The bar mitzvah from hell

I was wondering why this short, confusingly-written and apparently factually incorrect 940 News story was getting posted to local blogs, until I noticed someone posted it to Fark. CBC has a better story here.

The original story from three years ago isn’t online anymore, but apparently Mr. Neumann, a pediatrician, sued the city for $70,000 (the city settled for $20,000 — the estimated cost of the party was $30,000, which is about what the judge awarded him) after the ruined party, which included these highlights (according to the lawsuit, since the janitor hasn’t come forward with his side of the story):

  • The janitor (who for some reason the English media refuses to name) arrived in the afternoon and started helping himself to the open bar.
  • Having a few drinks in him, and for reasons we can only guess, he took all the ice prepared for the party and stashed it in a locked freezer, offering to sell it back to them. Instead, the grandfather sent his son out to deps to get bags of ice.
  • His brilliant plan foiled, the janitor took out all the toilet paper and paper towels and disappeared (or simply refused to restock the bathroom, depending on what news report you believe).
  • People got stuck in an elevator, with the janitor still missing (CBC says the janitor refused to call 911). They called the fire dept., who freed the trapped people, and then a firefighter got stuck in the elevator himself.
  • Janitor comes back later and announces that the party ends at midnight (though the hall was reserved until 2am).
  • Piano player collapses from a heart attack. The janitor “seemed confused” about finding a phone or first aid kit. The Neumanns, being rich West Island doctors, successfully revive the heart attack victim. (The 940 story erroneously says that lawyer Jordan Charness was performing CPR instead of the doctors).
  • Everyone leaves, disgusted.
  • The city sends an insurance adjuster to take a claim, then promptly ignore the entire matter send a letter accusing the Neumann boy of not being Jewish, causing Neumann to file suit.
  • The janitor, who had been disciplined before, is fired.

Interesting trivia here: Jordan Charness, the Neumann’s lawyer, is a driving columnist for The Gazette.

UPDATE: The Gazette finally got its own story on the bar mitzvah from hell this morning, and it includes our fourth figure to date: $27,000. Fortunately they explain that it’s $22,000 plus interest, which makes the most sense out of the figures given so far. It also includes such contradictory information as suggesting the janitor threatened to lock everyone out at midnight (instead of locking them in as previous stories said), and adds that:

  • The city offered an apology a month before the case was heard — four years after the incident. Neumann would have none of it.
  • Neumann says he’s donating the money to charity, because it was the principle that mattered.

4 thoughts on “The bar mitzvah from hell

  1. Fagstein Post author

    Ah the Journal. Right up their alley.

    And now there’s a third set of conflicting information. Why are there three different figures for how much the city was fined?

  2. Jordan W Charness

    For the record.There was no settlement. The judge ruled in favour of the Neumans and ordered the city to pay close to $30,000 including interest and costs.
    Jordan W Charness


Leave a Reply