Cyberbullying restaurateur gets jail time

Marisol Simoes avoids photographers by ducking into a car after being convicted at the Ottawa...

Marisol Simoes avoids photographers by ducking into a car after being convicted at the Ottawa Courthouse. September 6,2012 (Errol McGihon/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency)

Tony Spears, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:21 PM ET

OTTAWA - Vengeful restaurateuse Marisol Simoes got 90 days in jail Friday for a twisted online hate crusade against a dissatisfied customer.

It started with olives in the jambalaya.

Eating at Simoes’ Mambo restaurant in May 2009, Elayna Katz discovered her food was laced with diced olives, even after she told staff she had an olive “intolerance.”

Slow service and a rude waitress didn’t improve her experience, so she posted a negative online review.

In response, Simoes unleashed a series of “personal, vindictive, vicious attacks,” Judge Diane Lahaie said at Friday’s sentencing.

Simoes, 42, posted wedding photos of Katz on a “men-seeking-men” website that described her as a transgender “tiger in the bedroom.”

Simoes also impersonated Katz in e-mails to Katz’s colleagues.

“I am open to everything,” one e-mail read. “Couples, threesomes and group sex.”

Lahaie -- who had convicted Simoes of two counts of criminal libel earlier this month -- agreed with Crown prosecutor John Semenoff that jail was necessary.

“Ms. Katz suffered great heartache and shame,” Lahaie said.

“Cyber-bullying of this nature can drive people to more tragic endings than what happened here.”

She also gave Simoes two years of probation and ordered her to perform 200 hours of community service.

Simoes maintains her innocence, blaming a disgruntled ex-employee.

“We’re very disappointed in the outcome of the judge’s decision,” defence lawyer Henry Burr said outside the court.

“She’ll be considering all legal avenues, including appeal.”

Briny tears flowed after Lahaie’s sentence as Simoes hugged and kissed her supportive family one by one. Then cops escorted her to an elevator to be taken down to the bowels of the courthouse and to jail.

She will have to write a letter of apology to Katz.

“It’s sending a message,” said Katz outside the court.

And even though the apology will be forced, “it still gives me that little bit of closure,” she said.

Simoes owns two Byward Market eateries -- Mambo and Kinki -- with her husband of 13 years.

Supporters filed letters of support calling her a “generous fundraiser” and “a dedicated wife and mother.”

She was not, however, described as a “tiger in the bedroom.”

Katz, meanwhile, admitted her “intolerance” to olives isn’t medical.

“I just don’t like them,” the olive-hater said.

It should be noted chef Emeril Lagasse -- an authority on New Orleans cuisine -- eschews olives in jambalaya recipes posted online, even in his “Kicked-up Jambalaya.”

tony.spears@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasuntonys


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