Quarrel over bad food review leads to charges

Marisol Simoes leaves the Ottawa courthouse Monday, July 30, 2012. (MEGAN GILLIS/QMI AGENCY)

Marisol Simoes leaves the Ottawa courthouse Monday, July 30, 2012. (MEGAN GILLIS/QMI AGENCY)

MEGAN GILLIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:03 AM ET

OTTAWA - Talk about a lewd food fight.

A local restaurateur went on trial Monday on charges she sent lewd e-mails and set up a fake dating site profile targeting a customer who posted negative reviews online.

Marisol Simoes, 41, co-owner of Mambo and Kinki restaurants, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of the rarely laid charge of defamatory libel.

"I am open to anything - couples, threesomes and group sex," read the e-mail, purportedly signed by former customer Elayna Katz and sent to the CEO and 75-member board of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, where Katz works in human resources.

"Am especially into transsexuals and transgenders (being one myself). I am a handful in many ways and am a tiger in the bedroom."

The same words were in a profile - along with Katz's wedding picture - on an "adult" dating site under "men seeking men."

It was set up using an IP address registered to Simoes, a Bell representative testified, although she agreed it could be accessed remotely or by another user.

Katz testified that she and nine friends dined at Mambo in May 2009. Service was slow, she got a dish laced with olives despite telling the server she has an "intolerance" to them and the waitress was rude, she said.

Katz said she went to Kinki to let Simoes know what had happened but she wasn't there and didn't respond to two calls. They'd never met but had mutual acquaintances.

She posted a negative review on restaurantthing.com and there was an immediate reaction with posts using Katz's name and work address, calling her crazy and saying she should be locked up.

The "harassment" continued into 2011, she said.

But in July 2009, police called her to say she was banned from both restaurants for harassing staff.

In June 2010, the e-mails were repeatedly sent to people at her work.

"I was very ashamed," Katz said, adding the "emotional roller-coaster" continued when a friend alerted her to the dating site profile.

Katz demanded the operators of restaurantthing.com take down her personal information.

A letter posted on the site bearing Simoes' name complains of a customer's "vendetta" against Kinki and Mambo.

"I have been recently fighting back to prove a point to her and to hopefully scare her off," the letter states. "You will see that there is no end to this war. She has pushed me to my limits and I will not allow her to further damage the reputation of my businesses."

The trial continues Tuesday.

megan.gillis@sunmedia.com


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