UWSA president sues for $100K, settles for apology

A $100,000 defamation of character lawsuit between the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance president and two senior members has been settled out of court.

UWSA president Kimberly Orr • photo M.N. Malik UWSA president Kimberly Orr • photo M.N. Malik
UWSA president Kimberly Orr • photo M.N. Malik

UWSA president Kimberly Orr • photo M.N. Malik

Natasha Marar

A $100,000 defamation of character lawsuit between the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance president and two senior members has been settled out of court.

Allegations of theft by Erik Pigeon, vice-president finance, and UWSA board member Sami Habib against president Kimberly Orr led to a failed impeachment attempt at an emergency board meeting on Sept. 7. 2012.

Pigeon claimed Orr, who was admitting advance ticket holders at the UWSA’s Coming Home Music Festival on Sept. 5, allowed entry to those in line without tickets for cash, which she allegedly pocketed and didn’t remit to the UWSA.

A Statement of Claim, filed on Nov. 26, 2012, indicates Orr remitted all funds collected by herself and volunteers to Pigeon and UWSA accounting staff.

Details of Pigeon’s and Habib’s allegations and the impeachment attempt were published in articles that ran in The Lance and Windsor Star at the time. Orr claims the negative public attention was damaging to her character and health, leading to “anxiety, embarrassment, humiliation, difficulty sleeping and depression.”

The claim, which names Pigeon, Habib and the UWSA as defendants, requested general and special damages in the sum of $50,000, and punitive, aggravated and exemplary damages in the sum of $50,000, as well as court costs totalling $750.

Orr confirmed that the settlement included the UWSA covering Orr’s legal fees. Pigeon and Habib were also made to submit apology letters to her.

“The amount ($100,000) of course to me was something that I took seriously. Personally, I didn’t see it as a reasonable amount,” said Habib.

When asked why she tried to seek $100,000 in damages, Orr said, “That was sort of an amount to try and get them to settle out of court. It has to do with lost income potential from the idea that I could potentially not receive employment in the future because of the article and the slander they committed.”

“The major concern for me was the publications through the Windsor Star and The Lance and the negative effects it could have on my future reputation because that’s something that’s so easily searchable on Google,” said Orr. “I knew that I needed an apology.”

Orr had a lawyer send requests to Pigeon and Habib in October that they provide her with a letter of apology for allegedly defaming her. She said didn’t receive a response from either defendant.

“It was really disheartening. I was hoping we could come to a mutual agreement before it had to go any further, and before it had to involve the UWSA,” she said. “ … It ended up taking a lot more time and a lot more money because they had to be sort of forced to give those letters of apology.”

Pigeon failed to respond to repeated requests for an interview.

Initially, Habib independently sought legal counsel. “I received a letter regarding a request from Ms. Orr on this issue [asking] for an apology. I asked Mr. [Dale] Coffin to talk to our lawyer.”

UWSA bylaws offer legal counsel to all councillors and directors. Knowing that going to court would further cost students, Habib decided to settle.

“The way I see it is, would you rather go to court and have unnecessary expenses? The UWSA is the victim of this whole thing. Student money is the victim of this whole issue. Would you have that go to court and trial?” said Habib. “It was the less evil to me.”

Attempts to contact UWSA legal representation and Pigeon to confirm the total legal costs to the student union were unsuccessful.

“I compromised a lot to settle this and end it basically, which I think was the best solution,” said Habib, who wouldn’t reveal details of his apology letter.

Orr doesn’t intend on publishing the apology letters, but will use them to provide to future employers who may question the accusations brought against her.

“It’s a bit of vindication for me.”

49 Comments on UWSA president sues for $100K, settles for apology

  1. Tom Dean // 2013/01/25 at 9:05 pm // Reply

    This is the same woman that ‘allegedly’ reported a $200,000 cost savings for outsourcing our Custodial staff. She made this statement BEFORE THE BIDS EVEN WENT IN. There was no way she could know this. If she truly cared about students, why wouldshe endorse outsourcing with dubious savings over possibly augmenting our staff with students, allowing them to make some money to help pay for their education? Does she realize there are middle aged women that have been waiting over 15 yrs. for jobs they will now never see? This story was reported on the Windsor Star website, and comments made there were removed, with only one positive comment towards Orr left on. Why and who is censoring this? Holly Ward, or the Star?

