Saturday, January 30, 2016

Garbage in garbage out!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

"You got to pay Daddy because my wife costs a fortune my kids cost a fortune. I need dough and I need dough every month you got to pay Daddy number one!" ..... Kevin O'Leary resident a-hole on the Dragons' Den

The real (and shocking) story of Kevin O'Learys' business career

By Bruce Livesey in News | January 26th 2016

Is Kevin O'Leary a good or bad businessman?

Buried in the back pages of the financial press last October was a story about the sale of his mutual fund company, O’Leary Funds, to Canoe Financial, an investment firm run by former Dragons’ Dencast member and entrepreneur Brett Wilson.

O’Leary had launched his funds with great fanfare back in 2008, introducing them to viewers on his Business News Network (BNN) show, SqueezePlay. Before the cameras, wearing a natty navy-blue suit and matching azure tie, O’Leary resembled a proud father with a new infant as he explained to co-host Amanda Lang how his fund was designed to produce yield on a monthly basis.

“You got to pay Daddy,” he declared, “because my wife costs a fortune, my kids cost a fortune. I need dough and I need dough every month. You got to pay Daddy number one.”

In those days, O’Leary’s star was ascending. He was one of the so-called “Dragons” on Dragons’ Den, which was becoming a bonafide Canadian hit. The following year he and Lang moved their daily business show over to the CBC, renamed The Lang & O’Leary Exchange.

O’Leary’s popularity and persona as a business guru soon drove investors to his mutual funds, with O’Leary Funds roaring to as much as $1.5-billion in assets (and probably more). O’Leary boasted of being an investing whiz, with access to the movers and shakers in the business and political worlds — those ties giving him unique insider knowledge.

The reality was quite different. O’Leary was not even licensed to manage or invest other people’s money. Instead, he hired Connor O’Brien, a former Wall Street investment banker, to run O’Leary Funds. Moreover, by 2012, the funds were in trouble, falling to $1-billion in assets by the end of that year.

This past fall, when he finally sold his company to Canoe, the funds were down to $800-million in assets. This was due to redemptions — investors pulling their money out because of the funds’ performance. “The majority of the funds performed poorly for an extended period of time and the majority of (Bay Street) brokers refused to sell any new funds,” says Mark McQueen, CEO of Wellington Financial LP, a $900-million Bay Street finance firm and one of O'Leary's long-time critics. “It’s not personal. The industry lives and dies on performance.”

Yet the demise of the O’Leary Funds is, in fact, just the latest in a series of failures in Kevin O’Leary’s business career.

While O’Leary recently grabbed headlines with his promise to invest $1-million in Alberta if premier Rachel Notley stepped down, and is toying with running for leadership of the federal Tory party, these stunts overshadow a history of ineptness as a businessman.

Disaster at Mattel
O’Leary is unquestionably a media star: He has written best-selling books, been a fixture on at least four televisions shows, including the current ABC hit program Shark Tank, revels in making outrageous statements, and crafted an image as the “mean” Dragon, able to reduce inventors to tears with putdowns like “this is the worst idea I have ever heard in my life it’s so bad!”

But what exactly is O’Leary’s business experience? Born in Montreal in 1954, O’Leary had ambitions of being a photographer. Instead, he did an MBA at the University of Western Ontario. After business school, he set up a television production company that produced shows for people like Don Cherry. From watching Cherry, O’Leary learned that it was important never to be boring or small on TV.

By 1983, O’Leary saw the potential in the emerging software and personal computer industries. He formed SoftKey Software Products Inc. in the basement of his Toronto home, convincing computer companies to bundle his software into their products.

SoftKey moved to Boston and focused on the booming field of educational software. By 1993, it was trading on Nasdaq and had revenues of $110-million—and a loss of $57-million. The company grew by making a string of acquisitions.

SoftKey’s most prominent takeover was of San Francisco-based The Learning Company (TLC). Prior to the sale, TLC hired the Center for Financial Research and Analysis (CFRA), a forensic accounting firm, to examine its suitor’s financials.

