June 27, 2022
(Photo: From Left to Right, Pat Fortini, Jeff Bowman, Martin Medeiros, Elaine Moore and Gurpreet Dhillon)
After leaving municipal politics in 2018, several months later, Elaine Moore became the Chair of the Wise Elephant Family Health Team (WEFHT) in Brampton. She is now being sued by one of the doctors who co-founded WEFHT.
This is the same Elaine Moore, who Councillors Pat Fortini and Martin Medeiros are trying to appoint in order to fill a Council vacancy.
Wise Elephant Family Health Team (WEFHT)
The Wise Elephant Family Health Team (WEFHT) was co-founded by Dr. Sanjeev Goel in 2010. Dr. Goel served on the Board as the Chair of WEFHT from its inception until January 30, 2019. The WEFHT offered multi-discipline health care to the community, with a focus on the city’s transgender residents and other marginalized patients (such as homelessness and transients). Designated family health clinics, such as the WEFHT, receive funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
According to court documents, Dr. Goel resigned from the Board due to new provincial funding agreements that set out specific requirements and qualifications for Board members. However, although he resigned from the Board, Dr. Goel continued as a family physician serving WEFHT patients.
With Elaine Moore now at the helm of the new WEFHT Board, a preliminary audit was conducted based on allegations of misappropriation of funds involving the previous Board members, which included Dr. Goel and his spouse, Dr. Lopita Banerjee. The new Board alleged $3.2 million of “questionable transactions” involving Dr. Goel and Dr. Banerjee.
As Chair of the WEFHT, Elaine Moore sent the preliminary audit to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In response, as per court documents, the Ministry responded “The Ministry reviewed the preliminary audit and did not agree with a number of its preliminary findings. In large part, the audit appeared to misapprehend what charges were and were not permissible under the terms of the [Agreement]. Furthermore, the Corporation had provided the Ministry with yearly Audited Financial Statements. Those audited statements also did not raise the kinds of concerns set out in the preliminary forensic audit, which was conducted in order to settle litigation.”
The Ministry decided to end their funding agreement with the new Board of the WEFHT. After learning of the Ministry’s decision to end their funding, Chair Elaine Moore and the other members of the WEFHT Board filed a judicial review to prevent the Ministry’s actions. The judicial review was conducted by a 3-judge panel by Ontario Superior Court.
The Judicial Review
In their written decision, the judges dismissed in its entirety the complaints submitted by the new WEFHT Board members. They wrote, “Ms. Moore, the Chair of Wise Elephant’s Board, claimed in her affidavit that the Ministry was protecting the Former Board from further complaints, investigations, or civil actions. On cross-examination she admitted she had no evidence to support this claim.”
The 3-judge panel further wrote:
- There is no evidence that the termination of the ongoing funding Agreement was designed to cover up the fraud that had taken place under the Former Board, or to avoid scrutiny of Ontario’s negligence in its failure to stop the fraud, as alleged.
- There is no evidence that the actions of the MOHLTC were designed to punish the current Board, for an improper purpose, which is the essence of the Wise Elephant arguments comparing the Ministry’s relationship with the Former Board and the current Board, or other FHT’s.
- There is no evidence that the Minister terminated the Agreement to silence Wise Elephant as a whistleblower, or stymie investigations and lawsuits.
Overall, the case brought forward by Chair Elaine Moore and the other Board members was dismissed on all counts by the unananimous decision of the three judges.
The Lawsuit Against Elaine Moore and Others
Dr. Goel is now fighting back.
He and his spouse Dr. Banerjee are suing Elaine Moore and the other WEFHT Board members for engaging “…in a campaign or conspiracy designed to harm or to ruin the plaintiffs’ economic relations and careers of the individual plaintiffs.” These allegations have not been proven in court.
The lawsuit claims:
- $100,000.00 on account of damages related to defamation and/or slander related to Dr. Goel;
- $100,000.00 on account of damages related to defamation and/or slander related to Dr. Banerjee and $80,000.00 in damages on account of loss of opportunity to continue as the Site Chief for the Family Medicine Department at the Brampton Civic Hospital over thecourse of two years;
- A total of $470,000 in general damages;
- Punitive and/ or aggravated damages in the amount of $250,000.00; and
- Damages at large in the amount of $500,000.00 on account of the conspiracy conducted by the defendants to cause harm to the plaintiffs.
Not the First Time
This is not the first time Elaine Moore has challenged the professional reputation of an individual.
Moore made accusations against former Brampton City Manager Deborah Dubenofsky. When she was on Council, Elaine Moore alleged that the City Manager was closely aligned with the Mayor in the biased awarding of a multi-million city hall expansion project. However, in 2019, Superior Court Justice John Sproat debunked the allegations and ruled that the Mayor Fennell and Dubenosky “did not attempt to influence” the awarding of the contract.
Earlier this year, Moore was on social media attacking former City Manager David Barrick. She made false allegations of improper hiring and purchasing practices. In a $500,000 forensic audit completed by the independent firm Deloitte, there was no evidence to support any of the allegations.