While this may not be the most fortunate of events, it highlights how karma, or whatever you want to call it, always prevails.
Eric Abramovitz is an up-and-coming musician had lost out on what he saw as the opportunity of a lifetime after his former girlfriend deleted an email regarding the scholarship he’d been working for most of his life. Fortunately for Abramovitz, this story has a happy ending.
After a long audition process, he performed live at Colburn for Gilad and was told he would find out if he was accepted within several months.
Unknown to him, he was accepted on a full scholarship, because his girlfriend at the time, named in the lawsuit as Jennifer Lee, also a student at McGill, intercepted the email in Abramovitz’s inbox.
The lawsuit alleges that there were only two spots for students in the elite program, and Abramovitz had aspired to land the scholarship so he could be learn from a clarinet professor who was named in the lawsuit as “one of the best clarinet teachers in the world.”
Pretending to be her boyfriend, she replied to the email, declining the life changing offer. In her reply to the Colburn admissions office, she explained that Abramovitz would be “elsewhere.”
She deleted the acceptance email, according to the court. Then, Lee sent an email to Abramovitz, claiming to be from Gilad. She created a false email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and sent an email telling Abramovitz he had been rejected at Colburn, according to the court case.
Instead, he could accept a position studying with Gilad at the University of Southern California where he also teaches, she reportedly said, but with a scholarship of just $5,000 per year. Lee knew that Abramovitz would have to decline that offer because the tuition was too high, the suit says.
Abramovitz stayed in Montreal and finished his music degree at McGill. He discovered the deception in September 2014 after his relationship with Lee had ended.
He sued Lee for damages including loss of educational opportunity and delay in the exercise of his profession.
He was awarded $350,000 in Canadian dollars ($265,000 in U.S. dollars) in damages. In Canadian dollars, that breaks down as $300,000 in general damages. “Since this is a default proceeding, I proceed on the basis that Ms. Lee has notice of a claim against her for that amount, which she has chosen not to defend,” the judge wrote.
The judge also awarded Abramovitz $50,000 for his girlfriend’s “despicable interference” in Abramovitz’s career.
The judge in the case, D.L. Corbett, had the following things to say:
“This was despicable conduct by Ms. Lee. It is sufficiently blameworthy to merit awards of punitive and aggravated damages.
In the statement of claim Mr. Abramovitz seeks general damages of $300,000 in Canadian funds, since this is a default proceeding, I proceed on the basis that Ms. Lee has notice of a claim against her for that amount, which she has chosen not to defend.”
After he figured out what happened, Abramovitz was eventually able to study with Gilad as a graduate student at USC. He is now associate principal/EB clarinetist at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
“To eventually have the opportunity to still work with (Gilad) was obviously my goal from the beginning,” Abramovitz explained in to Buzzfeed. “It happened two years later at a different school that obviously cost a lot more than Colburn would have cost, but luckily it wasn’t all bad in the end,” he said.
So what is the moral to this story?
Never share email passwords with anyone, and that includes your family and significant and especially not the insignificant others in your life. During the court proceedings, it became public that Abromovitz had granted Lee permission to use his laptop and even given her his passwords.
He is the victim in this case though, and the last thing we want to do is victimize him. It’s easy to become so infatuated with someone that you discard all logical thinking.
If you have something important you need to share, don’t rely entirely on email. A face-to-face meeting, especially if you were blessed with charm and charisma, can take you much further.
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