An Ontario courthouse will hear the legal battle between the owners of multiple media consortiums including the Toronto Star on Monday.
According to the Superior Court of Justice docket, Jordan Bitove and NordStar Capital Inc., an investment company owned by Bitove and his partner, Paul Rivett, are scheduled to appear tomorrow on University Ave. in Toronto.
Last month, Rivett filed an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice seeking a court order to wind up the media company.
He cited “irreparable” damage to the relationship with Bitove as the application delves into the erosion of their partnership.
According to the application, immediately dissolving NordStar, which purchased Torstar Corp. in 2020 for $60 million, is the only way to create a clear path forward for the companies under the umbrella.
NordStar also controls six regional daily newspapers in Ontario, including The Hamilton Spectator, flyer distribution services and NorthStar Gaming Inc.
“Given the operational state of the companies, the applicants, employees of the controlled companies, and Torstar’s news readers all stand to suffer irreparable harm if interim relief is not granted,” the filing says.
Rivett claims Bitove changed his mind about previously agreed upon plans and failed to provide a budget at the Toronto Star.
He has asked the court to appoint PrincewaterhouseCoopers to manage an asset sale to resolve the “impasse” between the two parties.
The filing says Bitove ignored proper corporate governance and disregarded his responsibilities at Torstar and Nordstar.
According to the document, Bitove resigned from Nordstar’s board of directors on Aug. 13.
Before joining up with Bitove, Rivett was previously president at Fairfax Financial. Bitove is known for helping launch the Toronto Raptors basketball team and was also part of the ownership consortium that built the SkyDome, now known as the Rogers Centre.
After the court order was filed, Bitove said he is making “no apologies” for the way he runs the newspaper business, noting in a statement he has worked to make the company resilient, more accountable and more competitive.
“I’ve done this to ensure that the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, can continue to deliver the news, opinion and stories our diverse audiences seek and the investigative journalism our democracy depends upon — while upholding The Star’s incredible legacy and building a brighter, stronger future,” he said.
The court application has “disheartened” Unifor, which represents more than 10,000 media workers. Unifor Local 87-M represents many Toronto Star employees.
“(The) unexpected news was completely disrespectful to the hard-working Toronto Star staff who felt blindsided by this information — or rather, lack-of,” said Unifor national president Lana Payne in a statement.
“Journalists and media workers often put their lives on the line to provide fact-based reporting to the public and they deserve better.”
— With files from The Canadian Press
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