TORONTO (Reuters) – A Toronto-based publisher said Ontario's finance minister is seeking legal action against Patrick Brown over allegations made in a book by the former conservative leader.
Dean Baxendale said on Wednesday that Vic Fedeli's lawyers demanded a full retraction of allegations of sexual misconduct committed in "Takedown: The Attempted Political Assassination of Patrick Brown," published in November.
Baxendale said he and Brown were served with a slander statement – which could be the first step in launching a lawsuit.
Brown, who stepped down as party leader last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct he denies, portrayed himself in his book as the victim of a conspiracy led by conservative senior officials.
The book also made accusations against several key members of the Tory administration, including Fedeli, whom Brown said he faced charges of "inappropriate behavior" by a party official in December 2017.
Brown wrote that the charges "were nothing I could imagine being consistent with the character of Fedeli," but that he could not disregard them and told Fedeli that he would investigate the matter. Brown claims that when he spoke to the complainant, she asked that the matter not go forward.
Fedeli said at the time that the allegations were "categorically false and without any merit."
Baxendale said the retraction demanded by Fedeli would hurt the whole book. He said he has responded briefly to the minister's lawyers, but is planning a broader response.
Brown, who became mayor of Brampton, Ontario, was not immediately available for comment.