By: Jacob Walters
Daniel Snyder, James Dolan, and Fred Wilpon are either rotten, incompetent, or both. In fact, they are among the worst of the WORST. However, there is one name that you should keep an eye on. Even government officials have referred to him as “a f***ing piece of shit” and a f***ing loser” I give you Eugene Melnyk.
Born on May 27, 1959 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Melnyk has made his fortune as the founder, former chairman, and CEO of Biovail Corporation. Melnyk has a net worth of $1.21 billion and is one of the richest residents of Barbados, the country where he has resided since 1991.Melnyk bought the Ottawa Senators on August 26, 2003.
Melnyk is no stranger to controversy. In 2003, Melnyk informed investors that a drug shipment destroyed in a truck accident contributed to a shortage in revenue. The Ontario Securities Commission got wind of this and ordered a hearing with Melnyk, where a legal representative for Biovail claimed Melnyk “unknowingly” divulged this misleading and “somewhat imperfect” information. Basically, Melnyk lied, eh?
There is also Melnyk leaving Biovail and his run-ins with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that caused a hullabaloo. On June 30, 2007, after the SEC planned legal action against Melnyk over “trading and reporting ownership positions in Biovail securities, Melnyk left the company. In March 2008, the SEC sued Melnyk and Biovail for accounting fraud, claiming that Melnyk and other executives of “overstated earnings and hid losses in order to deceive investors and create the appearance of achieving earnings goals.”
Now let’s get to Melnyk’s dicey ownership of the Ottawa Senators. Senator fans have long shown their displeasure of Melnyk’s micromanagement and unwillingness to spend money to build a winning team. This has contributed to Senator staples like Daniel Alfredsson, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Erik Karlsson leaving for greener pastures. Alfredsson has even stated that he hoped the Senators would get a new owner, according to the Ottawa Sun! That doesn’t help Melnyk, in his effort to milk Ottawa for a new arena with threats of relocation.
Fans have started to speak out against the Melnyk regime as well. In March 2018, a GoFundMe campaign was organized by local fan Spencer Callaghan to erect four billboards with the message, “#MelnykOut”. The campaign raised more than $10,000. Callaghan felt Melnyk was mismanaging the team, driving both players and staff members away, including president and CEO, Cyril Leeder, who had been with the organization since its inception. Believe it or not, Leeder’s replacement, Tom Anselmi, submitted his resignation a year after taking the job.
Callaghan has a point regarding Melnyk driving staff members away. Peter O’Leary, a former team executive for the Senators, sued Melnyk and the Senators for $1.55 million, citing abusive behavior. The lawsuit claimed Melnyk used “profanity and levelled insults at executive team members, including calling into question their competency.” Melnyk has also sent abusive e-mails to the executive team and “frequently threatened to dismiss them.” A perfect example is Ottawa firing new CEO Jim Little just two months after hiring Little. The result? A heated phone call with Melnyk. What a rotten fellow, eh?
It doesn’t help matters that Melnyk made a McDonalds analogy when talking about moving the Senators. He was quoted with the following: “I’m not going to blow a lifetime of working hard to support a hockey team. It’s not going to happen. It’s a franchise. Imagine if you own a McDonald’s franchise, but you can move it. Why would you sell it?” Melnyk also stated he has no intentions of selling the team or equity investors to solve the team’s problems. Melnyk even spent an entire press conference referring to his own team as the “Houston Senators”. Daniel Alfredsson must’ve felt like he was flipping dry burgers with the Senators.
Melnyk has also spent his time creating Twitter burner accounts, Kevin Durant-style. In November 2018, fans caught wind of newly created and suspicious Twitter accounts that praised Melnyk’s work and attacked his critics. The targets included writers for the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun, leading many to believe that these were bot accounts. As a result of Melnyk’s childish incompetence, attendance figures have dropped to 22-year lows. Attendance figures have trended down since 2012-2013, with the Senators drew an average of 14,553 fans at the Canadian Tire Centre. Not only is that the lowest figure since the Senators played in the Canadian Tire Centre (1995-1996), but that is a far cry from that 2012-2013 season, when Senator home games hosted an average of 19,408 fans.
There are bigtime losers in this tournament. But what about an owner who has squandered $100 million since buying the Senators, being declared the “worst sports owner in North America” by numerous news outlets, and has constantly threatened to relocate the team? The worst….