Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker. (THE NEWS/files)

New citations against former Pitt Meadows mayor by Law Society of B.C.

New allegations of professional misconduct by John Becker

Former Pitt Meadows mayor John Becker faces two additional citations issued by the Law Society of B.C., both alleging professional misconduct.

Citations are authorized by the law society’s discipline committee. They are a list of allegations against a lawyer to be considered at a discipline hearing. The allegations are unproven until a discipline hearing panel has determined their validity.

One citation, posted Feb. 5, says the law society will inquire into allegations that, between approximately November 2017 and Jan. 2018, when departing from a former employer, Becker failed to provide some or all of 199 clients “with the quality of service required of a competent lawyer by:

• removing the client’s corporate records from his former employer without their knowledge, instructions or consent;

• changing the client’s registered and records offices without their knowledge, instructions or consent;

• and failing to provide the clients with complete and accurate relevant information about the location of their corporate records.

“This conduct constitutes professional misconduct …” says the citation.

A second allegation, involving some or all of the 199 clients, says between approximately November and December 2017, “you failed to conduct yourself with integrity, honesty and candour by causing misleading correspondence … to be sent to the clients.”

The other citation, also issued on Feb. 5, alleges professional misconduct that occurred between November 2015 and July 2016, when he sent letters “which you knew or ought to have known contained untruthful or misleading information about you and Becker & Company’s trade-mark agent status …”

It alleges in between March and October 2016, in the course of an investigation into complaints against Becker, “you failed to respond fully and substantially to the Law Society of British Columbia, or you made representations to the LSBC that you knew or ought to have known were false or misleading …”

He is alleged to have stated, in a letter to the society dated March 16, 2016: “Becker and Company is qualified to handle trademark files and retains the appropriate certifications when he knew or ought to have known they did not have the appropriate certifications.”

He is also alleged to have stated his trademark registration was being renewed, and then in an April 22, 2016 letter that he was “in the process of renewing” his trademark agent status when he knew or ought to have known he had not yet submitted the applications, says the citation.

The law society also issued a citation about Becker on Sept. 25, with allegations that he “misappropriated or improperly withdrew or authorized the withdrawal of client trust funds … ” It also includes allegations of failure to deliver a bill and use of pre-signed trust cheques.

“As these matters are ongoing, I have limited ability to comment on specifics,” Becker said of the most recent citations.

“The law society has an obligation to investigate these allegations no matter how baseless I feel they may be. I look forward to finally having these allegations refuted through testimony under oath and cross-examination.”

Becker added that the citations are having a negative effect on his family, co-workers and business.

There are no hearing dates listed on the Law Society’s discipline hearings calendar for Becker.

Becker was voted out of office after one term as mayor in October 2018. He served for nine years as a councillor beginning in 2002.

The range of possible sanctions for a lawyer who has committed a discipline violation may include a reprimand, a fine up to $50,000, suspension or disbarment.

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