Contractor Escalates Battle With Seniors

Editor’s note: A dispute between residents of two Orillia area retirement communities and a contractor has been reported elsewhere. John Bleasby has followed this particular contractor and his legal history for Canadian Contractor Magazine since 2015, referencing interviews, documents, statements, and court filings. SUNonline/Orillia is cross-publishing the story with newly added information.

By John Bleasby – Special to SUNonline/Orillia

Calvin Gordon, proprietor of More For Less Contracting, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Leslie Morris, described in court documents as “in a romantic relationship with Mr. Gordon and a part-time employee at More for Less,” have escalated their fight with homeowners through the courts. The couple have launched new legal actions against customers and sub trades in the Orillia area, claiming they are victims of a “witch hunt.”

The conflict can be traced back to the summer of 2017 when operating as More For Less, the couple began soliciting work at two Orillia-area residential estate parks, Fergushill Estates and Big Cedar Estates, leaving a trail of unsatisfied customers in their wake. Homes in these parks are manufactured modular-type homes. Many residents are retirees and seniors. Those interviewed are reluctant to have their names published, or to be quoted directly, now legal actions are underway.

More For Less clients Dave Beeston and wife Margaret Gomez were so unhappy with several aspects of the work on their Fergushill Estate home they sued last November in Orillia Small Claims Court. Beeston and Gomez cited numerous deficiencies with roofing, siding and window installation, electrical wiring and carpentry work undertaken the previous November. They also allege the contractor undertook structural work on their home without a work permit from the Township of Oro-Medonte. Allegations of deficiencies in workmanship soon surfaced from other homeowners in Fergushill and beyond.

Beeston Fergushill
Fergushill residence new siding installation example
Gordon And Company Counter Sue

In response to Beeston and Gomez’ action, Gordon, Morris, and More For Less immediately issued a court action of their own through their paralegal representative, Leigh-Anne Ott-Christakos. The counter suit claimed Beeston, Gomez and several others had inflicted, “assault, intentional infliction of distress, nuisance, breach of privacy, conspiracy to injure, loss of income and defamation of character.” On November 22, 2018, a Justice of the Peace told the parties’s legal representatives to expect a trial in April 2019 after irreconcilable differences resulted in a failed mediation.

Gordon and Morris’s counter suit also outlines “chronic feelings of fear, insecurity, shock, distress, trauma, confusion, frustration, irritation, anxiety and emotional upset.” This has led to claims of “medical assistance… due to the continuous harassment and defamation.” They describe Beeston’s behaviour as a “witch hunt”, and label those included in the counter suit as “co-conspirators…who acted in concert, by agreement, or with a common design or intention.”  Based on that, Gordon and Morris claim they “are not able to secure any work anywhere, and that any contracts that were to commence have been cancelled.”

A Pattern?

The allegations made by Beeston and Gomez in their suit are not Calvin Gordon’s first legal entanglements. While operating as Home-Tek Exteriors in Niagara Falls, Gordon was convicted in 2015 under the Ontario Consumer Protection Act for “engaging in an unfair practice by making false, misleading or deceptive representations to consumers” between January and September 2013, according to Consumer Protection Ontario. Gordon was ordered by the judge to pay $11,200 restitution to 11 clients in the Niagara Region and Toronto areas.

For a probationary period of 24 months Gordon was also “prohibited from owning, operating or acting as an officer or director in any company that provides home renovation services or other home residential products and services.” He was also ordered to have no association or contact with any of his victims or their families during that time. Gordon paid his restitution and honoured the other terms of his conviction.

That conviction was not Gordon’s only transgression of the law. Unrelated to his contracting activities, Ontario court records reveal that prior to 2015, Gordon was convicted in criminal court and jailed for 71 days for possession under $5,000 and uttering forged documents.

