Barry Sherman was a shrewd businessman. An incredibly intelligent man, in 1958 Barry entered the University of Toronto’s Engineering Science program when he was only 16, saying he chose that program because he was told it was one of the hardest. He would remain the youngest person to be accepted into that program until 2016. He graduated from that program with honors and continued on to complete a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from MIT.
In 1974 Barry formed Apotex. Using money secured from the sale of his uncle’s business, Barry started a pharmaceutical empire. By 2016 Apotex would be one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Canada, employing over 10,000 people in 2016, and made the Shermans one of the most wealthy families in Canada.
Some of his friends described him as a generous man. And outside of business dealings, Barry and, to a larger extent, Honey Sherman were generous philanthropists. Honey was on the board of directors for several charities. The Shermans donated $50 million to the United Jewish Appeal and other Jewish charities, even though Barry considered himself an atheist. They also provided funds to build major additions to the geriatric Baycrest center and other community centers in Ontario. They were also major donors to the United Way, and they also would personally loan money to Apotex employees if they ever needed help.
Apotex themselves have donated over $50 million to disaster relief since 2007.
Barry had an intense focus on business, often spending holidays pouring over business documents while the rest of his family went about enjoying their vacation. But when it came to business, Barry was like a completely different person. Gone was the kind and generous man that would loan money to his employees if they got in a tight spot. What replaced him was a man that was completely ruthless and seemingly without remorse for his business dealings.
He was very shrewd in his business, and he knew business law well. One of his adversaries described him as “the only person I have ever met with no redeeming features whatsoever” and journalists reported that others used “unprintable” descriptions of his character. Called a “deplorable human being” in reference to his business practices by University of Ottawa law professors, saying he gouged the Canadian public with high medication prices.
Barry had an estimated 1200 cases against the government in Federal Court, essentially costing the Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars, due to his habit of responding to adverse regulatory decisions by suing the government agencies involved. Barry once even told employees that Apotex was mainly a legal company that sold medications on the side.
In 1996 The Shermans sued the contractors that built their new home in North York, filing more than 12 suits against the various people involved. Their complaint was that the garage, which had a tennis court on top with a basement lap pool and the hot tub was faulty. Barry described it as an absolute disaster. They would end up recouping most of the $2.3 million spent on the construction.
In 2011 Barry was sued by his cousin’s because Barry had used the sale of their late father’s company to buy Apotex in 1972, and they wanted 20% of Apotex or $1 billion. The cousins also believed that Barry intentionally withheld information of what their rights were as to the sale of their father’s business. This lawsuit ended up in the Shermans favor.
Barry had even jokingly stated that it would be easier for his rivals to “knock him off”. Barry wasn’t really exaggerating either. Barry Sherman was targeted by the Canadian wing of the Jewish Defense League, a group on the FBI’s terrorist list, and had been sued by Israel`s largest generic-drug maker, Teva. His competitors even considered planting illegal drugs in Barry’s car.
Barry was also involved with some shady business dealings outside of the Pharmaceutical business. He had a very trusting side and a few times got involved with people that took advantage of Barry’s generosity. “He always saw the best in people” and he was taken advantage of because of that. He backed a few companies that either turned out to be fraudulent or the people involved just took Barry’s money. It was a stark contrast to his normally astute business acumen.
One such man, Frank D’Angelo, partnered with Barry to make energy drinks. This venture failed spectacularly and cost Barry $100 million Canadian. Even so, Barry would still continue to financially back Frank with his next venture, filmography, even after Frank was arrested on sexual assault and obstruction of justice charges, although these were later dropped. Barry would end up funding 8 films for Frank.
Needless to say, even though considered generous people by their friends, the Shermans had a long list of enemies.
In December of 2017 cleaning staff and a pair of real estate agents, who had clients that wanted to view the Shermans house, discovered the bodies of Barry and Honey Sherman. Both of their necks were tied with leather belts to a metal railing around the pool. Barry was seated, his legs crossed, on the pool deck; Honey was on her side with a bruise on her face. Coats pulled down over their shoulders restraining their arms; they were facing away from the water and fully clothed.
Creepily, it looked like their assailant had arranged their bodies to resemble some figurines that were on display elsewhere in the Shermans home. There was no sign of forced entry, it looks like access was gained from an open window.
The Toronto Police indicated that they were investigating the idea that it was a murder-suicide. The Shermans family were quick to dismiss the idea, stating that Barry and Honey were likely to let someone into their home if they needed help. They publicly chastised the Toronto police and asked that they conduct a thorough investigation. Shortly after, the family hired private investigator Tom Klett, a retired Police Detective to investigate the deaths, Dr. David Chiasson, the retired chief forensic pathologist for Ontario, to conduct another autopsy.
On January 26, Toronto Police declared that the Shermans were likely killed in a targeted attack. The investigation was hampered at Apotex. “Legal complexities in some executions have been challenging given the litigious nature of Barry Shermans businesses, in particular, the search and seizure of electronics in Barry Shermans workspace at Apotex”.
In 2018 the family offered $10 million for information on the murders. The family once again criticized the police investigation and said that the police had missed critical information in the case.
As of right now, Toronto Police say they have an idea of what happened and have formed a working theory of events, but so far have not named any suspect in the murder of Barry and Honey. With the number of people angered over Barry’s business dealings, there would be a long list of people that could have wanted him dead.
I have a feeling that it might take a while before we have any answers in this case.
Thanks for reading.
See you next time.
Originally published at https://mysteryrepeatsitself.blogspot.com.