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THE SCOOP | TSO's Ex-CEO Struggles After Ongoing Negative Media Coverage

By Michael Vincent on January 23, 2017

Eleanor McCain and Jeff Melanson (Photo via Twitter)
Eleanor McCain and Jeff Melanson (Photo via Twitter)

Since Jeff Melanson unceremoniously stepped down from his role as President and CEO of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra last March, the ongoing media coverage has taken a toll on the embattled impresario.

A 2016 November court filing released late last week states that Melanson has been struggling to find work due to what he claims is the result of negative press. The filing states that the media coverage has made him “a less than attractive candidate” for potential employers.

Melanson’s filing also stated that he is no longer capable of personally funding the ongoing litigation costs (exceeding $200,000) arising from his legal battle with Elanor McCain. The dispute, which started in March 2016, involves the annulment of their marriage and prenuptial agreement.

Melanson accused McCain of purposefully stalling the legal proceedings as a way of exhausting his financial resources. His court filing has requested that McCain contribute funds to help cover his legal costs; he may otherwise be forced to withdraw from the proceedings, resulting in his being “deprived of access to justice.”

McCain’s lawyers responded by scrutinizing Melanson’s need for interim payments, and used examples of “extensive” vacations to back their case.

According to the National Post, Melanson has visited over 32 different cities and towns across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico since Aug. 27, 2016. The court filing included travel photos posted on Melanson’s social media pages, which include images of him lounging at his family cottage with his partner Caroline Márkos.

In a subsequent statement by Melanson, the photo was actually sourced from his family cottage and was obtained from his mother’s personal Facebook page. He said the visit was, “for my father’s birthday.” He also said that besides a few family trips for the holidays, the purpose of the travel was to apply for jobs.

Ex-TSO CEO Jeff Melanson on vacation with partner in Mexico. (Photo via court filing)
Ex-TSO CEO Jeff Melanson on vacation at the family cottage. (Photo via court filing)

Since leaving the TSO, he has reportedly been living off his severance package received from the orchestra, which McCain’s legal team claims was approximately $420,000.

On January 11, Melanson started writing a weekly arts-oriented business column for the Huffington Post. He has also created a personal website, likely to aid him in his search for employment.

This story will continue this Thursday, January 26, when the court reconvenes.

[Update –  Jan. 23, 6:00 p.m. EST: A previous version stated the photo was taken in Mexico. It was in fact taken in on while Melanson was visiting his family cottage in Manitoba. The article has also been updated to include further information as to context behind Melanson’s travel.] 

For more CLASSICAL MUSIC NEWS, visit HERE.

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is Publisher of Ludwig Van. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. He has worked as a senior editor over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
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