Last time on “As the Stomach Churns” . . .

Fort Frances council, except for Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, who had declared a conflict of interest, emerged from a behind-closed-doors meeting to announce to any and all who cared that the town does not have, nor ever had, an exclusionary ice rental policy.
That, of course, did not sit well with Terry Mihichuk, owner of the Borderland Hockey School, who had in his possession a letter signed by Mayor Witherspoon, and written under Office of the Mayor letterhead, that clearly stated said hockey school was the only one allowed to operate at Memorial Arena in Fort Frances during the summer months.
And, in fact, that statement is what led Mr. Mihichuk to purchase the Borderland Hockey School from Lloyd “Gus” Lindberg in 1995 for the sum of–or around–11,000
Trouble is, that exclusivity was news to Community Service manager George Bell, who late last year rented ice time at Memorial Arena to Dave and Mike Allison, the Fort Frances brothers with NHL experience as either players or coaches who wanted to run the “A & A” developmental hockey camp this coming July–one week before Mr. Mihichuk had scheduled his Borderland Hockey School.
This also, apparently, was news to town council.
We now pick up the story in March with Mr. Mihichuk (surprise, surprise) last week launching a $200,000 lawsuit against the Town of Fort Frances for “breach of contract.”
In case the town isn’t held liable, he’s filed an alternate suit against Mayor Witherspoon, also for $200,000, for “negligent misrepresentation.” This after realizing the letter from Mayor Witherspoon confirming the Borderland Hockey School was the only one allowed to operate here during the summer wasn’t worth the paper it was written on (Office of the Mayor letterhead and all).
For good measure, he also wants his $11,000 contract with Mr. Lindberg for the purchase of the Borderland Hockey School rescinded.
Mayor Witherspoon isn’t talking (surprise, surprise), nor is Mr. Lindberg. And all the town will say at this point is that the matter will be on the agenda for this coming Monday’s council meeting (which, of course, will be discussed behind closed doors because it pertains to a legal matter).
Plot twist #1
Glenn Witherspoon, prior to being mayor, was an owner of the Borderland Hockey School before it was sold to Gus Lindberg more than a dozen years ago.
The $64,000 question is whether the original nudge-nudge, wink-wink “agreement” to give the Borderland Hockey School exclusive rights to operate in Fort Frances during the summer was made before it was sold to Mr. Lindberg, as it was being sold, or afterwards while Mr. Witherspoon and Mr. Lindberg both sat on Fort Frances town council?
Plot twist #2
Mr. Lindberg is general manager of the Fort Frances Canadians Midget hockey team, of which Dave Allison is head coach.
Are we to believe, given the close-knit circle revolving around minor hockey people here, that Mr. Lindberg had not caught wind that Mr. Allison was planning to run a developmental hockey camp here along with his brother?
Or perhaps he knew about it but had forgotten the Borderland Hockey School, now owned by Mr. Mihichuk, had “exclusive” rights to operate here during the summer just as it apparently had when he was owner?
Be sure to tune in–same bat time, same bat channel–for the answers to these questions, plus why taxpayers are now on the hook for a $200,000 plus lawsuit because Mayor Witherspoon, without the knowledge or consent of town council, told Mr. Lindberg to tell Mr. Mihichuk he could rest assured the Borderland Hockey School was the only one allowed to operate here during the summer.
All next time on “As the Stomach Churns.”

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