CFRA alleged that SoftKey may have overstated its earnings by bundling various general and administrative costs into write-offs. CFRA was also unhappy with SoftKey’s decision to fire its auditor, Arthur Andersen, after the accounting firm found deficiencies in the company’s internal controls. CFRA noted that SoftKey’s audit committee “holds several questionable members, including the CEO… as well as an outside member associated with two public companies charged with financial improprieties and another member who is a paid consultant to the company.”

Yet SoftKey’s acquisition of TLC went through, and SoftKey adopted the TLC name. By 1996, TLC had 3,000 employees and was the biggest educational software company in the world. It continued to grow via acquisitions, driving revenues up over $800-million.

But SEC filing shows that TLC suffered net losses of $376-million in 1996, $495-million in 1997 and $105-million in 1998. Moreover, TLC’s accumulated deficit topped $1.1-billion by the end of 1998.

That same year, toy giant Mattel Inc. made a takeover bid for TLC, without doing proper due diligence. Desperate to reverse a steep slide in the company’s stock price, Mattel CEO Jill Barad seized on educational software as a driver of future growth. The takeover shocked many, largely because TLC was seen, according to software-industry analyst Sean McGowan, as a well-known “house of cards” that was burdened with tired brands—not helped by the fact that O’Leary had slashed R&D from 24 down to 11 percent of expenditures. “There was a lot of [TLC] inventory out there that was not moving very well,” McGowan says. “They pumped up the sales by repackaging and distributing to convenience stores and drugstores.”

Indeed, TLC was later accused in a shareholders’ lawsuit and by a Mattel executive of “stuffing the channels”—shipping product at the end of a quarter and recording it as revenue, even though much of the merchandise would be returned. “Stuffing the channels was part of the business back then,” says a former TLC sales rep based in California.

In the end, Mattel purchased TLC for about $4-billion in the spring of 1999. O’Leary took over as president of Mattel’s new TLC digital division. Weeks after the sale, CFRA produced a critical report on Mattel, claiming TLC was already experiencing collapsing revenue, a surge in receivables and a deterioration of operating cash flow.

In the third quarter of 1999, Mattel expected profits of $50-million from the TLC division. Instead, it was a loss of $105-million (the next quarter losses rose to $206 -million), which wiped out more than $2-billion in shareholder value in one day, as the company’s share price slid from nearly $17 to $11.69.

In short, O’Leary had sold Mattel a turkey.

One investor’s lawsuit says O’Leary cashed in his Mattel shares just before the losses were announced when the stock was at its peak, pocketing almost $6-million.

In November of 1999, O’Leary was fired, six months into a three-year contract. Four months later, Mattel’s CEO, Jill Barad, was forced out too. “There is nothing I can say to gloss over how devastating The Learning Company’s results have been to Mattel’s overall performance,” Barad said as she went out the door.

Mattel hired Bernard Stolar, a video-game executive, to see if he could salvage TLC. “It was an absolute disaster,” he says. In 2000, Mattel handed over its multi-billion-dollar acquisition to another firm for a mere $27-million and a share of its future profits.

Mattel’s purchase of TLC was later labeled by Businessweek magazine as one of “the Worst Deals of All Time.” Shareholders launched a class-action lawsuit, naming O’Leary as a defendant, accusing him of insider trading and of being part of a scheme to obscure TLC’s financial state. While O’Leary denied the allegations, in 2003, Mattel settled the lawsuit for $122-million—considered a “mega-settlement” at the time. O'Leary has blamed Mattel's management for the problems with the TLC division, not his own involvement.

While O’Leary’s actions cost Mattel’s investors hundreds of millions, he netted $11.2-million between his severance package and sale of his Mattel stock.

Sued for wrongful dismissal

After getting canned by Mattel, O’Leary’s business career sputtered and meandered.

