Never look a gift horse in the mouth, unless the horse has a criminal record

A small town in Ontario learns a hard lesson about vetting:

A convicted sex offender is suing the Town of Amherstburg to force the Ontario community to name streets, soccer fields, a park and a walking trail after him.

Richard James Massen, 80, is asking a Superior Court judge to enforce a contract he entered into with the town on May 3, 2010. Massen’s statement of claim, which has yet to be tested in court, says he paid $100,000 for naming rights in and around the Amherstburg recreation complex. The complex opened in January as the United Communities Credit Union Complex.

Town council in February voted unanimously to repeal the bylaw authorizing Massen’s sponsorship agreement after hearing from residents outraged that a convicted sex offender’s name would be displayed at the complex. Council held an emergency meeting after news of the donation and Massen’s past was reported by the Windsor Star.


“He doesn’t want his money back. He wants them to live up to the contract,” said Sam Mossman, Massen’s lawyer. “The contract is very clear.”

Massen is not suing for breach of contract, but rather wants “specific performance” of that contract, Mossman said. That means Massen is insisting he gets to name the main street leading into the complex, a street that runs parallel to that main street, a service road, a park area, a walking trail and the soccer fields.

He is also asking for the town to pay his costs of launching the lawsuit and any other relief deemed appropriate by a judge.

2 thoughts on “Never look a gift horse in the mouth, unless the horse has a criminal record

  1. Jim Whyte says:

    Fair enough; a contract’s a contract. He gets his name on the streets and parks. But even this layman knows putting up a plaque with clear details of Mr. Massen’s past would be neither a libel nor a breach of contract (unless the contract specifically said Amherstburg couldn’t do it).

    Try that one on him, and I suspect settlement won’t take too long.

  2. Joseph M. Egan says:

    Considering Jim’s position regarding the contracted agreement between him and the city, maybe a class action lawsuit on behalf of his victims would change his opinion of claim.

    In my opinion, this is a sick twisted ploy, from an equally disturbed man to impose a dark cloud of shame on a close knit community. No one wants to remember Jim Massen – in life, or in death. Canada was unable to properly punish him for his horrible crimes against persons; may his final days be long and painful; and his eternity spent tortured as the lives of his victims.

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