I haven’t seen my old compadre Scott Murray since the Elmwood School for Girls With Ponies’ annual fundraising gala back in April, where we bumped swellies with le tout Rockcliffe, including, but not limited to: Arts correspondent-at-large Evan Solomon and Tammy Quinn, Great Malaysian-Canadians™ Sean and Jamilah Murray, Shopify elflord Harvey Finkelstein and Lindsay Taub.
Scott, a plucky arriviste from hardscrabble Manotick, is the bril’ supremo of biz consultantancy ClearPicture, “experts in survey, data collection and advanced analytics.”
As the company website explains: “As President and CEO, Scott sets the vision and direction for ClearPicture. He is responsible for bringing to life ClearPicture’s purpose of helping organizations continuously improve by revealing impactful connections within their stakeholder community.”
In any event, I was far keener to catch up with Scott’s delightful spouse, Christine Murray, past chair of the Elmwood Gala Committee. Who can forget her triumphant Studio 54-themed extravaganza in 2012? I approvingly quote the official blog of Elmwood headmistress Cheryl Broughton:
“From the moment I stepped past the velvet rope I truly felt like I had been transported to New York City circa 1979! What a great success Elmwood’s 23rd Annual Gala was from start to finish!
“On Saturday, April 21, Elmwood family, friends and prominent Ottawa business and community leaders were invited to the iconic Studio 54 nightclub, complete with disco balls, a dozen Andy Warhols and a lot of gold lamé! Every detail was sublime and everyone had a fantastic evening…
“None of this would be possible without the tireless work of the Gala Committee, chaired by Christine Murray. Thank you to Christine, Geneviève Audet, Audrey Bond, Peggy Cork, Lorie Derraugh-Casarramona, Nancy Greenley, Catherine McLaughlin, Arlie Mierins, Clare Nippard, Sean Norton, Jeannie Polisuk, Elizabeth Thompson, Joanna Todd, Sarah Wallace and all the other parents who contributed. Our heartfelt appreciation for all that you do.”
Alas, by the time Scott and Christine made the scene at this year’s gala, heartfelt appreciation was in rather shorter supply, given the hefty tab the Murrays have run up at Elmwood in ensuring a top-flight education for their utterly charming daughters, Tiffy* (Grade 9) and Muffy* (Grade 12).
After many a bounced tuition cheque, returned payment fee and final notice, the school was obliged to file suit against the Murrays in July for $40,819.42 in outstanding tuition and fees for 2016-17 and $24,350 for 2017-18, a grand total of $65,169.42. They claim they have not seen a dime from Scott and Christine since March 15.
“The Plaintiff has made several requests for payment from the Defendants including emails sent to the Defendants on June 6 and June 13, 2017. Despite numerous promises with respect to payments, the Plaintiff has not received any payment with respect to the outstanding indebtedness nor with respect to the remaining financial obligations of the Defendants herein,” pleads Elmwood legalist, Mark Josselyn (Gowling WLG).
Summa Summarum (“Highest of the High”) is both Elmwood’s motto, and a fair warning to parents. That $23,640 tuition bill is merely a downpayment on the costly but invaluable mission of moulding tomorrow’s ladies who lunch.
Account statements for Tiffy ($17,882.59) and Muffy ($22,936.83) reveal that much of the Elmwood Advantage is to be found in the extracurriculars (and the extra billings), whether for the $6 drama journal or the $930 trip to Washington, $90 for the archery and ropes course here, $40 for landscape painting materials there. It’s a trifling price to pay, bien sûr, for an experience that will last our Elmwood Girls a lifetime.
While the Murrays’ mounting bills are sans doubt the result of an innocent oversight, soon to be corrected, I fear Elmwood may have to get in line behind other creditors. Scott also received statements of claim this spring regarding outstanding legal billings from McMillan LLP ($14,698) and Brazeau Seller LLP ($25,000), the latter including work on yet another lawsuit settled last year with SyberWorks Inc. for alleged misuse of — and non-payment for — the U.S. company’s licensed software.
But it’s only money, and I’m sure we’ll all share a laugh about this at the next Elmwood Father-Daughter Ball.
(*Names changed to protect the indigent.)