In 2003, O’Leary invested in a self-storage company called StorageNow Holdings Inc., which he learned about from Reza Satchu, a Toronto entrepreneur. Satchu’s high-school acquaintance, Jonathan Wheler, had a background in real estate and saw that a lot of money could be made by building self-storage warehouses in accessible locales. Wheler had even found a perfect piece of land in Toronto to erect such a facility. According to court documents, O’Leary put in about $500,000 and ended up with almost 13 percent of the company.

Camera pandering Manitoba Crowns!

Dear CyberSmokeBlog:

Thank you for posting the article the other day from the Winnipeg Free Press (Crown attorneys concerned about safety, fight cameras in Court - CBC News). I had seen the headline online but then forgot about it and then it vanishes from sight online.

Ha. And they are public servants who do not seem to mind standing outside the York Avenue doors at The Law Courts and speaking to the media following a case - especially when it works out in their favour. Besides, they are still visible inside, after all, so anyone who wants to know what they look like (for whatever reason) can just go inside. (I know, they said this, or CBC did, but if they are worried, then perhaps they need a new line of work). And this is an inquest, not a trial. They seem to be getting a slight bit challenging - may not be able to be of assistance to the judge (or words to that effect). How is that? Excuse me. Are they not after the truth? Are they not suggesting they may not do their JOB as a lawyer? So what does the Law Society say to that? And how will the judge at the inquest feel if they do not assist in an inquest, when s/he sees them at a trial?


Dear Anonymous:

Thank you for contacting CyberSmokeBlog. Oh for sure many Manitoba Crowns are not above pandering before the television cameras when it suits them. They don't seem to appreciate they can't have it both ways.

Clare L. Pieuk

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Shut your face Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre!

Gatekeeper Norman Sabourin whacks the Lake babine Nation Hereditary Chiefs and sends them on their way?

Good Day Readers:

At least that's CyberSmokeBlog's prediction.

"Gatekeeper Norman"

You see "Stormin' Norman" as CSB affectionately likes to call him was designated by the Chair and Figurehead (she doesn't get her hands dirty in the complaints decision making process) as Executive Director/Senior Legal Counsel to the Canadian Judicial Council by no less than Beverley McLachlin to which CyberSmokeBlog and others would add the title Gatekeeper too.

You see, Stormin' will politely tell the complainants the CJC only considers cases of judicial misconduct. For example, had British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge showed up for the trial fall down drunk, smoking a big fat doobie or pulling a Lori Douglas (naked as a jay bird under her robes) then they'd have a case.

However, the issues raised by the complainants are points of law - errs of omission and/or commission which is why appellate courts exist. Speaking figuratively, of course, he will pat them on their heads and send them on their way.
British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge

John Furlong
Clare L. Pieuk
Former Furlong students file complaint against B.C. Supreme Court Judge

By Elizabeth McSheffrey in News, Politics | January 22nd 2016

Left to right: Beverly Abraham, Cathy Woodgate, Ronnie Alec.

Former students and accusers of John Furlong at Immaculata Catholic School in central British Columbia have filed a complaint against B.C. Supreme Court Justice Catherine Wedge, who last year ruled in his favour in a highly-publicized defamation case against investigative journalist Laura Robinson.

The Canadian Judicial Council confirmed the complaint, filed on Jan. 8 on behalf of the Lake Babine Nation's hereditary chiefs, who say their voices were never heard during Furlong’s trial.

“The Canadian Judicial Council will make public the outcome of the review once a decision is made about the complaint,” Norman Sabourin, executive director and senior general counsel told National Observer.

Sabourin said the complaint is still in the “early screening stages.”

John Furlong, once CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) for the 2010 Olympics, was a phys-ed teacher at Immaculata Catholic School between 1969 and 1970. In 2012, Laura Robinson published an article in The Georgia Straight reporting on claims of physical and emotional abuse towards his former students.

In one of two defamation lawsuits that followed, Justice Wedge ruled that damning public statements made by Furlong after the article was published had not defamed Robinson, and further determined that the memories of abuse brought forward by the Indigenous students may have been “contaminated” by Robinson’s reporting methods.