Eager to resume work as a contractor once his probation expired in 2017 Gordon began operating under the company name More For Less in Simcoe County and Muskoka. That summer, More For Less began knocking on doors in the Orillia area, targeting Fergushill and Big Cedar. Multiple projects soon commenced.

gas line Fergushill Estates
Poorly installed natural gas line at Fergushill Estates
No Trespassing

The 40-acre Fergushill Estates property is managed by CAPREIT, a TSE-listed real estate trust based in Toronto. Jenny Mailman, operations manager for CAPREIT, made an attempt to protect residents in early 2018, after receiving several complaints about Gordon and his activities. On March 21, 2018 Mailman issued a written order directing Gordon to complete any ongoing projects, and informing him police would be summoned if he trespassed on the property after May 1, 2018. However, this trespass order was not enforced. Residents report that Gordon’s company continued to work and solicit additional contracts after the May deadline.

Complaints were made to the OPP by several residents concerning intimidation and harassment by Gordon between March and September 2018. Many of these have been confirmed by OPP notes and reports obtained through Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Services office.

OPP Investigates

The resident complaints ultimately came to the attention of Barrie OPP community safety officer Clark Putnam in October 2018. Putnam called a residents-only meeting that month so grievances could be aired to the OPP and properly considered. Shortly after the meeting, the Orillia OPP detachment commenced a criminal investigation of Gordon and Morris’s activities under the supervision of PC Jordan Atkinson. At the time, Atkinson said she would “re-interview” individuals “to determine if any criminal activities have taken place,” adding the investigation would not be restricted to Fergushill Estates.

The OPP began enforcing the CAPREIT trespassing order late in 2018 when they responded on December 11 to a call from a resident reporting Gordon and an associate were driving around the Fergushill Estate property. According to residents police responded quickly, escorted Gordon to the front entrance of the park, warned him not to return, and remained on station for a period of time thereafter.

On March 7, PC Atkinson offered an update on the criminal investigation via email. “At this point, pending new information/evidence the investigation has been completed. All parties who chose to come forward and provide information have been directed as to what their next step can be, if those choose to move forward with Civil Litigation or the Consumer Protection Act.” It is not known if any individuals have done so.

One Lawsuit Is Now Four

Since their original counter suit against seven named individuals was filed, Gordon and Morris have amended their filing, according to Robin MacLeod, the legal representative for Beeston, Gomez and several other residents and homeowners who have had past dealings with More For Less. For example the company, More For Less, has been dropped as a plaintiff, and instead of one counter suit naming seven defendants, Gordon and Morris have now separated those original defendants into four groups of individual suits, including the original action against Beeston and Gomez. Gordon and Morris are seeking the maximum $25,000 allowed under Ontario’s Small Claims Court rules for each of those actions.

Contrast With Resident’s Claimed Losses, And More
Big Cedar Estates
Big Cedar Estates, Orillia

Based on interviews with residents, it appears More For Less took payment for work on at least 30 homes at Fergushill. Meanwhile, at nearby Big Cedar Estates (a park owned and managed by the homeowners) Gordon and Morris’ own court filing shows More For Less completed work on another 12 homes. Sources also tell of More For Less accepting payment for work in areas outside the two parks – for a total of 45 homes. Given most of projects are valued between $10,000 and $20,000, the total scope of work contracted in the Orillia area by Gordon, Morris and More For Less can be estimated between $450,000 and $900,000.

In the meantime, residents are confused by a report made by one resident concerning what purported to be a telephone survey from an individual claiming to be a manager at CAPREIT’s head office questioning the level of satisfaction with the work undertaken by Gordon, Morris and More For Less. However, CAPREIT’s local community manager told residents she has no knowledge of any such undertaking by the company.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves

Before signing any contracts or paying any deposits, consumers can research companies they are considering to hire. Check the local Better Business Bureau web site for corporate information and any disputes on record. Ontario’s Consumer Protection Office publishes an online search service called the Consumer Beware List which tracks any recent convictions or compliance notices. Google often has ratings for companies that appear on their search engine. TrustedPros and HomeStars have data bases with consumer ratings and past histories. Be aware not all information may be up to date. Also, searching the company’s name or the name of its owners on Google can unearth past news items concerning a company. Finally, get a quote from a second company.

(Photos by Bleasby, Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)


john bleasby
John Bleasby has been an freelance writer for over 40 years, with articles appearing in sports, news and special interest publications in Canada and Australia. For the past 4 years, John has been a Contributing Editor and feature writer with Canadian Contractor magazine, an Annex Business Media publication.

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