Ex-Sens GM seeks $275,000

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:19 PM ET

A former Senators GM has launched a $275,000 lawsuit against team president Roy Mlakar, claiming he was shortchanged in a contract he signed with the club in Marshall Johnston filed a statement of claim in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa Tuesday. Court documents, which also name former Senators VP of finance Mark Goudie as defendant, say Johnston was guaranteed he would receive the same compensation predecessor Rick Dudley did with the Senators.

But Johnston said while his deal paid him $1.2 million over its three-year term he learned after leaving in June, 2002 that Dudley was scheduled to receive $1.375 million.

Johnston said yesterday he tried to get his money by appealing to NHL VP Bill Daly, but was told after the club's bankruptcy he didn't have much chance. That's why the decision was made to sue Mlakar and Goudie -- who holds a similar VP of finance position with Worldheart.

Johnston said Mlakar and Goudie refused to give him a copy of Dudley's deal before he moved from his position as assistant GM to GM in July, 1999. Johnston became concerned about his contract after having a discussion with Dudley just before he left Ottawa.

"I was told by the league that if I went through the process with them there wasn't going to be any money for me even if I won because the Senators were in bankruptcy," said Johnston last night from his Minnesota home.

"That's why I made this decision. I did everything I could to avoid going this route. I looked at the Ottawa bankruptcy papers and I wasn't named as a creditor. I feel strongly in the justice system and I'm positive that this is going to get solved so I can get what I'm owed."

In the 13-page document, Johnston asks for damages from Mlakar and Goudie for either "fraudulent" or "negligent" misrepresentation.

The suit says "Mlakar advised the plaintiff prior to the employment contract being signed that the compensation set out was identical to that payable under the Dudley contract. Those representations were false."

Mlakar said he wasn't sure why the claims were being made and plans to defend the action. Johnston joined the Chicago Blackhawks as a scout after leaving Ottawa, but was dismissed last December.

"I don't know how (Johnston) can make a claim against me. His contract was with the hockey club and it was completely fulfilled when he left," said Mlakar. "There is no basis for this. My integrity in this industry over the years speaks for itself."

Asked if he knew anything about Johnston's claims he was supposed to be paid the same as Dudley when he left the Senators in June, 2002, Mlakar said: "No, I didn't know anything until more than a year after he'd been in our employment."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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