Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is not commenting on separate lawsuits filed about a Caribbean cruise he took over Christmas.
The suits filed in Florida court last month by his travelling companions against five defendants allege the trip aboard a $500,000-per-week yacht quickly deteriorated into disagreements with the captain, "reckless conduct" and "abuse" that resulted in "panic attacks" on rough seas.
The lawsuits do not name Melnyk specifically, but he released a statement to The Canadian Press acknowledging them and declining to comment while they are before the courts. He added he and his family's travel respected all public health laws in Canada and abroad, and they continue to do so.
CBC was first to report Melnyk's girlfriend, Sharilyne Anderson, and his mother, Vera, are seeking a combined US$10 million in damages, alleging the captain of the 60-metre M/Y Dream was "an odorous, ill-tempered man who was curt and dismissive with the guests and outright angry and abusive to the crew." The lawsuits, which both name companies connected to the yacht, as well as the captain and another man, allege things got worse when the skipper refused to travel between the island of Andros and an archipelago — instead taking the yacht east out to sea.
The statements of claim allege the captain instead charted a route onto the open ocean that led to a "harrowing 10-15 hour ordeal" where Eugene Melnyk and Anderson "became violently ill, vomiting throughout the night."
None of the allegations have been tested in court. Messages left with Gurmeet Ahluwalia, an agent who works for companies that own and manage the Dream, were not immediately returned. An email was also sent to the lawyer representing Anderson and Vera Melnyk seeking comment.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2021.
The Canadian Press