Saturday, December 16, 2017
Murder-suicide suspected in deaths of Toronto billionaire Barry Sherman and wife Honey
Officially, Toronto Police aren’t commenting on the tragedy — other than to call the deaths of one of Canada’s richest couples “suspicious.”
However, sources say police were working Friday night on the theory the demise of the billionaire Apotex founder and his wife, which has stunned the city and those who knew them, may have been a murder-suicide.
Sources close to the case believe Honey may have been killed in a secondary location in the $6.9 million Old Colony Rd. house and then moved to the location where she was later found with her deceased husband.
“Forensics need to be done and post-mortems on the bodies, but at this stage it appears there was no forced entry and no evidence of anybody else in the house,” a police source said.
Emergency responders found the pair hanging from a railing that surrounds lap pool inside the house southeast of Bayview Ave. and Hwy. 401.
Insp. Bryan Bott, who heads up the Homicide Unit, would not confirm or comment on the details of the case but he did tell the Toronto Sun “at this time we are not searching for any suspects.”
Bott said homicide detectives will conduct a full investigation and all avenues will be explored.
That said, police did not immediately find a suicide note and a search of the massive house, which will include reviewing of the home’s video surveillance system, was just beginning.
If autopsies and forensics change the scenario, a source close to the case said senior homicide officials will update the public.
Sources said Sherman — believed to be worth almost $5-billion — did not show up for work at Apotex Thursday, which did not immediately raise alarm bells.
A real estate agent, who was selling the couple’s house, went to the home and made the grisly discovery after she was unable to contact them to make an appointment for a showing.
Police tape surrounds the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.
It was a horrific day for the couple’s grown children, who apparently heard about the death of their parents through media and social media rather than police.
Meanwhile, there was an outpouring of grief from those who knew the Shermans.
“On behalf of all Toronto residents, I want to express my deepest condolences to the Sherman family,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“I am shocked and heartbroken to learn that Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead in their home today,” he said, explaining he has “had the privilege of knowing them both well for many years.”
“Barry and Honey were kind, good people who will be greatly missed,” Tory said. “The philanthropic and economic contributions they have made to Toronto put them in a class of their own.
“Toronto Police are investigating and I hope that investigation will be able to provide answers for all of us who are mourning this tremendous loss,” he added.
Postmedia CEO Paul Godfrey, who has known the couple for decades, described the Shermans as “a dynamic couple.”
“Barry was very reserved and not an outgoing person while Honey was outgoing and a leadership person who took command of situations,” he said.
“Barry could walk into a room, go and sit in a corner and no one would know who he was,” Godfrey said. “But when Honey walked into a room, she took over the room.”
Mostly they made sure charitable causes were funded.
“They gave a lot of money to charity,” said Godfrey. “They didn’t lead extravagant lifestyles even though they could have. Instead they gave millions of dollars to charitable causes to improve the quality of life of the people of Toronto.”
Godfrey described the Shermans as “the number one contact for Jewish people who had a cause” but also for charities outside the Jewish community too.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center President and CEO Avi Benlolo said the Shermans were “among the community’s philanthropic giants and have been incredible supporters of the organization.”
Police secured the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.
It was an eerie scene outside their sprawling mansion Friday night, with a For Sale sign on a front lawn covered in snow, the lights still ablaze and yellow crime scene tape surrounding the property.
Neighbours — some stopped by to drop off flowers for the much-loved couple – were clearly shocked by the gutwrenching news.
An unidentified woman delivered flowers to the home of Apotex founder Barry Sherman and wife, Honey Sherman, after they were found dead on Friday, December 15, 2017.
The coroner arrived late Friday to remove the bodies, which may have been in the home since Thursday.
Meanwhile, Apotex put out a statement saying the generic drug company was aware of “the tragic news that Barry and Honey Sherman have unexpectedly passed away.”
“All of us at Apotex are deeply shocked and saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.”
A steady stream of tributes poured in all evening.
