Trial complete in $100K lawsuit against Fontana
London Mayor Joe Fontana faced the prosecution in a Milton court on Friday over allegations he owes a former business associate over $100,000.
Tony Bacsa worked as a consultant for GPEC Global, where Fontana was the chairman, from mid-2008 to November 2009. But the court has heard the company began having money problems in late 2008.
Bacsa testified on Thursday that his $8,000 a month invoices and other expense claims were going unpaid, but Fontana assured him he would be compensated.
On Friday, Bacsa’s lawyer Thomas Granger produced a chain of emails between Fontana and a Romanian assistant from 2009 that his client was copied on, which he said “go to the credibility of Mr. Fontana.”
In those emails, Fontana stated “I indicated to you that our company has the financing in place.”
But Fontana responded that the email was based on the best information he had at the time and that a private equity firm had signed paperwork but not yet transferred the money.
He told the court “I was assured that money was forthcoming.”
Granger added it was only the personal assurances of a long-time friend that convinced Bacsa to continue working despite unpaid invoices.
In his closing statements, Fontana’s attorney Alan Butcher emphasized that it was the company, not Fontana that was responsible for the monies owed.
“No invoice was ever submitted personally and none were paid personally.”
In addition to emphasizing that Fontana was speaking on behalf of GPEC Global and not himself, he also stated that Bacsa stayed in Romania for reasons other than his consulting fees.
Trial arguments have concluded, but the judge has reserved his decision in order to review the evidence before making a ruling. A decision is expected sometime in the next six months.
Speaking exclusively to CTV News, Fontana says despite the lawsuit, he won’t shut out his friend of 17 years.
“I got all the time in the world for Tony. I respect him and his family and it’s too bad that it had to come to this….I’m relieved that we’ve gone to court, put forward a strong case and I guess we’ll wait for the judge.”
Bacsa is also glad the case is over, but says a reconciliation is unlikely.
“I feel happy because after four years at least we’ve been listened to, that’s quite an achievement…I think [Fontana] has a lot of work, because he lost friendships with lots of people, not only mine.”