Former OPSEU VP countersues union, denies breaching any fiduciary duty

TORONTO — The former first vice-president and treasurer of an Ontario public sector union is countersuing the organization, claiming he didn’t breach any fiduciary duty.

The Ontario Public Services Employees Union is suing former vice-president and treasurer Eduardo Almeida, former financial services administrator Maurice Gabay, and former president Warren (Smokey) Thomas for nearly $6 million, alleging they unlawfully transferred strike fund cash and union vehicles to themselves.

In a countersuit and statement of defence, Almeida denies he breached any fiduciary duty owed to the union.

Almeida says he was a politically elected figurehead without any financial qualifications to be the treasurer and he used due diligence and relied on the professional advice of others in the organization, which didn’t provide any financial, legal or managerial training to him.

Read more: Former OPSEU financial services administrator countersues union, denies misconduct

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OPSEU says since Thomas and Almeida left their positions last April, the union has been doing a forensic audit and alleges it has uncovered that Thomas and Almeida paid themselves “significant compensation” they weren’t entitled to, used union money for non-business purposes, transferred union vehicles to themselves or family members and paid out strike fund cash to themselves and Gabay.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and Thomas and Gabay have also filed statements of defence, denying the allegations.

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