The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) has ended its legal dispute with former vice president, internal and services, Cameron Wathey.
Wathey, along with Yolen Bollo-Kamara, former UTSU president, and Sandra Hudson, former executive director of the UTSU, was sued by the UTSU in September 2015; the union’s claim alleged that fraudulent severance payouts were made to Hudson as part of her termination agreement in April 2015. Bollo-Kamara and the UTSU reached a settlement in January, 2016, which included a signed affidavit from Bollo-Kamara.
The UTSU Executive Committee issued a public statement on April 27, announcing that the board of directors had approved a settlement with Wathey on February 28. The terms of the settlement have been made confidential. The settlement includes an affidavit signed by Wathey, which was made public alongside the statement by the UTSU.
“The testimony received from Wathey as part of the settlement helps our case, which means things are moving along fairly and expediently,” said outgoing UTSU president Ben Coleman in an emailed statement to The Varsity.
In his affidavit, Wathey states that he relied on his understanding that the termination agreement was approved by the UTSU’s legal counsel and Hudson’s legal counsel, despite having concerns. The affidavit also stated that Wathey did not financially benefit from the arrangement.
“Hudson prepared a termination agreement and indicated that it had been approved by UTSU legal counsel, DLA Piper, as well as her own lawyer,” reads a portion of Wathey’s affidavit. DLA Piper has denied advising Hudson on the termination agreement.
Hudson was allegedly issued a total of $247,726.40, a figure equivalent to approximately 10 per cent of the union’s budget. The UTSU alleges that this included 1,974.5 overtime hours that were recorded in a single entry in April 2015. The union also alleges that Hudson deliberately wiped confidential information from the UTSU’s computers.
The UTSU is continuing its lawsuit against Hudson and is seeking the money that was allegedly improperly issued to Hudson, as well as $200,000 in damages.
In December 2015, Hudson countersued the UTSU for $300,000 in damages. Hudson’s counterclaim stated that her termination was to avoid strife with the union’s incoming executives, and that the union violated a non-disparagement and confidentiality clause that was part of Hudson’s termination agreement.
“[T]he UTSU is still primarily seeking mediation or arbitration as a resolution to this matter,” reads a portion of the UTSU’s statement. “Although Ms. Hudson has yet to agree to a binding arbitration in this matter, we are continuing to seek these procedures to prevent an expensive and adversarial trial.”