Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is back in the news again — although this time, it has nothing to do with a feud involving Sidney Crosby.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, a former team executive by the name of Peter O’Leary has recently sued the club and Melnyk for $1.55 million. Per the report, the lawsuit alleges abusive behavior from Melnyk to club executives during a particularly difficult time for ticket sales in 2016.
O’Leary’s 23-page claim provides a rare glimpse insides the Senators’ front office dynamics, revealing not only dysfunction but also alleged abusive behaviour by Melnyk.
Specifically, the claim alleges Melnyk “at times used profanity and levelled insults at executive team members, including constantly calling into question their competency. Mr. Melnyk sent abusive emails to the executive team and frequently threatened to dismiss them.”
O’Leary was hired on Aug. 21, 2014 to be the Senators’ chief marketing officer and vice-president of ticketing and was fired by Melnyk on Dec. 12, 2016, according to O’Leary’s statement of claim.
Melnyk and his Capital Sports holdings group, represented by Toronto lawyer Laurie Jessome, have filed a notice to defend. Contacted by the Citizen on Thursday, Melnyk said via email, “We believe it is inappropriate to comment on litigation before the courts.”
Melnyk purchased the Senators in 2003.
On numerous occasions dating back several years, he has denied the club is for sale (2012 and 2016), however there have been reports he has also absorbed financial losses of more than $100 million since he became the owner.