Canadian Football League chairman James Lawson is embroiled in a messy civil lawsuit with the richest woman in Canada, and the resulting revelations have not exactly made him look good.
The saga began when billionaire Sherry Brydson fired Lawson from the the investment firm Westerkirk Capital Inc. In 2013, Lawson sued for wrongful dismissal, asking for $24 million in damages. Brydson filed a counterclaim, which had some, um, interesting revelations. Via the National Post:
The counterclaim further alleges that Lawson had an assistant at Westerkirk forge his signature, and that he “utilized his office to indulge himself in hard core racist and misogynistic pornography.”
None of the allegations made by either party have been proven in court.
Lawson, who in addition to his CFL duties is chief executive at Woodbine Entertainment Corp., a horse racetrack and slot machine complex in Toronto, has denied most of the allegations, though he admits he asked an associate to sign his name and that he forwarded pornography via email.
Brydson brings up the whole porn situation as evidence that Lawson’s firing was not, as he claims, retaliation for his attempts to rein in her family’s “profligate and erratic style,” per the Post. After all, passing offensive pornography around the office is pretty fair cause for termination.
According to the Post, Lawson says the porn came from his “hockey buddies,” whom he played with in the Montreal Canadiens farm system in the late 1970s. Lawson said he regretted circulating the videos.
Lawson was appointed CFL chairman in 2013, shortly after being fired from Westerkirk. By the end of this lawsuit, he might wish he had just taken his dismissal quietly.