By Racy Rafique, Jake MacAndrew and Gabriela Silva Ponte
Toronto Metropolitan Students’ Union (TMSU) president Marina Gerges released a video statement on Instagram alleging she was “set up” to be caught drinking and driving by some individuals involved with the TMSU in various capacities.
“Call this what you want. But to me, it’s clear this was a set up,” said Gerges in one of two video statements posted to her Instagram page at around 6 a.m. this morning.
The videos were posted following an email that was sent to some Toronto Metropolitan University students and obtained by The Eyeopener last night accusing Gerges of allegedly drinking and driving. The email was sent from a personal Gmail account to the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org, which the TMSU confirmed is “not a real mailing list.”
The students’ union said the sender hid the recipient emails in the BCC field in order to make the email “appear more legitimate.”
“This email consisted of a number of false claims about the TMSU, attacks against candidates in the ongoing election, and allegations specifically regarding the candidate running for President,” said the TMSU, in a statement sent to its members this morning.
Gerges addressed the drinking and driving allegations against her in her video statements, in which she alleged that several people involved with the TMSU participated in a scheme to get her charged for drinking and driving.
The Eye obtained a copy of Gerges’ driver’s record, which showed she received an administrative driver’s license suspension (ADLS)—an automatic 90-day suspension following a roadside police stop due to a number of reasons, including a high blood alcohol level—on May 14, 2022. Drivers can face charges if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more or if their concentration is in the warn range of between 0.05 and 0.079, according to the Government of Ontario website.
However, she was only convicted of a careless driving charge on Sept. 19, according to Gerges’ driver’s record, obtained by The Eye.
According to the Highway Traffic Act, careless driving is an offense for someone who drives on a highway “without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons.”
In her video statement, Gerges alleged she was invited by a TMSU staff member to a Dave concert, in which other staff and members were in attendance.
Gerges alleged that by the time the concert rolled around, she no longer wanted to attend but was told that the ticket had her name on it, so if she didn’t go to the concert she would have to pay $300 for the ticket.
Gerges alleged that the Dave concert was a “set up” by several people involved with the TMSU, only 13 days into her presidency.
Gerges said she drove to the concert after a different TMSU staff member allegedly told her, “you can’t Uber, you have to drive because I didn’t drive and I was hoping you were going to take me home.”
She alleged that the staff member then stayed with her on the phone for her whole drive to the concert and offered to buy her alcohol from the LCBO.
“Even though he told me that he was a huge fan of Dave, he waited outside for me the whole time and he missed the entire concert,” she alleged.
After the concert, Gerges alleged that her and the TMSU staff member decided to drive to Lavelle, a club in downtown Toronto.
Gerges said she had not been drinking at this point. After parking in a parking garage, Gerges alleged that she had “one or two shots” of vodka before walking to Lavelle.
“I decided that I could sleep over at my friend’s house downtown, which is fine because my car was parked in a parking garage and it was already really late and I could just leave it overnight,” she alleged.
Once at Lavelle, Gerges said she went to get a drink at the bar but it was closed.
She said the TMSU staff member allegedly gave her a drink but she did not know where the drink came from. She said she asked the staff member where he got the drink and he said, “don’t worry about it.”
Gerges then said she drank the drink, after which she started to feel “really, really tired.”
“I remember leaving Lavelle, vaguely. I don’t remember the walk back at all,” she alleged. “I barely remember even getting into my car. But when we get to the parking garage, I immediately go to the passenger seat of my car because all I wanted to do was sleep.”
Gerges alleged she fell asleep in her car and the TMSU staff member got into the driver’s seat, took her keys from her purse, unlocked her phone and used the GPS connected to her car to bring her to his home in Brampton, Ont. She alleged that the staff member was also drinking that night.
She alleged the staff member woke her up in Brampton, Ont. in her car and she said she was disoriented and tired.
“I didn’t know why I was in Brampton and why I found myself driving home in this state on a route that I had never taken before,” she said. “I get into the driver’s seat, he looks at me and he says, ‘You’re good to drive right?’ And I remember just thinking I have to get out of here and home immediately.”
As she drove, Gerges alleged her highway settings were turned off on her GPS, which she said was “extremely weird” because it was taking her “twice as long to get home.”
“I didn’t want to play with my phone as I was driving just because of how tired I was too,” she alleged.
After about 10 minutes of driving, Gerges said someone allegedly called the police.
“I hate making things about myself. I hate being a victim. And I was never going to speak about this but I’m being backed into a corner,” said Gerges in her video statement.
In the post caption, Gerges said “maybe this has something to do with the fact that the previous team had cheques issued to their personal accounts from the TMSU bank account.”
The Eye previously reported that the TMSU is investigating past financial mismanagement from the 2021-22 term.
More to come.