By Caroline Yoshida-Butryn
Two former hosts at CKLN have filed a $400,000 lawsuit against the radio station after being dismissed from their positions last December.
Daniel Besharat and Greg Duffell, former hosts of the International Connection radio show, have filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the station and its Board of Directors.
Members of the board include chair David Barnard, CKLN program director Tim May and RSU’s VP Finance and Services Chris Drew.
Besharat and Duffell are suing the station for general and punitive damages and are demanding an investigation into the management of affairs at CKLN.
Despite their issues with the station, the duo still want their show back.
“Being terminated from our programming privileges was an incorrect punishment,” Besharat said. “As a remedy, we think we should be able to have [our show] back.”
Besharat and Duffell had their programming privileges suspended last October after they voiced complaints about $500 donated to their program that was allegedly redirected to another program.
CKLN dismissed Besharat and Duffell’s complaints and formally relieved them of their positions in December.
“The board struck a task force, the board made a decision, and that’s it. We can’t go into a lot of detail because the matter is before the courts,” Drew said when asked about the details of their dismissal.
According to Drew, the task force consisted of two members and a student.
Besharat and Duffell said the board had decided well before the meeting that they would lose their show and that they were not given adequate resources to defend themselves at the meeting.
“The way that they dismissed us wasn’t exactly in a fair manner,” Besharat said. “The charges they made against us were vague and we couldn’t respond to what they were charging us with.”
University of Toronto law professor Brian Langille said that cases such as the one brought forward by the pair are especially thorny when the plaintiffs are volunteers.
“Legally, the argument they’re making is actually quite complicated,” he said.
Drew said the board has filed a statement of defence and proceedings are still at a very early stage.
“All the decisions by the board have been unanimous,” he said. “We’ve made our decisions very carefully.”
The parties were supposed to appear in court together this week, but Besharat and Duffell adjourned the court proceedings for a later date.