Their stories were never heard in court, despite eight of Furlong’s former students having sworn to statutory declarations describing their mistreatment. Wedge ruled that these affidavits were inadmissible in the trial. Many of his students were Lake Babine First Nation members.
A plea to the federal government

“How could [the] judge decide if we were not siblings, friends, or peers if she has not heard our voices?” said a press release from the complainants. “How could she decide that we sat at the Band Office for an hour and contaminated each other's memory?”

In addition to filing their complaint with the Canadian Judicial Council, they forwarded their concerns to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett. They also sent a statement to the media in an effort to "correct" the alleged falsehoods uttered by Wedge in court that were subsequently printed by the press.

“They hired our abuser, we know exactly what he did to each of us,” the statement continued. “No one contaminated our stories.”

The complainants are also calling on the federal government to remove Furlong from the non-profit sports organization, Own The Podium, and to revoke his appointment as an Officer to the Order of Canada. It is unclear if the federal government has any authority to remove an individual from a non-profit organization.

“We saw Justin Trudeau at the TRC, he is a good person,” said their statement. “His government needs to come and have a circle with us, along with all the other communities that had John Furlong as a teacher. So they will know what happened with us.”

This is the second time former Furlong students have gone to the government — in an open letter sent to Trudeau last year, three hereditary chiefs and five other Furlong accusers called on prime minister Trudeau to request that Furlong step down from Own the Podium pending the hearing of their claims.

John Furlong could not be reached for comment in time for publication of this story. Below, the complaint's submission to the Canadian Judicial Council:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Manitoba Crowns in hoodies?

Good Day Readers:

Manitoba Crowns are opposing the expanded use of television in courtrooms to which CyberSmokeBlog says they need to shut their faces. Obviously, they've temporarily forgotten Canada has an open court principle.

Anyone whose work brings them into contact with the criminal element has to expect an element of risk be they prison guards, lawyers, judges, police and yes even Crowns it goes with the territory. One need look no farther than the recent case of lawyer Maria Matousis. While society can offer some measure of security to these individuals it will never be 24/7/365. People entering these professions must assess this risk at the time they're making career choices.

In today's society courtroom television is a significant learning tool especially with the exponential growth in self-rep litigants. It's benefits far outweigh the opposition of the Crowns.

Clare L. Pieuk
Crown attorneys concerned about safety, fight cameras in court

CBC and other Winnipeg media apply to allow cameras in court to cover inquest into 2 inmate deaths

Monday, January 25, 2016

CBC and other media outlets are fighting to cover an inquest into the deaths of two Stony Mountain inmates scheduled for January 28-29, 2016, (Chris Clover/CBC)

The Manitoba Association of Crown Attorneys says cameras and other recording devices in the courtroom could put their members in danger.

Three Winnipeg media organizations — CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV Winnipeg — recently applied to have video cameras in provincial court to cover an inquest into the deaths of Manitoba inmates Sheldon Anthony McKay and Durval David Tavares. The material would be broadcast by the organizations on radio, television and online.

Province calls for inquests into 2 Manitoba inmate deaths
Standing hearing to begin for inquest into Stony Mountain homicide

Broadcasting the voice and image of Crown attorneys on these platforms "creates more opportunities for Crown attorneys to be recognized, targeted and susceptible to harm," the Manitoba Association of Crown Attorneys said in its motion brief. "Like all people, Crown attorneys have a right to expect that their privacy will be maintained. They have a right to expect that they will not become recognizable to the general public in their private lives."

The association argues current methods of reporting on court proceedings, such as a reporter outside court recounting what happened, artist sketches and written quotes, are sufficient means to inform the public and barring cameras does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

CBC and its counterparts disagree.

"The law is now clear that filming and broadcasting an inquest falls within the scope of section 2(b) of the charter," say court documents filed by CBC, the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms covers freedom of the press and other media of communication. Cecil Rosner, managing editor of CBC Manitoba, said cameras will give media an opportunity to cover the inquest into the inmates' death more fully and for a national audience.

