Previous Commish wants $5million from CFL

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Former Canadian Football League commissioner Michael Lysko has won his appeal and is once again seeking more than $5-million in damages from the league for being fired.

Lysko and his lawyer, Gary Hodder, were informed yesterday that their wrongful dismissal suit against the CFL and individuals such as B.C. Lions owner David Braley and former acting commissioner John Tory was back in play because of a ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The suit was originally filed a year after Lysko was fired in March of 2002.

In November of 2004, an Ontario Superior Court judge dismissed the 64-page statement of claim, saying it was "monstrously unwieldy and does not coherently set out the case the defendants have to meet."

Lysko was allowed to appeal that decision, although two elements of the original suit, including a claim for breach of confidence, were not reinstated.

"I'm extremely grateful the Ontario Court of Appeal restored my key legal claims," said Lysko, who is now the athletic director at the University of Western Ontario in London. "I view this decision as an important step in the right direction for moving this case forward."

CFL communications director Alexis Redmond said the league "was aware of the process" and "its members will respond consistently to defend our position."

Lysko is seeking damages for alleged wrongful dismissal, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and defamation.

The CFL's board of governors fired him 12 days after he made controversial remarks to a newspaper about the business practices of the Toronto Argonauts and their owner at the time, Sherwood Schwarz.

In his statement of claim, Lysko alleges he was hired under false pretences, undermined by the governors during his time on the job and defamed on several occasions, including the period leading up to his dismissal.

The claim also alleges the governors failed to adhere to the terms under which Lysko agreed to serve as the commissioner and that clubs defied league policies when it came to awarding cash infusions to member clubs, staying within the salary cap and not putting advertising on player uniforms.

Lysko spent 16 months as the commissioner before Tom Wright was hired as his replacement.

The relaunch of the Lysko suit comes as Wright and the CFL are hurrying to find new ownership for the Ottawa Renegades. Unless the league locates a suitable owner within the next two weeks, it would have to choose between funding the team for 2006 or suspending it.

The mood among many club officials is that the Renegades will not operate this season, as training camps are scheduled to open in less than two months. The Renegades may have a coaching staff, but they do not have the manpower and infrastructure to sell a necessary number of season tickets and corporate sponsorships.

For now, Bernie Glieberman remains as the 'Gades majority owner.

The CFL has a committee looking for potential purchasers and another examining how suspending operations in Ottawa would affect the other franchises.

Lysko is a freakin' enemy of the CFL. Taking 5 M$ out of the league's chests would be a tough blow. Such money could be used for so many better uses, like saving the Rens.

Lysko should be sent to an Afghan jail...

Lysko was screwed over by Braley, Wettenhall, and other "enemies of the CFL". He was trying to do his job as commissioner, just like Tom Wright has, and had to deal with people trying to override his efforts every turn around. Five million is really excessive though. However, maybe a strong penalty would change the behaviour of some owners who feel they should be controliong everything.

...why are the courts entertaining this guy....he sounds like a goldbricker with a huge bowl of 'sour grapes and gripes'...Time to move on Lysko..this league does not have 5 mill. to hand over to you.... :!:

Lysko must know that the Judges make the laws in this Country anymore so he must figure why not give it a shot.
It has always been my impression that an employer could fire his Lysko was paid the rest of his three year contract. If Lysko and Brad Watters actually believed the 2.6 Mil was a hard cap, they must have been the only two people in Canada to do so. They both were in over their head.

On one hand I sure hope Lysko doesn't win as it would obviously set the league back with a huge award like that. On the other hand, I hope he does win as it would clearly illustrate the mismanagement by the Braley type owners. Lysko was trying to do his best for the league, which was odds with a few owners with inflated egos. If Lysko had been allowed to do his job, the Renegades may have been able to keep from being raped by owners with gobs of dough, they may have been able to be more competitive and the current crisis may have been avoided. Of course we will never know for sure, but it would have been nice to see.

Perhaps the best result will be to have Lysko win his case but have the judge limit the amount of damages and maybe include in his order a severe rebuke to the defendants. That way Lysko makes his point and gets his reputation restored without destroying the league.

By the way, Steven Brunt had an excellent column in the Globe and Mail yesterday outlining his view of the CFL and the direction it should take.

Lysko must have known he didn't have the power to institute or enforce a hard cap. The position of CFL Commissioner hasn't had any clout since Jake Gaudar retired.

No kidding, when he took the job, he knew the history...
Will he make some cash off the CFL ?? probably ...5 mill..cant see it, may be 500 grand, at best..

Make you a deal. The Riders will pay $5 mil the next time we win the cup. That oughta give us 20 years of savings to be able to pay that off.

I had forgotten that Lysko had been fired after making remarks about how the Argonauts were run, and about their owner.

That should give some food for thought for all those that think the current Renegades situation is Tom Wright's fault, and for all those that think he should have just stepped in and taken care of the Renegades himself.