York University responds to story published in the Toronto Star

Vari Hall in the winter time

The following is a message to the York community from University Secretary and General Counsel, Harriet Lewis:

This past week, the court ruled on motions in the suit York University vs. Michael Markicevic. From a legal perspective, the decisions were very favourable for York University and mean that our civil case will go forward as we look to recover funds we allege this former employee defrauded from the University.

The key decisions are as follows: Mr. Markicevic filed a motion to have the York University case dismissed, which Mr. Justice David Brown ruled against. York University filed a motion to maintain the Mareva injunction (essentially this freezes all assets) and the University was successful in obtaining a “certificate of pending litigation” against real estate owned by members of the Markicevic family until the conclusion of the trial. The significance of the certificate is that the real estate assets can not be sold.

Our case continues to be watched by the media as such, it is important that you have the accurate facts. You may have seen an article in Friday’s Toronto Star. Unfortunately, the article focused on the judge’s commentary and only one element of his ruling. The article failed to report on the two central issues noted above. We have been in contact with the newspaper and have written a letter to the editor, which we hope will be published in the next day or two. Below is a copy of the letter submitted.

Letter to the Editor: Toronto Star

York University takes its fiduciary responsibilities very seriously and will continue to vigorously pursue the return of funds entrusted to it by its students and the public.

Tony Van Alphen’s article on the recent decision by Mr. Justice Brown in the case of York University v. Markicevic et al. might lead your readers to believe that the University’s action against a number of parties to recover monies allegedly obtained by fraud had suffered a defeat. That is not the case.

While it was omitted from the print version of your article, the online version acknowledges that the University obtained a certificate of pending litigation against real estate owned by members of the Markicevic family. You did not report the fact that the University defeated the defendant’s attempt to strike the action before trial and gained access to the contents of a computer which may contain relevant evidence in this very complex case. By any measure, this judgment represents an important step for the University in its efforts to secure assets, obtain evidence and ultimately recover monies obtained from it by fraud.

Harriet Lewis
University Secretary and General Counsel
York University