  2. Omar Sharif // 2013/01/25 at 12:41 am // Reply

    kelelelelelelelele alef mabrook

  3. Why are you still president? So much drama following you yet you remain. 

  4. It seems like Kim Orr is indeed the problem here. It is not right for her to just be able to pocket the money without anyone else being informed or a party to it, how can anyone really prove she did hand all of the funds over? They can’t.

    It seems like Pigeon and Habib would made out to be evil characters when they were only making a stand and trying to bring some unfortunate issues to light. Now unfortunately they have suffered through this ordeal and their characters are now tarnished.

    It seems like Kim Orr knew she was in the wrong and used the lawsuit to take focus away from the real issue.

    Kudos to Pigeon and Habib for standing up for their beliefs and the rights of the University of Windsor Students. Seems like that should be a job for the UWSA president but apparently she was too worried about her future employment opportunities and not the well being of the students.

  5. Suing for 100K over defamation of character? I think that says a lot about our President’s character than words ever could. No one should be forced to issue an apology when an apology really isn’t necessary. Why can’t people be help accountable for their actions? I mean this isn’t a business, it’s an elected public position! Democracy is supposed to be about transparency. It says a lot more to admit you fucked up rather than to throw the blame on someone else.

  6. Replace title with: “Orr Fucks Up and Sues to Cover Her Ass”

  7. This is ridiculous.  Students will be paying this 100K with their tuition.  This entire situation has been blown out of proportion and I think Orr needs to rethink her motive in charging Students for lack of sleep.

  8. Steve H. // 2013/01/23 at 5:41 pm // Reply

    Kim is a liar. This is a well known fact.

    She also has a history of shoplifting, a lesser known fact.

    • Source?

      • Brennanm234 // 2013/01/25 at 5:37 pm // Reply

        Seems to me the majority of the students have the right idea, its a pretty petty thing for Kim Orr to do, people in authority are up there to be shot at, she knows this, but then they are also there sometimes for their own gain, worked for you Eh Kim, 

    • Stephen Hargreaves // 2013/01/24 at 12:27 am // Reply

      I just want to make it clear. That this commenter was not Lance managing editor Stephen Hargreaves.

  9. She should be impeached simple as that

  10. Kim Orr is a thief and a liar. 

  11. At no point did Erik say that Kim stole money. At no point did Erik go to the media. Kim is quoted accusing Erik of slander…. which never happened. 

    Who wants to see Erik sue Kim for defamation of character now?!

    • Frank V. // 2013/01/23 at 3:25 pm // Reply

      Yeah… I find it strange that this is all blowing up and Erik isn’t saying anything to anyone. 

      • Xiang224 // 2013/01/23 at 4:37 pm // Reply

        You see, Erik doesn’t seem to be as fluent in bullshit as Kim. That’s probably why he’s being so quiet. Give her enough rope and she will hang herself. Kim has already contradicted herself several times concerning this spectacle. 

        Maybe it’s time students take a stand… Personally I’m tired of the way things ALWAYS are in the UWSA. Maybe we need to get rid of the problem. 

        The problem is obviously Kim. 

  12. Can we give Kim say, $50,000 to leave and never come back? Unfortunately our school will be putting her through law school next september. I don’t know about you….. but I think Kim Orr really lowers the value of my degree. 


  14. Stefanie // 2013/01/23 at 11:13 am // Reply

    So let me get this straight…. Kim pockets money, Pigeon and Sami at least try to keep her accountable, and Kim sues them for it?!

    Lol what a bitch. It’s about time we get more accountability in the UWSA, cheers to Pigeon and Sami. They are obviously taking a hard stand, standing up for proper accountability, and they are getting shit all over for it. Sucks to be them… but they should be respected for the job they are doing. None of us have been able to remotely bring accountability to the UWSA. It’s just sad to see that our President Kim Orr is scared of being accountable to her council and the people she represents. 

    What a betrayal. Kim Orr shouldn’t be allowed to be President for one more day. 

  15. I think that this law suit is worse for her reputation then the allegations. So you get accused of stealing money from students, how do you responded  by suing student for 100k? Makes no sense to me. I hope that apology letter was worth it…

  16. Kim Orr admitted to pocketing money. If I did that at work, I would be fired.  

  17. seems like Pigeon is the victim here, of Kim Orr’s stupidity. 

