UPDATED: I’ve received several calls about this story, including the CBC and The Star. Both seem perplexed at how the OPP could charge individuals who weren’t working for ClubLink when this accident happened. I have no answer — other than to think that the OPP got what they wanted — headlines — and that the charges against ClubLink directors, most of whom have no links to the daily operations of the company, will be quietly dropped in coming months.
The implications for private golf couses is much bigger. However, imagine the scene had the server in this case told the son of a rich member that he couldn’t have another drink. Could it have cost him/her their job? Perhaps the bigger issue is what this says about the dynamic of privilege that exists at a lot of private clubs and how that impacts the employees.
The CBC interviewed me yesterday — here’s their take:
The three employees were working the day of the accident. One was the restaurant manager, the other two were bar staff.
But CBC News reports that records show that two of the executives charged are former Clublink vice-presidents and had already left the corporation before the incident happened.
Jim Molenhuis was the company’s vice-president of development.
Murray Blair, the former vice-president of member services, also left the club in 2007.
A spokesman for Clublink confirmed both men left in 2007.
Some are now questioning if the provincial police cast too wide a net in their investigation.
“It kind of looks sloppy to me. I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t know these guys weren’t with the company, or how they found these names,” said Robert Thompson, a golf industry reporter.
Among the others charged are company heads Kuldip Sahi and Bruce Simmonds. Thompson describes both as multimillionaires who would likely have had little to do with day-to-day operations at the club’s restaurant.
Convictions could lead to large fines
“To charge not only the employees but the senior executives strikes me as a lost cause because these are guys who are going to be able to afford the best lawyers, the best legal representation,” said Thompson.
“This strikes me as spending a lot of taxpayer money on something that probably won’t come to the conclusion they’re hoping for anyway.”
If convicted, the 16 accused could each face large fines and possibly even jail time.
Clublink could also lose its liquor licences at its Muskoka resort.
OPP spokesperson Const. Maureen Tilson wouldn’t comment on the charges
In a fascinating and strange story that will surely have dramatic ramifications for the golf industry, several directors of ClubLink Corp. – including majority shareholder Rai Sahi — have been charged with liquor violations following the deaths of three young men who police allege were overserved at the Lake Joseph Club in Muskoka last July.
The case involves Tyler Mulcahy, the driver, and two friends, who consumed 31 drinks between them before Mulcahy drove home, according to reports. Mulcahy, 20, has killed along with two 19-year-olds. Mulcahy’s father has been active in trying to limit the number of teens that can be in a vehicle driven by another teen.
In a dramatic twist to the tale, police have charged 16 people with liquor violations, including several key ClubLink executives. If convicted, the corporation could face a $250,000 fine. Individuals could face fines of up to $100,000 and spend up to one year in jail.
The list of those charged is: Murray Blair of Muskoka Lakes, Patrick Brigham of Toronto, Paul David Campbell of Muskoka Lakes, Egidio Caravaggio of Muskoka Lakes, Ian Colterjohn, 22, of Toronto, Scott Davidson of Muskoka Lakes, James Flegg, 21, of Oakville, Charles Lorimar, 52, of King City, Jim Molenhuis of Muskoka Lakes, Walter Moon, 34, of Gravenhurst, Neil Osborne of Muskoka Lakes, Kuldip Sahi of Muskoka Lakes, Bruce Simmonds of Muskoka Lakes, Donald Turple of Muskoka Lakes, Robert Visentin of Muskoka Lakes, and Jack Winberg of Muskoka Lakes.
That list comes from a police press release found here.
They’ve been charged with:
Permit Drunkenness on Licensed premises under section 45(1) LLA and Supply Liquor to Apparently Intoxicated Person, under section 29 LLA:
What’s strange about this is it includes several key ClubLink executives who would have had little directly to do with who was being served at the club last summer. And as far as I know, Murray Blair wasn’t even working for ClubLink during the summer, having parted ways with the organization a few months previous. Other ClubLink bigwigs include the company’s majority shareholder and CEO, Rai “Kuldip” Sahi; chief financial officer Robert Visentin; company founder and board member Bruce Simmonds; VP Edge Caravaggio, VP of sales and marketing Charles Lorimer; and Jim Molenhuis, another former ClubLink exec who I thought had left the company prior to the accident
Were the kids in question overserved? Sounds like there is little doubt. Was someone not paying attention? Appears to be the case from the accounts I’ve read. Should there be some degree of responsibility on Mulcahy for driving the car while intoxicated? I think there’s no doubt that the main contributing factor to the deaths of these young men was the decision by Mulcahy to get behind the wheel of a car while loaded.
It is hard not to feel horrible for the families of those involved in this crash. They lost young family members – well before their time should have been up. But are ClubLink executives to blame? What role does personal responsibility play in all of this?
This strikes me as having a decided political element, especially after Premier Dalton McGuinty had a proposed law intended to restrict driving privilges for those under 22 dropped in the face of a public backlash. Apparently someone had to be made an example, and the police decided it was ClubLink executives.