polak and AUCC representatives all declined to comment on the law suit.

Hunter and Melanie Polowin, the lawyer representing the AUCC and Egron-Polak, both said settling the suit out of court is a possibility, which would mean Lajeunesse couldn’t be called to testify.

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