On May 19th 2014 I published an article titled Degradation of Public Office bringing to public light a divorce file at the Supreme Court, file #133/14. Patricia Ruth McMullan had filed for divorce against her husband and Mayor of St. Catharines Brian McMullan. That in itself is not newsworthy and Brian McMullan surely has no gossip worthiness. The reason for divorce is listed as adultery and Mrs. McMullan names Debbie Zimmerman, Regional Councillor for Grimsby as the partner in the adultery.
Rumours of the affair had circulated not only in St. Catharines but throughout the Niagara area for some four years. These divorce papers raise serious questions in relation to government and deceit. In addition to asking questions regarding the affair I reported that Mayor Brian McMullan had come to my place of work on May 11th 2014. Brian McMullan came to deliver a threat, he did so like a bully and coward. In turn I had challenged him openly to carry out his threat. He lay claim to some statutory declaration which in some way appears to bear relations to the Conservation Authority and my day off work. Like a coward Brian McMullan has remained silent. Either this so called statutory declaration is just a lie or Mayor McMullan is still looking for the unattainable, just like the lion from The Wizard of Oz.
Nevertheless truth is a bitter pill to swallow and now Debbie Zimmerman has issued a threat. In the threat by Debbie Zimmerman it states she will be, “contacting the host of your blog and requesting it be removed, in its entirety.” This threat comes under the letterhead of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and signed by a Jordan Goldblatt, it is dated June 2nd 2014 with file reference #14-1015.
The impudent monkeys of Mayorgate face-off once again against the potshots of threat, intimidation and harassment. Debbie Zimmerman's threat came in two parts and I have decided to post the whole thing as I had always with my response made publicly.
Reading the Notice Of Action two things become rather clear. First of all it is only Debbie Zimmerman who finds that the issues raised in Mayorgate's article Degradation of Public Office are in her interpretation not based in fact. By this claim Debbie Zimmerman is calling Mrs. Patricia Ruth McMullan a liar. Second, this whole threat is only on behalf of Debbie Zimmerman and not Mayor Brian McMullan. Brian McMullan has not denied anything.
Divorces by nature become messy, this is not going to be any different in the case of Mrs. Patricia Ruth McMullan and Mayor Brian McMullan. Although the ramifications of this divorce affect the whole of Niagara and its people. Lies and deceit are the key ingredients in any affair, and those lies are like flies circling the decaying carcass of a marriage. Those flies do not only circle the radius of the decay they spread further and further.
Debbie Zimmerman has now said that Mrs. McMullan is a liar because she had been identified as the other woman. Who can forget Bill Clinton's denials until finally the truth became heavier than a cigar box. Can anything other than denial be expected from Debbie Zimmerman? Still Zimmerman decided that her denial was going to be in the form of threat, intimidation and the shutdown of Mayorgate. Brian McMullan also threatened to shut down Mayorgate, and it was no different than the imaginary statutory declaration.
In the Notice of Action delivered by Sack Goldblatt Michell LLP there are six selected quotations which are claimed to be hurtful to Debbie Zimmerman. As always done by lawyers each is taken out of its particular flow and context to suit a claim. Trying to dissect these at this time will consume too many words. These quotations are followed by another heading 'The Comment,' relating to the fact that Mayorgate permits readers to comment. One such reader had done so, his name as it appears is Fred Bracken. Zimmerman's legal eagle claims that Fred Bracken had “further defamed Ms. Zimmerman” by saying, “Having an affair with a fellow regional council is news everyone should hear.”
I particularly like this statement made on behalf of Debbie Zimmerman. “As publisher of the Article, and encouraging the Comment, you are jointly and severally liable for its defamatory content.” It is true I encourage comment and not only on the articles as they are posted. Debbie Zimmerman could have made her comments if she had desired. Instead she aims to intimidate and threaten.
Not only do I encourage comment on the articles, I also seek comment from individuals often via email. I had done so in this case. I had sent three emails which I had not spoken of in the article. No response was received to either one. I had sent emails previously to Mayor Brian McMullan asking for comment where he had ignored my questions. I had sent emails to Chair Gary Burroughs, to Councillors, and more each refusing to respond. The reason is simple, my questions are not sanitised like the other so called media. Zimmerman may have erased the email but I have copies, and if she refused to comment it was her decision.
According to the eagle of law, Zimmerman, his client, “is certainly aware of the allegations in the McMullan divorce matter, which she denies in their entirety...” As this “divorce matter” is before the courts and Debbie Zimmerman has not proven that Mrs. McMullan is a liar, this whole threat is based only on her word. For this reason I have decided to publish several pages from the documents filed at the Superior Court. A portion of this is a statement made by Mrs. McMullan and it is not easy to read at times.
In a divorce there are often outrageous claims and accusations. Betrayal brings with it pain and emotional distress, in this statement the pain is evident. I have also reported that an attempt to seal the documents has been made and a decision by the judge deferred till the 19th of June, 2014. Divorces are no different to any other matter before the courts. Richard G. Dearden, a partner with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP in Ottawa, Canada represented The Ottawa Citizen, CTV Inc., The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Global Television and The Ottawa Sun before the Court of Appeal for Ontario after numerous non-publication and sealing orders had been issued in a high profile divorce case. The Court of Appeal on January 24th 2012 set aside the sealing orders and publication bans.
Justice Doherty, one of the three presiding Justices at the Court of Appeal for Ontario said “The evidence cannot support the (the lower courts) conclusion that the orders were necessary to prevent a serious risk to the proper administration of justice. Absent that finding, the orders could not have been made under the controlling jurisprudence.” (Cristina Schmitz, Sweeping ban is set aside, lawyersweekly.ca, Feb. 10, 2012). Justice Doherty also confirmed that “personal emotional distress and embarrassment cannot justify limiting publication of, or access to, court proceedings and records.”
