Makrigiorgos’s 11-page statement of claim came on same day Regional Coun. Perrelli brought his 2nd lawsuit
Richmond Hill Liberal
Monday, August 22, 2022
The same day Regional Coun. Carmine Perrelli brought a multi-million lawsuit against the City of Richmond Hill and several others, his chief of staff commenced his own legal action against the city and former city manager Mary-Anne Dempster.
Mike Makrigiorgos, chief of staff for Perrelli and several other council members since 2019, is seeking $1 million in damages for alleged misfeasance in public office, abuse of power and defamation as well as $500,000 in punitive and aggravated damages.
Filed on Aug. 4 in Newmarket, the statement of claim detailed several allegedly “unauthorized and improper” acts of the former city manager last spring that Makrigiorgos says caused him significant embarrassment, reputational harm and significant stress and anxiety.
None of the claims have been proven in court.
“The city does not comment on legal matters,” city spokesperson Libbi Hood said.
Makrigiorgos’s 11-page statement of claim came on the same day when Perrelli brought his second lawsuit — seeking more than $3 million in damages — against the city, Dempster, three current city staff, and six council members.
While mirroring some allegations in Perrelli’s suit, the chief of staff’s claim is focused on two incidents allegedly initiated by the former city manager after Makrigiorgos’s employment with the city was terminated in 2021.
Makrigiorgos alleged that Dempster’s acts were reprehensible, vindictive and malicious and intended to punitively aggravate the harm that he has suffered.
Dempster, who left her position in January, has declined to comment on the case.
Provided as “relevant background,” Makrigiorgos alleged that his employment was terminated without cause on March 12, 2021, after Regional Coun. Joe DiPaola discontinued the funding to his position.
During his termination, Makrigiorgos alleged that then city manager Dempster created multiple copies of posters to be put up on walls, halls, and doors at the city hall with Makrigiorgos’ full name and a computer image, announcing that Makrigiorgos was a former employee who was not permitted to enter the building.
Makrigiorgos alleges the poster “was nothing other than an old-style ‘most wanted’ post office poster,” which depicted him as a criminal and violent individual.
On or about April 16, 2021, Dempster allegedly unilaterally created a trespass notice and notified York Regional Police and others that in the event Makrigiorgos entered city hall or other city-owned property, the YRP had the authority to charge Makrigiorgos with trespass, according to the statement.
Makrigiorgos denies that he has ever engaged in any violence while attending city-owned property or caused any damage to city-owned property, nor has he been the subject of any complaints while being an employee with the city.
“Ms. Dempster held personal animosity for Mr. Makrigiorgos following a meeting between her, RLC Perrelli and Mr. Makrigiorgos in January 2021 and from that point onward she sought retribution against Mr. Makrigiorgos,” the statement alleges.
The alleged actions taken by Dempster were described in the lawsuit as part of an alleged overall political agenda and personal vendetta against Makrigiorgos and Perrelli.
“The statement of claim speaks for itself,” Stephen Thiele, a lawyer for Makrigiorgos, responded to an email inquiry in which The Liberal asked about details about the January meeting as well as the Makrigiorgos’s employment with the city.
Thiele also represents Perrelli in his lawsuits against the City of Richmond Hill among others.
Makrigiorgos was previously appointed as the chief of staff for Perrelli, DiPaola, and Ward 1 Coun. Greg Beros on a contract basis from March 4 2019 to Nov. 14, 2022 when his position was reportedly funded through the allocated administrative support budgets of these three councillors.
After Makrigiorgos’ allegedly termination without cause, Perrelli consulted city staff about policies on rehiring an employee who received a lump sum severance payment. The termination was eventually resolved, according to the lawsuit.
Makrigiorgos was rehired by the city on Dec. 1, 2021 as a chief of staff, according to an offer letter obtained through a freedom of information request.
The council members to whom he provides service have changed to Perrelli, Beros, Tom Muench and Castro Liu. Both Muench and Liu have declined to comment on legal or human resource matters.
When the latest public sector disclosure became available this April, Makrigiorgos’s close to $230,000 salary in 2021 — which he denied was correct — caught the public eye and drew questions from the Richmond Hill taxpayers.
The chief of staff had said at that time that his position, salary and job description had never changed and that he was hired for all council members, not just certain members.
In 2020, the first full year Makrigiorgos was employed with the city, the chief of staff made about $176,000, according to the disclosure.