    • I hope that’s a joke– he purposely attempted to deface her when she had done nothing wrong. How ignorant to think that he, the one who went out of his way to make empty claims, is the victim.

      • This looks really mature. Alyssa – obviously VPA – has sided with Kim on this issue. Looks like our executives are divided. 

        I think it’s time we give up on the UWSA…. can we just chalk this up as a loss and move on? I don’t need a student government, they’ve done nothing for me. 

      • LOL he is the only one who hasn’t been in the media!! At least one of you have the smarts not to air your dirty laundry in a newspaper. As far as I am concerned, Pigeon is the only one with a brain in that office. 

      • I’m pretty sure that is a lie. Erik never said that Kim stole money, he just brought to light managerial and logistical problems. I think his problem stems from Kim taking student money and putting it into her pockets, not theft. He never accused her of theft. 

        And are we sure that Kim didn’t steal money? Remember this: http://www.scribd.com/doc/27800732/Thursday-March-4-2010

        How can we really trust Kim? She’s just a slimy politician.

      • **cue the world’s smallest violin playing for Kim Orr

      • Cassandra // 2013/01/23 at 10:32 pm // Reply

        Kim had the right to an apology. Period.

  18. you could have settled this without pocketing 100,000$ from the UWSA (aka the students)

    •  “That was sort of an amount to try and get them to settle out of court. It has to do with lost income potential from the idea that I could potentially not receive employment in the future because of the article and the slander they committed.”And settled for an apology. Did you not read the article?

      • I don’t understand why the students have to pay $100,000 for accusations done by Pigeon and Habib. Why UWSA has to pay the settled amount for a conflict between executives. One would expect the individuals to be responsible for their own actions. 

        • The UWSA was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. 

          • At the end of the day this matter just reflects upon the arrogance and stupidity of our ‘so called’ Student Alliance. To those that accused President Orr and attempted to impeach her outside their own jurisdiction, and to President Orr for taking this matter to a whole new level. 

        • $100,000 was never paid out fool. And why would Kim sue the UWSA? Way to bite the hand that feeds. 

          • Alyssa // 2013/01/23 at 8:51 am //

            The reason such a large amount was placed was so that it wasn’t simply dismissed in small claims court. Also, Erik and Sami could have (and should have) paid any moneys owed from their own pockets, but they decided to use student money instead. They are at fault, not Kim.

          • guest // 2013/01/23 at 9:46 am //

            Wait, so Kim realized her frivolous lawsuit would have been dismissed if it went to trial right away, so to leverage as much as she could she asked for a large amount so she could wait it out and let the legal system scare the shit out of students? 

            That’s really shitty.

          • Cyrus // 2013/01/23 at 3:21 pm //

            Sami and Erik are students right? How would they have been able to pay for this? I know I wouldn’t be able to afford a lawsuit right now….

            Alyssa, you’re obviously a retard. 

          • So, in her actions, Kim basically proves how shitty of a person she is? Nice played, sure showed us.

        • No one received any money. There was no $100,000 paid out. The settlement was the apology. The article was poorly written if that was not conveyed to the reader.

        • Cody Guitarist // 2013/01/23 at 10:38 am // Reply

          Again… Did you not read the article?

          The lawsuit was filed against Habib and Pigeon, the only deficit the UWSA had to encounter was the cost of legal council for the plaintiffs. That was due entirely to a bylaw the UWSA has to protect its council.

          The 100k would have come directly from Habib and Pigeon, but if you read the article, you would know that Orr really had no intention of securing this money. She simply used this amount to A. Attempt to settle out of court to reduce the cost to the UWSA for council; and B. In the case where she was unable to settle with them and gain an apology, she would be reimbursed for potential employment hindrance in the future.

          • you don’t know what you’re talking about. The UWSA was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. There is no guarantee the 100k would have come from them if Orr had won. 

            she used the 100k to scare the UWSA into settling. sorry but my president who I pay to represent me shouldn’t be turning around and suing us. People call Harper a ton of shit but he doesn’t go around suing for defamation. 

      • Oh, right. We were robbed of $130,000 when the UWSA paid someone to plug in an iPod…. And then Kim tries to steal more from students….. by suing the students?!

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