Ex-Rogers CEO Accuses Company of Dishonesty, Document Tampering in $24M Lawsuit

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Joe Natale, the ex-CEO of Rogers Communications Inc., has hit back at the telecom giant with accusations of a “dishonesty campaign” related to his expulsion in November 2021. Rogers, he alleges, concocted a fictitious narrative to bolster its defences against his upcoming lawsuit.

Legal documents submitted on Thursday reveal Natale’s assertion that Rogers manipulated company documents to solidify its stance in the legal spat underway. He generated shockwaves through the Canadian corporate sphere by asserting that the Rogers Communications Inc. present board tampered with minutes from past meetings, explicitly to distort comments made by Edward Rogers, the Company Chairman, to fortify its skewed account of events.

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Indicating an unprecedented ethical breach by one of Canada’s largest public corporations, Natale’s filing denounced Rogers for submitting Polaroid versions of the same minutes to the British Columbia Supreme Court in 2021.

In August, Natale pursued a lawsuit against Rogers for wrongful termination and contract breach, seeking damages up to $24 million. He accused the company chairman of inflicting “malicious, high-handed, and oppressive conduct” against him.

Rogers Communications Inc. retaliated with a countersuit that claimed Natale endeavoured to undermine corporate governance for personal profit. However, the factual accuracy of both parties’ allegations have yet to be examined in court.

Rogers’ spokesperson, Sarah Schmidt, spoke out in defence, indicating confidence that court proceedings will unravel truth from the tangle of half-truths and false claims. She branded Natale’s lawsuit as the catalyst behind their public confrontation over this issue.

Natale’s farewell from the Toronto based telecom saw him replaced by ex-CFO, Tony Staffieri, currently the acting CEO of Rogers. This decision was precipitated by a boardroom disagreement over the chairman’s ambition to have Natale replaced.

Natale contests that Rogers fraudulently altered board meeting minutes concerning the status of Robert Depatie, the previous chairman of the board’s HR committee. His court filing on Thursday states that Edward misled the board by suggesting Depatie would resign upon signing an employment contract, while Natale’s claim implies Depatie resigned prior to this agreement.

Natale’s lawsuit further incriminates Edward and his wife, Suzanne Rogers, of hiring Brian Cox, an actor from HBO’s “Succession”, to create a derogatory video about him. The video, alleged to have been circulated amongst family, friends, and colleagues, eventually made its way to the media. It contained a demeaning message congratulating Edward Rogers on his “real-life Succession at Rogers Communications,” coupled with unprintable remarks directed at Natale’s departure from the company.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.