A Progressive Conservative MPP is being sued by an ex-lover who alleges she owes him $30,000 after she “leveraged her political power for personal gain.”
MPP Natalia Kusendova (Mississauga Centre) was given the cash in a series of 13 wire transfers in what she told the Star was “a gift” from Grant Gorchynski, an Oakville chartered accountant.
In Ontario Superior Court filings that have not been proven in court, Gorchynski says Kusendova “consistently abused her position as MPP and requested loans.”
The two met four years ago when he was advocating — unsuccessfully — for a new station on the forthcoming Hurontario LRT, near a building owned by his family’s business on Kingsbridge Garden Circle in Mississauga.
But the MPP, a nurse who has been working hospital shifts to help during the COVID-19 pandemic, insisted “there was no expectation of repayment — this was simply an agreement between partners that Mr. Gorchynski now contests.”
Kusendova’s statement of defence said that Gorchynski “got involved with her romantically for the sole purpose of lobbying for the LRT stop … and exploiting her political office to do so.”
In an interview, she expressed concern about the timing of the lawsuit, which was filed in February.
“It’s a smear campaign six weeks before an election,” she said, referring to the June 2 vote.
“He’s a disgruntled ex-boyfriend who reappeared in my life when I got engaged,” the first-term MPP said.
Not so, said Gorchynski.
His legal action seeks damages totalling $50,500 from Kusendova, who was married last year.
“We were casually dating. I’d tell her, ‘We’re not in a relationship. You should be dating other people,’” Gorchynski said in an interview.
“I am now happily engaged and I love my fiancée,” he said.
Gorchynski said his crusade for an additional station on the 18-kilometre light rail transit (LRT) route, now known as the Hazel McCallion Line, brought them together in 2018.
“That’s why we were introduced — when she was running as a Progressive Conservative candidate. There’s probably no one who knows more about the Hurontario LRT than I do,” he said of the 19-stop line running from Mississauga’s Lakeshore West GO station to Brampton.
Between December 2018 and December 2019, Gorchynski transferred to her 13 payments ranging from $500 to $9,500, and there was one repayment of $3,000.
“It was absolutely a gift, 100 per cent,” Kusendova said of the $30,369 in cash.
“Like many young Ontarians who receive help with student loans from family and loved ones, my ex-partner provided me the means to pay off my remaining student debt,” she said, adding his other “allegations are false.”
Gorchynski argued he was giving her “interest-free loans” to help pay off her student debt.
Texts filed as evidence with the court suggest Kusendova intended to allude to the payments in the financial disclosure forms every MPP is required to share with the province’s integrity commissioner.
“I’m completing my financial disclosure statement this week so I was wondering if you had made the payment to my loan because I have to give them an estimated number of my loan that’s left,” the MPP texted on Oct. 8, 2019.
“I think it would be good to show that I paid most of it off,” she added.
In his reply text, Gorchynski asked: “Wouldn’t that leave room for more questioning? I can do it, sure. I guess whatever you think is best. Just inquiring.”
Gorchynski told the Star he had been worried about the optics of the payments.
In the court filings, Gorchynski alleged the two had a stormy relationship with couples therapy, European travel, late drunken nights, profane texts and arguments about “romantic exclusivity.”
In her statement of defence, Kusendova said “given her personal values and position in public office … (she) was not interested in an open relationship.”
By Ontario law, “MPPs are required to disclose sources and amounts of income; descriptions of assets, including investments, properties, ownership of companies and pension entitlements; and all liabilities, including mortgages, lines of credit, unpaid taxes and co-signed loans.”
“A public disclosure statement is created for each MPP, which provides the nature of certain income, asset and liability sources as required under the Act. Dollar amounts are not included. The statement also lists any gifts worth more than $200 that an MPP accepted during the year,” according to the integrity commissioner.
Under Kusendova’s publicly available financial disclosure for 2018 and 2019, she lists “no assets” and, under liabilities, “national student loans,” and a TD Bank line of credit.
But there is no mention of the cash payments from Gorchynski under “gifts and personal benefits.”
She does acknowledge she “received a ticket to attend the William Osler Health System Foundation’s Holi Gala Festival of Colours from the foundation” in 2019.
Because MPPs are not required to disclose gifts from spouses or romantic partners, Kusendova stressed “all applicable laws were followed.”
For disclosures in 2020 and last year, Kusendova did not report receiving any gifts or personal benefits.
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