HGTV Co-Host of 'The Unsellables' Exonerated on Criminal Charges
TORONTO -- Exonerated HGTV reality TV co-host Anthony Sayers is to bring a law suit for slander and defamation against Toronto police officers who arrested and jailed him in March, before he was freed on bail to answer criminal charges.
Sayer’s legal team issued a notice of intended action Wednesday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice a day after all remaining criminal counts against the co-host of The Unsellables from indie producer Cineflix Productions were dropped in a Toronto courtroom.
Sayers is seeking unspecified damages from Toronto Police Services, constable Tony Vella and detective Robert Ermacora, claiming they brought false charges and waged a “malicious media attack” against the HGTV TV host.
The legal suit alleges the Toronto police issued a March 14 press release announcing Sayer’s arrest two days earlier on extortion, fraud and criminal harassment charges stemming from contracting work his private contracting firm had completed on a downtown Toronto home.
“In addition to having a reckless disregard for the rights of Mr Sayers and his ability to earn a livelihood, the intended defendants intentionally used the news release as a sword to purposely harm Mr. Sayers,” the eight-page court document reads.
The March 12 arrest came as Sayers, who the suit contends had until then enjoyed a successful career as a “TV personality,” was about to start shooting the third season of The Unsellables in the southern U.S.
Cineflix producers have been casting for homeowners in the Savannah and Charleston markets, ahead of shooting six episodes of The Unsellables, before moving up to the New York and New Jersey states.
The HGTV series features Sayers and co-host Sophie Allsopp, a British real estate professional, attempting to de-clutter and stage homes for possible sales.
The third season production was tentatively slated to start April 18, apparently contingent on lawyers for Sayers resolving his Ontario legal troubles.
Those troubles started last March 4 when the legal suit states Sayers received a phone message from detective Ermacora urging him to come down to Toronto police 53 division to discuss a complaint received surrounding a contracting job that his company completed in February.
“Uh, this is sort of your last warning here, bud,” Ermacora allegedly said as part of a transcript provided.
“If not, I’m going to be taking out a warrant for your arrest and if you don’t come in then I’m going to be putting your picture in the news to true and locate you so, I don’t want to do that. I know you have a professional career and stuff like that,” the police detective allegedly continued.
On meeting with Ermacora, Sayers was immediately arrested, according to the suit.
That was followed by 53 division issuing a press release that included Sayers' mugshot.
The suit added Sayers was harmed by news of the March 12 criminal charges against the TV host being broadcast in the U.S. just as he was about to “star in a television show to be broadcast on the American HGTV network.”
The race to exonerate Sayers so he can join the third season production of The Unsellables ended Tuesday in court 503 at Old City Hall in Toronto when Crown Attorney Michael Callaghan asked Justice Wolski to withdraw three remaining fraud and criminal harassment charges against the TV host.
Crown prosecutors earlier withdrew an extortion charge against Sayers.
“I have a lot of work to do to get back the opportunities that were lost as a result of being labeled a criminal,” Sayers said Wednesday in a statement accompanying his legal suit.
A spokesman for Sayers’ legal team said The Unsellables co-host is “hopeful to participate in the continued success” of the reality TV series.
Executives at Cineflix Productions, which produces The Unsellables, were not available for comment at press time on Sayers’ status with the series, which also airs on HGTV Canada.