"It is my experience that the ability to use video and audio recordings of judicial proceedings enhances the ability of the media to accurately report. A video recording of testimony can convey more complete information than a written or spoken verbal description, a written transcript or an artist's sketch," said Rosner's affidavit.

"These particular inquests involve the operations of federal government institutions and will be of interest to Canadians from all parts of the country who, by virtue of distance, will have no practical ability to attend," Rosner added.

Cameras in court makes process more public, say Manitoba's top judges

Manitoba courts allowing TV cameras in some hearings
A Manitoba pilot project called the cameras in the courtrooms initiative began testing the effects of allowing cameras in courtrooms in 2014. Crown attorneys have participated in the initiative and have appeared on television broadcasts in court.

​Rosner said in his affidavit he is not aware of any issues that have arisen during that pilot project.

MACA said if the inquest is recorded, videotaped and broadcast, Crown attorneys and other parties could suffer from:

invasion of personal privacy in the workplace;
a compromise to their safety;
stress; and
a general disincentive to assist the judge in achieving the mandate of the inquest.

The association cites several examples where Crown attorneys faced threats and breaches to their privacy as a result of their work.
Disguised men tried to invade Crown attorney's home, police allege

"The vast majority of Crown attorneys in prosecutions report being threatened at one time or another inside or outside of court. There is no evidence to suggest that those experiences are diminishing in likelihood. Rather, the likelihood of similar incidents occurring only increases when cameras are permitted in court," the MACA brief stated.

Correctional workers also expressed privacy concerns associated with being videotaped in court.

A decision by a provincial court judge on the question of allowing cameras to cover the McKay and Tavares inquest is expected soon.

Monday, January 25, 2016

For the first time anywhere irrefutable proof some lawyers are little parasites!

Good Day Readers:

You all know some lawyers can be big dickweeds.
Now there's proof some can also be little parasites too.
Clare L. Pieuk
Which Biglaw firm is dealing with bed bugs?

Staci Zaretsky
Thursday, January 21, 2016

I wanted to let you know about an occurrence in the NY office and what we are doing to address it. Yesterday, we received notice that there was a bug discovered in a paralegal office on the 24th floor. We suspected it might be a bed bug and took it seriously. Last night, we had bed bug locating dogs in the office to search every office, work station and room on the 24th floor. The dogs found some evidence of bed bug presence in the managing clerk’s office, the paralegal’s office, one attorney office and one secretarial station. There was no other evidence of bed bugs on the floor. They also searched parts of other floors and found no evidence of bed bugs there either. The exterminators will be back tonight and will be treating the entire 24th floor.

While we believe the issue to be localized to the few offices that were identified last night, out of an abundance of caution, the dogs will be back this evening and will also be searching every office, work station and room on all of the floors. If they find other evidence, while unlikely, the exterminators will treat the areas. The treatments are non-invasive and safe and everyone will be able to return to work on the 24th floor, and our other floors, and work normally tomorrow. However, tonight, we do ask that if you are on the 24th floor, you leave by 6:00 pm and work remotely or on another floor after that time. A vacant floor will make it easier for the exterminators to get access and work quickly. Those of you on the other floors may remain and work as long as needed as the dogs can do their work with people around.

We are trying to make sure that we pay attention to the safety and health of all who work here and their families. Therefore, we have also asked those who work in the affected areas to work remotely for the balance of the week and are sending the bed bug locating dogs and exterminators to their homes, at our expense. This is out of an abundance of caution. We want to make clear that bed bugs are on the rise in buildings in the NY area and any presence in our building is not the fault of any employee or contractor.

We are working quickly to address the issue and will keep you updated. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or Marjorie.


The battle of incompetence Law Societies versus Colleges of Surgeons and Physicians?

Good Day Readers:

The recently aired CBC's Fifth Estate Doctors Without Boundaries narrated by Bob McKeown raised some troubling legal issues for CyberSmokeBlog far beyond the professional misconduct of the three physicians profiled.

