'A very irate Paul Lewis called me and began yelling at me…'
Website ownership dispute sparks war of words
An ugly legal brawl over the ownership of Nunavut Tourism's website is degenerating into a battle of affidavits.
Nunavut Tourism is seeking a court order transferring ownership of its website from Madeline Redfern, a former director of the trade group, who registered the site in her own name in 2000.
Redfern is now the executive director of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association's truth commission investigating the slaughter of sled dogs by the RCMP.
In court documents filed last fall, Nunavut Tourism's CEO, Paul Lewis, said Nunavut Liberal candidate Kirt Ejesiak demanded $10,000 for the site on Redfern's behalf.
And on Jan. 24, Brian Webb, Nunavut Tourism's marketing and communications director, filed an affidavit contending Ejesiak told him the website was available for sale or rent.
But in an affidavit filed Jan. 11, Ejesiak said Lewis threatened to hijack his political career.
"On or about May 18, 2007, a very irate Paul Lewis called me and began yelling at me regarding Ms. Redfern's ownership of the domain name," Ejesiak states.
"[Lewis] made several references to sabotaging and killing my political aspirations."
Ejesiak said he tried to tell Lewis that Redfern wanted to be reimbursed for the cost of registering the website. In a separate affidavit, Redfern has said that cost was around $100.
While Nunavut Tourism has submitted Redfern contracted Ejesiak's Uqsiq Communications to demand the $10,000, both Ejesiak and Redfern have also said they had no business relationship.
Nunavut Tourism said by registering the domain in her own name Redfern breached her contract.
Lewis filed an affidavit Jan. 16 which states the organization owes her nothing for the domain name because Redfern "had already accepted a settlement for termination of her employment with Nunavut Tourism."
In another, 25-page affidavit filed Jan. 11, Redfern said she tried to transfer ownership of the website to Nunavut Tourism, but the organization "had no intent to resolve this matter without commencing litigious proceedings."
Redfern suggests Lewis tried to haul the dispute into the media "as would seem evident from the extensive coverage of these proceedings that found their way into the Nunatsiaq News… before any actual court proceeding."
In response, Lewis denied making any statements about trying to hamper Ejesiak's political aspirations. And he said he's refused to make comments to the media since the court battle began.
"To insinuate…that I attempted to publicly defame Ms. Redfern by prematurely engaging the media is absolutely without foundation," he stated.
CBC radio news in Iqaluit first reported on the story in a broadcast made Dec. 14. Nunatsiaq News did not report on it until Dec. 21.
Both Ejesiak and Redfern are seeking a dismissal of Nunavut Tourism's complaint, plus legal fees.