$25GS FOR LEGAL FEES

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By Matthew Chung

News Editor

The Palin Foundation might have to shell out $25,000 in legal fees in its battle over the Student Campus Centre, it says.

The RSU is arguing that Palin had no right to cancel the Oakham House Management Committee, the agreement that governed Oakham House since 1998.

But Ron Stagg, Palin’s Chair, says he’s learned that the situation is more complex than he originally thought. “It’s quite concerning that our lawyers are saying the RSU insisting the (committee) still operates is much more complex than what they said in their submission to the courts,” Stagg said.

“Our lawyers are saying it could cost us up to $25,000 to pursue this thing and so I’m assuming it could cost (the RSU) up to $25,000. “Our $25,000 is money that we would contribute to running the centre and providing programming for the students.”

Stagg speculated that the RSU’s court fees might also reach $25,000.

But RSU President Rebecca Rose said the student union’s court costs have been “a few thousand dollars” so far. Further costs will depend on the length of the court process, she said. “How much it costs will depend on how difficult the Palin Foundation is and how much they stall the process,” she said.

“But if Ron Stagg is in fact saying it’s costing that amount, then I think that Ron Stagg is blowing smoke.”

In an interview with the Eyeopener this fall, RSU vice-president finance and services Ram Sivapalan said the RSU and CESAR had combined their legal expenses in order to cover SCC legal fees. The RSU and Palin have been in conflict over the SCC and its student services since May, after Palin dissolved the Oakham House Management Committee.

The management committee was to be replaced by the Student Campus Centre, the business that would run the building of the same name. It would have given RSU five members on the 11-member board. CESAR would have three members while the university and Ryerson Centre would have a combined total of three representatives.

The RSU and CESAR pulled out of that agreement last May. Court proceedings are set to begin on March 2 and the sides began a mediation process last week. The details of mediation are confidential. A planned university fact-finding mission was dropped because “it wasn’t necessary,” President Sheldon Levy said.

He noted that Anne Grant, the confirmed mediator for this process, has done her own fact-finding.

“My hope remains that the parties will come to a mediated solution.”

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