The Calista Native Regional Corporation’s internal board battle ended up in court when it filed suit against its former board chairman, Col. Wayne Don. The case still has not gone to trial, but the nature of the suit has changed significantly.
Calista originally filed suit against three people, but is now down to just one defendant: Col. Wayne Don. The pre-trial maneuvers now include a countersuit, and a request for the judge to decide the case.
In December, Don’s attorney, Sam Fortier, filed a countersuit against Calista’s insurance company for failing to insure his client when he was Board Chairman. The suit claims that the insurance policy is supposed to protect board members from legal liabilities involving the corporation. Don and his attorneys maintain that he was acting properly and following board policies when he called a special meeting to look at Calista President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Guy’s handling of complaints about alleged sexual harassment and corruption on the part of George Owletuk, a Calista executive and friend of the CEO.
Don’s attorneys recently filed a motion for a summary judgement, asking Superior Court Judge Andrew Guidi to decide in his favor. Calista has until January 7 to respond. If the judge rules in Don’s favor, Calista will be in the interesting position of using its insurance policy to pay the legal costs of someone that the corporation itself has sued.
That’s not likely to happen quickly. Once Calista responds, Don’s attorneys have another week to address the issues raised by Calista before the clock starts ticking on the judge, who can take as many as six months to rule.
No matter who pays them in the end, it’s clear that this case is already accruing a lot of legal costs on both sides.