Former Armstrong resident wins wrongful dismissal case, defeats allegations of $1M fraud | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former Armstrong resident wins wrongful dismissal case, defeats allegations of $1M fraud

Image Credit: PEXELS
November 26, 2019 - 8:00 AM

A former mining company president fired from a company he founded 24 years previously amidst allegations he'd stolen $1 million has been vindicated after a lengthy legal battle.

Armstrong resident Irvin Eisler died in August 2018, several months before the trial, however, the executor to his will continued the litigation and on Nov. 21 Justice Sheri Ann Donegan ruled in his favour.

Donegan awarded Eisler's estate $72,500 for wrongful dismissal and dismissed all the allegations in a counterclaim from the company of fraud and breach of trust.

In a lengthy and detailed court decision totalling almost 40,000 words and more than 100 pages, Donegan described the case as "most interesting."

The suit was filed in Vernon by Eisler in 2015, four years after GWR Resources fired him without notice or pay in May 2011. He was 79 years old at that time.

According to the decision, Eisler, along with Douglas James, founded the mining exploration company, GWR Resources (now called Engold Mines) in 1987 and he worked in a variety of senior management positions for the publicly-traded company for 24 years. In 1997 Eisler became the company's executive officer and a contract was drawn up making him a full-time independent contractor.

In May 2011 the board of directors accused Eisler of a variety of fraudulent activities and that he had "misappropriated" $1 million of company money and fired him.

Eisler was accused of "act(ing) with planned, deliberate, and fraudulent intent" which caused the company to falsely represent themselves to the Canada Revenue Agency and to shareholders. The accusations included fraudulently inflated invoices, along with several complex share funding schemes, one of which resulted in an investigation by the Canada Revenue Agency and a fine.

Other accusations of wrongdoing included using a contractor paid for by the company to build a friend's deck and paying his son for a 40-hour work week even though he rarely worked that often. GWR Resources argued Eisler should pay approximately $2 million, plus punitive damages.

While the accusations of fraud were serious, the court documents say no RCMP investigation or external audit took place.

According to the documents, Eisler knew nothing of the allegations until he was fired.

In the decision, founding member and company director James said he had no concerns about Eisler and that his longtime business partner had put his "heart, blood, and soul" into the company.

Lengthy court documents outline detailed information scrutinizing dozens of individual transactions made by the company for everything from heavy duty equipment rentals to company vehicle allowances. In many instances, the allegations were explained in the company's own books and filings as clerical errors by accountants. Other allegations were dispensed because there was no evidence of wrongdoing or either board of directors of the company either knew or weren't required to sign off on some of his business activities. 

"Mr. Eisler did not 'pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, nor did he attempt to do so,' the judge said.

She said at no time prior to dismissal were any of the allegations or even questions concerning the allegations put to Eisler

Justice Donegan ruled Eisler is entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal and ordered GWR Resources to pay $72,500.


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