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Maid of the Mist legal claim denied

niagara-city-maid-of-mistAn Atlanta businessman with eyes on tour boat operations at the base of Niagara Falls has lost a legal battle in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

In a decision rendered earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon denied motions filed by businessman William Windsor in a case involving the owners of the Maid of the Mist Corp.

Windsor, who has raised serious questions about the procedures for granting leasing rights to Maid operations on both sides of the border, had asked the federal court in Washington to review the findings of another federal judge in a dispute involving his son’s company and its ability to sell vouchers for tickets to Maid of the Mist boat rides in the Falls.

Windsor requested a second opinion in the case on the basis that the judge who oversaw the previous proceedings denied his son’s company the opportunity to a fair trial. Windsor filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Georgia, accusing Chief Judge Orinda Evans of professional misconduct and withholding evidence in the case. He also has insisted that Maid officials won their argument based on “lies, false sworn pleadings, false pleadings, and discovery abuse.”

In his Feb. 14 ruling, Leon dismissed Windsor’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. He determined that Evans addressed all 62 motions filed by Windsor in the Georgia proceeding with “great care” and ruled that Windsor’s claims against her have no standing because she is covered by judicial immunity that renders her “immune from suit on all official judicial acts.” Leon also determined that Windsor failed to follow appropriate procedures in filing his complaints against Maid officials.

“Rather than filing a short and plain statement of his claims against these defendants, plaintiff has submitted a 505-page complaint which utterly fails to give defendants fair notice of what his claims are and the grounds upon which they rest,” Leon wrote in his ruling.

Evans sided with Maid on nearly all counts in the original dispute over the vouchers and issued a permanent injunction against Windsor and his son’s company, Alcatraz Media. As part of a decision issued in December, Evans barred Windsor from filing any additional claims, characterizing the plaintiffs’ behavior as “clearly stubbornly litigious.” An Appeals Court dismissed all counterclaims filed by Windsor as “meritless.”

Leon noted the Georgia court’s findings that Windsor engaged in “extreme litigiousness” and in his own decision characterized Windsor as a “serial filer.” In his ruling, Leon suggests that Windsor’s attempt to sue Maid officials in his court might be in violation of the court order issued by Evans on Dec. 22. As a result, Leon referred the case to the Northern District of Georgia to allow Evans to consider whether Windsor is in contempt of her order.

Windsor has vowed to fight Evans’ ruling all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary, maintaining that she was a biased judge who based her decision on inadequate information and fraudulent statements from Maid officials.

In an email sent to the Gazette on Thursday, Windsor said he will appeal Leon’s decision. He also insisted that he’s being victimized by a corrupt judicial system and said he will continue to fight for the justice he believes he deserves.

“I just pray that the Supreme Court will do something,” Windsor said. ”My lawsuit is really an indictment of the Injustice in the U.S. judicial system. The idea that a group of people in Niagara Falls can completely make up the claims in a lawsuit and then lie repeatedly and get a judge to go along with them is simply amazing to me.”

Windsor dismissed Leon’s claim that Evans enjoys judicial immunity. He also said Leon’s description of him as a “serial filer” was made without the judge realizing that Evans ignored 28 motions he filed in an attempt to get a hearing or a conference in her court. He characterized his so-called “serial” filing as a product of his efforts to get Evans to “do something — anything” on his behalf.

“She has never considered any of the facts about anything,” Windsor said. “It’s a very strange and frightening situation.”

Windsor has suggested that Maid of the Mist sued his son’s company in response to inquiries Windsor made to the Niagara Parks Commission. His questioning of the handling of Maid’s deal with the Canadian government generated enough interest to persuade Canadian Tourism Minister Monique Smith to order the Niagara Parks Commission to solicit competitive bids from private companies that may be interested in leasing the public land where Maid of the Mist maintains its fleet.

On the American side, Windsor is continuing to challenge Maid’s 40-year, no-bid contract with New York State Parks. He has filed a lawsuit against state parks, the Office of the state Comptroller, the attorney general, Gov. David Paterson, former state parks commissioner Ed Rutkowski and Maid of the Mist officials in an attempt to void the state’s boat service license with the company.

In the past, Windsor has accused top Maid executives of committing several hundred counts of perjury and conspiracy to commit fraud. His legal filings in the voucher case target Maid President Christopher Glynn, vice president of marketing, Timothy P. Ruddy and Controller, Robert J. Schul, alleging that they made false statements to the court. Windsor asserted that 46 of the 50 paragraphs in the original lawsuit were false or incorrect. Of those, he maintained that 44 paragraphs have been proven false by the subsequent testimony of Glynn, Ruddy, Schul, or through other documents.

“Everything that I submit to any court is sworn under penalty of perjury and signed under oath before a notary,” Windsor said. “I will take a polygraph test anywhere any time.”

By Mark Scheer

Originally published by: Niagara Gazette February 26, 2010

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One Response
  1. The proposed new bidding process in Ontario should make it fairer for competing bidders. Hopefully Ontario taxpayers win.

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