Lawyer for ex-OPSEU president says union's allegations untrue

TORONTO — A lawyer for the former president of the Ontario Public Service Employees' Union says a lawsuit launched by the union is "riddled with errors, falsehoods, and untrue allegations."

OPSEU is seeking nearly $6 million it alleges was unlawfully transferred to former president Warren (Smokey) Thomas, former first vice-president/treasurer Eduardo Almeida and former financial services administrator Maurice Gabay, as well as millions more in damages.

OPSEU says since Thomas and Almeida left their positions last April, the union has been doing a forensic audit and alleges it has uncovered that Thomas and Almeida paid themselves "significant compensation" they weren't entitled to, used union money for non-business purposes, transferred union vehicles to themselves or family members and paid out strike fund cash to themselves and Gabay.

Jeffrey Kroeker, a lawyer for Thomas, says in a statement today that Thomas is reviewing all legal options available to him and will "make no further comment about the bogus claims against him or the motives and politics behind it" until he files a defence.

Almeida and Gabay could not be reached for comment and it is unclear if they have retained lawyers or have filed statements of defence.

The allegations have not been tested in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press