Richard G. Dearden concluded in his article titled Heavy Evidentiary Burden Imposed On Litigants Seeking Publication Bans and Sealing Orders, “Freedom of the press and the open court principle in family law proceedings were at stake in this appeal. Family law litigants cannot simply file hearsay evidence from their psychiatrist or psychologist who accuse the media of feeding frenzies and invasions of privacy. The convincing evidentiary standard is a significant burden to overcome and is not met even in cases of real emotional distress and embarrassment. ....Openness is the rule. Secrecy is the exception. Litigants have an extremely high evidentiary threshold to overcome to obtain any secrecy regarding Court proceedings and records filed in Court files.” (Richard G. Dearden, MLRC Medical Law Letter, gowlings.com, January 2013).
What “high evidentiary threshold” is Mayor Brian McMullan able to overcome to seal records in his divorce? A source close to Mrs. McMullan has stated in response to my questions regarding the appeal to ban or seal details of these proceedings, that it is not Mrs. McMullan who wanted the ban. It is clear that Mayor McMullan wants the ban as the details of the divorce are extremely uncomfortable for him.
It is not difficult to understand why Mayor Brian McMullan wants to seal the details of the divorce from public scrutiny. Ms. Debbie Zimmerman may not want this to be made public and claim all kinds of hurt feelings but serious questions remain unanswered.
As I had said, I sent emails asking for comment and was ignored. That is nothing new to me. Mayorgate is hated for a simple fact, I as publisher won't play any games with the truth and with fact. I owe no one any favours and make no alliances. So the threat to shut Mayorgate down is not new. I will not give into threat, at the same time I will not ignore any opportunity to present all sides of a story. The decision to ignore that opportunity is only the choice of the individual who makes that decision.
An email was sent to Chairman Gary Burroughs regarding this whole situation, I asked Chair Burroughs specific questions, as I had of McMullan and Zimmerman, Burroughs ignored that email. Yet a request for a Freedom of Information application had been filed wanting access to my email to Burroughs. Who made this request? How could they know that I had sent an email to Burroughs unless it was someone like Brian McMullan or Debbie Zimmerman who had ignored my emails to them? A private communications between a constituent and a head of government is now the centre of a Freedom of Information application. Asking who, how and why leads to only more questions.
Bullying, intimidation and slander are the tools of cowards, Brian McMullan came to my place of work with a threat on Mother's Day. It now appears the supposed statutory declaration was simply another lie by Brian McMullan. Was it meant to frighten me in some way I don't know. I have had reason to deal with the Conservation Authority and I do get two days a week off, the rest is only in the mind of a coward. Whether or not Ms. Zimmerman likes it she is named by Mrs. McMullan and statements made by Mrs. McMullan cannot be ignored. The source close to Mrs. McMullan also stated that Mayor Brian McMullan and Debbie Zimmerman were witnessed going into the King Edward Hotel in Toronto together. The witness then confirmed the room booking and the name it was booked under.
Debbie Zimmerman has claimed that the article I wrote was unfair and defamed her. She had refused to comment. Brian McMullan refused to comment. Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs refused to make a comment. Yet Zimmerman now has decided to say that Mrs. McMullan is a liar and the whole mess has not even gone to court.
Reading Attachment A provided by Mrs. McMullan to the divorce file leaves the reader distressed. Bullet 3 (the individual points are not numbered) and 4 speak for themselves, as one reads further Bullet 6 hits the hardest. It is easy to understand why Brian McMullan wants the details sealed. Amongst all the clearly evident pain in Attachment A's author, Bullet 2 truly shows a callous contempt to another's dignity. Brian McMullan had called the police in another matter which had no merit. In the case of Regional Councillor Andy Petrowski, Mayor McMullan called the police, used a court order against Andy Petrowski only to disregard the court's time and public expense by not showing up at the court hearing and dropping the whole matter.
During the period when Brian McMullan lost his home to the bank for non-payment of mortgages the local 'press' called it a private matter. In St. Catharines and the Niagara Region families are struggling on only a few hundred dollars a week to survive, with children to feed and bills to pay. Looking at what Mayor McMullan earns a year it is hard to understand how a base salary of $83,769 that reaches $163,733.01 including expenses is not enough. Bullet 4 truly leaves a shock in anyone's mind.
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Now Mayor Brian McMullan has Debbie Zimmerman do her threat. As publisher I asked questions and will continue to do so. I am not The Standard, I am not Marlene Bergsma and I will not lie or sanitise the facts for Mayor Brian McMullan, or anyone. Mrs. McMullan's pain is clear and evident, and Debbie Zimmerman calls her a liar. Here Zimmerman and her legal eagle may try and take offense to such a fact. Yet if you claim something is not true then the opposite of truth is a lie.
Debbie Zimmerman had also provided bullets in the Notice of Action. She expects that only her word is to be taken as truth. She does not answer any questions and only calls Mrs. McMullan a liar. Though her attempt to intimidate Mayorgate has close similarities to Brian McMullan's. If Brian McMullan is successful in sealing the court proceedings then no one will know the truth. If Brian McMullan makes a deal with Mrs. McMullan then no one will know the truth.
At this time Debbie Zimmerman can lay claim to hurt feelings yet the trial for divorce has not begun. She is the woman identified in legally filed documents at the Superior Court. When she was approached, as were others, for comment she ignored the approach. Now she first has to successfully prove that she is not the 'other' woman and that Ruth McMullan lied. That has to be done in court and in the open. Instead Debbie Zimmerman decides she is going to threaten, intimidate and attack. Yet Brian McMullan has not denied anything at all.
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