Sam Minniti takes McMaster and MAPS to court for ~$500,000

Sam Minniti is suing the McMaster Association of Part-Time Students (MAPS), McMaster University, and former MAPS directors for $501,233.50 plus costs or other damages saying he was wrongly dismissed in January from his job as Executive Director of MAPS.
Mr. Minniti’s statement of claim, obtained by myself, outlines his case for damages and wrongful dismissal. None of the defendents have filed their statements of defense and none of the statements have been yet been argued in front of the courts.

Mr. Minniti’s claim, submitted to the courts by Hamilton lawyer, and bi-weekly Hamilton Spectator employment law columnist, Ed Canning of Ross & McBride LLP seeks damages from McMaster University and MAPS for:

  • Damages for wrongful dismissal and breach of contract/unpaid wages in the amount of $225,000;
  • $88,116.75 for unjust enrichment;
  • Expenses in finding other employment;
  • $100,000 for mental distress, aggravated and punitive damages; and
  • Costs.

Mr. Minniti is seeking damages directly against the former MAPS directors Jeanette Hunter, Elaine Marion, Candace Waterkamp, Johanna Finch, and Kate Pratas of $88,116.75 in damages for unpaid wages and vacation pay, and costs.

Mr. Minniti was fired from his position in January after, in November 2012, The Silhouette broke news of problems with transparency at MAPS. This was followed in January to present by a series of stories in The Spectator, the paper having been giving information from a source who was previously involved in MAPS.

The published information reveald Minniti’s pay of $126,151 as disclosed on the sunshine list did not include a retroactive payment of $101,116 issued by cheque, the MAPS Board paid for past president Elaine Marion to take a $8,100 trip to study Venetian art in Italy for a month in 2011, that the renovation of the MAPS office cost more than $80,000, and that MAPS was paying for gifts for people connected to it or it’s Board, including a $1000 wedding gift.

The University had finished a seven-month review of MAPS operations in 2012 and withheld the student organization’s fees, placing them in trust – preventing the MAPS Board from giving Mr. Minniti a second promised retroactive payment.

Mr. Minniti’s claim states he was dismissed because he refused to waive his entitlement to the second half of his retroactive payment – $101,116. In the summer of 2012, Minniti states he was overpaid – due to an administrative error – by approximately $13,000. This is subtracted from the second retroactive payment resulting in the $88,116.75 Mr. Minniti seeks from the former directors for unpaid wages and vacation pay.

Mr. Minniti’s claim states MAPS Board President Jeanette Hunter, on behalf of the Board, wrote on or about December 20, 2012, “You must choose the right to continue to pursue your perceived entitlement to the retroactive payment or your job. Unfortunately, the circumstances are such that you cannot have both.”

The MAPS Board previously sent Mr. Minniti a letter on November 19, 2012 stating “MAPS is not in a position to pay you the second payment of your retroactive pay” after the University froze transfers to MAPS. The Board stated “You [Minniti] should be aware that we believe the only chance MAPS would have of paying you the second half of the retroactive payment would be for the organization to bring a lawsuit against the University to force the University to pay you the retroactive payment”

During the following month, the MAPS Board sought to Minniti waive his entitlement to the payment.

The December 20 letter ended “Unless the Board receives confirmation that you have decided that you are prepared to release any claim to the second half of the retroactive payment, by December 24, 2012, your employment will be terminated effective January 2, 2013.”

“On or about January 7, 2013”, Mr. Minniti’s employment was terminated. Mr. Minniti’s claim states he was fired over the retroactive payment issue.

Many of the defendents have only been served in the past 48 hours and were unable to comment. No statements of defence have been filed according to the court registry and the expiry date for filing  is 20 days after being served.

More on this as statements of defence are filed.

Note: The Statement of Claim is a public document and not subject to the CC-BY-SA CA 2.5 License for content on this site.