After Laura Robinson‘s September exposé in the Georgia Straight, John Furlong held a widely reported news conference where he defended himself categorically and accused the reporter of inaccuracy and “shocking lack of diligence in researching the article.”
He also claimed that Robinson was involved in a personal vendetta against him and said that he had been told that, for a cash payment, the story “could be made to go away.” Though not said, one implication that could be taken by a casual listener was that Laura Robinson was involved in a blackmail attempt.
Lawyer Marvin Storrow reinforced the allegation, saying “We are very curious about the motivation that exists in this matter.” Again, the imprecision of that statement is designed to smear Robinson.
In fact, the statement of claim filed by Furlong in Supreme Court says the request for payment came two years before Robinson’s article and was made by an unnamed woman who claimed to be a victim of Furlong during earlier days.
Despite the writer having made numerous efforts to contact Furlong, directly and through his lawyer and publisher, the former VANOC CEO said,
It is also beyond all belief that the Georgia Straight newspaper did not place a single call to me to validate any of the elements of this story.
Yet, lawyer Marvin Storrow stated they had warned Robinson and the Georgia Straight a number of times that a civil action would be commenced against them if defamatory remarks were made. Furlong’s statement of claim also notes contacts between the Plaintiff’s solicitor and the Georgia Straight.
Again, it appears these people want it both ways. They complain the publisher made not a single call to discuss the story but admit they had various contacts with those who are now defendants.
Furlong’s September 27 news conference, ended by him saying,
I am not in a position to provide further remarks.
Days later though, Furlong’s personal website offered more remarks, including admission that he was employed at a Burns Lake school in 1969, a fact at odds with his autobiography which states that he came to Canada five years later.
Additionally, the Plaitiff’s side found it worthwhile to continue its controlled media offensive by publication this week of a statement from Furlong’s children, their mother Margaret, and their stepmother Gail, along with Furlong’s 11 grandchildren. For someone who claimed regret about the effects of this story on his family, it seems contradictory to bring minor children into the public forum.
Earlier, Furlong accused Laura Robinson of having contempt for authority figures in sport.
Well John, sometimes that contempt is earned.