In the convoluted case of now former psychiatrist Stanley Dobrowolski that spanned more than 25-years you are told at one point a former patient and her husband approached the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons only to find no action was taken. They then went to the London Police Service but because they lacked hardcore physical evidence there was little the police could do. The LPS did contact the OCP&S at the time but were given a pat on the head and sent on their way - the bum's rush. The police were told The College was indeed aware of Stanley Dobrowolski and remedial action is and would be taken.

And there it stood, that is, until fate intervened. Out of the blue the London Police Service received an anonymous tip the home-based office of Dr. Dobrowolski had been raided by what was termed in the documentary as "investigators" and "authorities." When confronted by police a second time only then did The College "willingly" turn over the tons of documentation that had been in its possession presumably for a long time.

So CSB e-mailed host Bob McKeown with these questions and is awaiting his response. Any reply received will be shared with viewers.

1. Since Dr. Dobrowolski's basement office was raided by authorities would not a court ordered search and seizure warrant have been required unless, of course, The College has special powers allowing it to circumvent this procedure?

2. Assuming a search warrant had been secured, wouldn't the London Police Service automatically have been alerted so when it initially contacted the OCP&S it could have rightfully demanded to see any and all evidence seized?

3. Is what you have here not a deliberate attempt to knowingly circumvent a police investigation in progress? Is this not a violation of the criminal code? Were any charges ever brought against the OCP&S? Did the College's initial actions not constitute an obstruction of Justice?

Clare L. Pieuk

Doctors Without Boundaries

When doctors are accused of crossing ethical or legal boundaries with their female patients, why does it sometimes take so long for authorities to act - if indeed they act at all? And what does it take for a doctor to lose the right to practice medicine in Canada? Bob McKeown investigates doctors who faced discipline by provincial colleges of Physicians and Surgeons. Did those bodies adequately protect patients?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

"Collection Agency Canada" gets smash mouth whacked!

CFT declares victory in duty of care court challenge
VANCOUVER, BC: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is declaring victory in the court battle to save the historic ‘duty of care’ court ruling against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

This morning a panel of three judges in the British Columbia Court of Appeal accepted an agreement between Irvin Leroux and the CRA that ends the proceedings, leaving intact the ‘duty of care’ ruling achieved in the April 2014 court case between Mr. Leroux and the CRA. The CTF has been paying Mr. Leroux’s legal costs during the appeal stage in an effort to protect the ‘duty of care’ ruling.

“We are very pleased with this outcome,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “Taxpayers across this country will benefit from the court saying the tax-man has to treat people fairly.”

“I'm so grateful that this 19-year battle is over and that there is now an avenue that Canadian taxpayers have to hold the CRA accountable if the CRA causes them harm or loss,” said Irvin Leroux.

Mr. Leroux had appealed a lower court decision to not award him damages, and the CRA appealed the same decision seeking court costs and the overturning of the ‘duty of care’ principle. As a result of the agreement between Mr. Leroux and the CRA, the proceedings have now concluded.

“It’s sad that Irv isn’t getting compensated for his losses, but he’s a real hero for having fought this battle for 19 years,” said CTF B.C. Director Jordan Bateman. “All taxpayers across Canada owe Irv a thank you for sticking it out for so long to get the duty of care ruling.”

That BC Supreme Court Justice Humphries had ruled the CRA owed this ‘duty of care’ to Mr. Leroux was viewed by many tax lawyers as precedent setting, as previous court cases found the CRA only owed a ‘duty of care’ to the minister of revenue. As Alison Gray, a partner with Bennett Jones wrote at the time: “for Canadian taxpayers, Leroux is a winning decision, as it reinforces the CRA’s accountability in issuing assessments, auditing and imposing penalties ... the Leroux decision provides an additional check on what can and cannot be done by employees of the CRA in the course of their duties.”
Jordan Bateman
For more information, contact:
CTF-Federal Director Aaron Wudrick c: (613) 295-8409,
CTF-B.C. Director Jordan Bateman c: (604) 999-3319,
Irvin Leroux: c: (250) 640-9515,