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Former SAO of Norman Wells, N.W.T., says she's broke due to ongoing legal battle with town

The courthouse in Yellowknife. Catherine Mallon is currently representing herself in her ongoing defamation case against the Town of Norman Wells, where she served as SAO from 2015 to 2018. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)
The courthouse in Yellowknife. Catherine Mallon is currently representing herself in her ongoing defamation case against the Town of Norman Wells, where she served as SAO from 2015 to 2018. (Robert Holden/CBC - image credit)

The former senior administrative officer (SAO) of Norman Wells, N.W.T., says she's "out of money" as she continues to pursue a defamation case against her former employer.

Catherine Mallon is currently representing herself in her ongoing defamation case against the Town of Norman Wells, where she served as SAO from 2015 to 2018.

Following her tenure, she and former mayor Nathan Watson were sued by the town, which alleged the two had conspired to defraud the community of $1.26 million.

Mallon filed a $2.57-million countersuit in 2021, which was later dismissed.

The town later dropped its civil lawsuit against Mallon and Watson in 2023, but agreed to pay their legal expenses.

According to court documents, Mallon's lawyer said he completed $200,000 worth of work defending her from the town.

The former SAO has maintained her innocence throughout, and continues to seek damages, claiming the public exposure from the case has made her essentially unemployable.

Counsel for the Town of Norman Wells now says Mallon's current statement of claim lacks specificity, and is requesting particulars.

During a court appearance by phone on Friday, Mallon said she's now broke, citing years of legal fees.

The statement came after Justice Karen Shaner recommended Mallon seek bundled legal advice before drafting the next claim.

Mallon told the judge she would "try her very best" to have it completed by late February, but followed with a request for an extension.

The judge granted a possible extension to March 14, if Mallon could provide reasonable grounds for needing it.

Norman Wells Mayor Frank Pope told CBC News the town was receiving a briefing on Mallon's claim Friday afternoon, but provided no further comment.