Calvin Gordon escalates his legal battle with customers
Ontario contractor with previous consumer fraud convictions claims defamation from a “witch hunt”
March 7, 2019 by John Bleasby
Calvin Gordon, proprietor of More for Less Contracting, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and his “romantic partner” Leslie Morris have launched new legal actions against customers and sub-trades in the Orillia, Ontario area, claiming they are victims of a “witch hunt.” The couple have amended their original single counter suit against the seven previously-named defendants into four separate counter suits.
The conflict can be traced back to the summer of 2017 when Gordon, Morris and Gordon’s company began soliciting work at two residential estate parks in the Orillia area. They left a trail of unsatisfied customers in their wake. Fergushill Estates residents Dave Beeston and his wife Margaret Gomez were so unhappy with the contractor’s work on their home that they filed legal proceedings against Gordon in Orillia Small Claims Court last fall.
As previously reported in Canadian Contractor, Calvin Gordon has past convictions under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act dating back to 2015 related to his contracting activities in Niagara Falls while operating under the name of Home-Tek Exteriors. He also has served jail time for criminal convictions that Canadian Contractor has no reason to believe are related to his construction activities or his current legal battles.
Gordon counter sues in retaliation
In response to the Beeston and Gomez action, Gordon, Morris, and More For Less issued a court filing of their own that went beyond defending the work done on the couple’s home. They are claiming Beeston, Gomez and other residents had inflicted “assault, intentional infliction of distress, nuisance, breach of privacy, conspiracy to injure, loss of income and defamation of character.” After irreconcilable differences between the parties resulted in a failed attempt at mediation on November 22, 2018, the Justice of the Peace told the parties’ legal representatives to expect a trial date in April 2019.
A “No Trespassing” letter issued
The residents of Fergushill Estates are largely retirees and seniors. Jenny Mailman, operations manager for property manager CAPREIT, made an attempt to protect residents after receiving several complaints about the contractor in early 2018. On March 21, 2018, Mailman issued a written order directing Gordon to complete any ongoing projects and said police would be summoned if he trespassed on the property after May 1, 2018. However, it appears this trespass order was not enforced, since residents reported that Gordon and his company continued to work on individual homes and solicit additional contracts after the May deadline.
The Ontario Provincial Police did begin enforcing the CAPREIT trespassing order when they responded to calls from residents on December 11, 2018. Residents told Canadian Contractor that Calvin and an associate had been seen driving around the Fergushill Estate property. According to residents, the police responded quickly, escorted Gordon to the front entrance of the park, warned him not to return, and remained on station for a period of time thereafter.
Fergushill residents are “co-conspirators,” contractor says
Gordon and Morris’ counter suit lists “chronic feelings of fear, insecurity, shock, distress, trauma, confusion, frustration, irritation, anxiety and emotional upset,” as well as claims of the need for “medical assistance… due to the continuous harassment and defamation.” It also describes Beeston’s behavior as a “witch hunt,” and labels those named in the counter suits as “co-conspirators…who acted in concert, by agreement, or with a common design or intention.” The court filing accuses the named homeowners and sub trades of “harassing and intimidating conduct,” who “knowingly and intentionally and maliciously sought to injure [Gordon and Morris]… professionally and personally.” The resultant damage to Gordon’s and Morris’s reputations is alleged to be so severe that in addition to being forced to refund deposits, they “are not able to secure any work anywhere, and that any contracts that were to commence have been cancelled.”
Gordon’s and Morris’s version of events at Fergushill Estates conflicts strongly with Beeston’s and Gomez’s and that of other residents. In fact, during 2018 there were numerous complaints made to the OPP by several residents alleging intimidation and harassment by Gordon beginning in March and continuing into September. Many of these have been confirmed by OPP notes and reports obtained by Canadian Contractor through Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Services office.
These complaints ultimately came to the attention of Barrie OPP Community Safety Officer Clark Putnam in October 2018. Putnam called a residents-only meeting that month so that grievances could be aired to the OPP and properly considered. Shortly after the meeting, the Orillia OPP detachment commenced an investigation of Gordon and Morris’ activities, under the supervision of Constable Jordan Atkinson. At that time, Atkinson told Canadian Contractor she would “re-interview” individuals “to determine if any criminal activities have taken place,” adding that the investigation would not be restricted to Fergushilll Estates. In response to an inquiry by Canadian Contractor this week, PC Atkinson offered this update. “At this point, pending new information/evidence the investigation has been completed. All parties who chose to come forward and provide information have been directed as to what their next step can be, if those choose to move forward with Civil Litigation or the Consumer Protection Act.”
Gordon turns one counter suit into four
Since their original counter suit against seven named individuals was filed, Gordon and Morris have amended their counter suit, according to Robin MacLeod, the legal representative for Beeston, Gomez and several other residents and homeowners with past dealings with More For Less. Gordon and Morris have dropped the company More For Less as a third Plaintiff. More significantly, however, instead of one counter suit naming seven defendants, Gordon and Morris have divided those original defendants into three new individual suits plus the original counter suit against Beeston and Gomez —a total of four actions rather than one. Under each of these four actions, Gordon and Morris are individually seeking the maximum $25,000 allowed under Ontario’s Small Claims Court rules.
A quality assurance survey?
In the meantime residents told Canadian Contractor they are confused by reports of what appears to be a telephone survey questioning the level of satisfaction with the work undertaken by Gordon, Morris and More For Less last year. Residents report that at least one Fergushill Estates homeowner recently received a phone call from an individual claiming to be a manager at CAPREIT’s head office. However, CAPREIT’s local community manager denies knowledge of any such undertaking by the company.
The scope of Gordon’s activity is significant.
Based on interviews with residents, it appears that from the fall of 2017 to the summer of 2018, More for Less took payment for work on over 30 homes at Fergushill Estates. It has also been reported that More For Less accepted payment for work on more than a dozen homes in areas outside Fergushill Estates as well, for an approximate grand total of 45 in all. Given that most projects were valued between $10,000 and $20,000 each, the total scope of work undertaken in the Orillia area and beyond by Gordon, Morris and More for Less can be estimated between $450,000 and $900,000.
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