“He was the best friend I ever had,” said a choked up entrepreneur, TV host and film maker Frank D’Angelo, who was a business partner of Barry Sherman.
“I have had a lot of calls but I don’t want to say anything until we understand what happened here,” he said. “I have no way to cope to tell you how I am feeling right now.”
Many who knew the couple were grieving in similar ways.
“Two weeks ago it gave me immense joy to present a Senate medal to one of the kindest and most beloved members of Canada’s Jewish community,” tweeted Senator Linda Frum. “Today I am gutted by the loss of Honey and Barry Sherman. Our community is steeped in grief. I am heartbroken.”
Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins tweeted he is “beyond words” to learn his “dear friends” were found dead.
Hoskins later sent out the following statement:
“I cannot begin to find the words to express my deep sorrow and profound sadness at the tragic loss of my dear friends, Barry and Honey Sherman. My wife, Samantha Nutt, and I deeply valued our friendship with Barry and Honey. They were generous philanthropists, kind and compassionate individuals, devoted to their family, their friends, their community, this province and this country. Their leadership and investments in health care leave a legacy we are all better for. They will be deeply missed, including by their Apotex family of more than 6,000 Canadian employees and their many friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends, colleagues and their Apotex family. Barry and Honey, may you rest in peace.”
The couple had also delved into political endeavours, including hosting an event for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and another with Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
But their first love was helping people.
“People I bumped into are in a state of shock tonight,” said Godfrey. “There will be a major hole in Toronto and in the Jewish community. People like the Shermans don’t come along every day.”
He said their passing has come as a surprise to friends and family since “they had everything to live for,” including their children, a new home they were planning to build in Forest Hill and a planned trip next week for Florida.
Instead all there is are questions about what happened here?
SHERMAN HAD THE Rx FOR MAKING MONEY
Barry Sherman’s glittering billion-dollar business career was bedevilled by a family dispute that spanned more than 50 years.
Sherman and his wife Honey were found dead Friday under mysterious circumstances in their sprawling mansion at 50 Old Colony Rd. near Bayview and the 401.
With an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion, Sherman’s business and personal dealings during his long career have courted wild success and controversy.
Born into wealth in 1942, he had a stellar academic career (entering the University of Toronto at 16 and later receiving his Doctoral degree from MIT).
His uncle Louis Lloyd Winter founded the pharmaceutical giant, Empire Laboratories, which would later become Apotex Inc. — Canada’s largest generic pharmaceutical company.
But when his uncle and aunt died in 1965, leaving their four children orphaned, the aspiring impresario was given the opportunity to buy the company from the executor.
Fifty years later that deal still leaves a sour taste in the mouths of Louis’s children, who feel they were cheated out of their inheritance. A judge tossed their lawsuit in September but they are appealing.
The Winter children claimed Sherman never gave them the royalties and opportunities they deserved. In court, they claimed he had failed in his “fiduciary duties.”
Sherman sold Empire in 1972 and started Apotex in 1973, which would make him a billionaire.
More recently, he orchestrated a boardroom coup over beer baron, aspiring movie star and late night talk show host, Frank D’Angelo. The ubiquitous D’Angelo was allegedly pushed upstairs at the brewery he founded by his financier friend, Barry Sherman.
Not surprisingly, Sherman’s 24-year-old son Jonathan took over.
In 2015, the Jewish Defence League picketed outside Sherman’s North York mansion because he was holding a fundraiser for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
In September of this year, Sherman asked the Federal Court to shut down an investigation into fundraising activities he helped organize for the Liberals.
The probe by Karen Shepherd, the federal Commissioner of Lobbying, was launched following complaints about two events. One was a $1,500-a-head private dinner with Trudeau that Sherman hosted on Aug. 26, 2015. The other was a Nov. 7, 2016, fundraiser featuring Finance Minister Bill Morneau for which Sherman was selling tickets for $500 apiece.
It’s estimated he donated more than $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal and millions more to other charities.
Sherman and his wife leave behind four children.
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