British Columbia

'I'm a big boy, I can manage this': Pitt Meadows mayor unfazed by dozens of misconduct allegations

John Becker, who is seeking a second term as mayor, has been accused of mishandling more than $6,700 in client cash in his job as a lawyer, as well as failing to bill clients properly and leaving dozens of blank, signed cheques with staff.

Improper billing among dozens of allegations against John Becker, who is seeking 2nd term

John Becker has been mayor of Pitt Meadows since 2014 and a practising lawyer since the early 1980s. (Facebook)

The mayor of Pitt Meadows has been accused of misappropriating more than $6,700 in his role as a lawyer, alongside dozens more instances of misconduct over several years.

John Becker, who has been mayor since 2014 and is seeking re-election this year, launched Becker & Company Lawyers nearly 40 years ago.

On Tuesday, the provincial regulator posted a two-page list of misconduct allegations against Becker dating back to 2011 — including the mishandling of thousands of dollars in client funds, improper billing and leaving five-dozen blank, signed client cheques unattended with his staff. 

The most recent charge accuses Becker of overbilling a client by more than $1,500 two years ago.

'I'm a big boy'

Reached by phone Thursday morning, Becker seemed largely unconcerned with the allegations.

"I have every confidence that, with these systems, my lawyer, my accountant, the hearing panel will have all of the information to determine that the allegations are unwarranted," he said.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker in 2015. On Tuesday, the provincial regulator posted a two-page list of misconduct allegations against Becker dating back to 2011. (CBC)

The mayor said his only worry would be for his wife, daughter and staff.

"I'm a big boy. I can manage this as an individual," he said.

"My concern was focused on those around me who believe in me and support me ... I apologized for putting them in the position of defending me, which they were quick to do."

16 years on council

Becker was first elected as a councillor in November 2002. He took an absence from city hall in 2011 and returned three years later, when he was elected mayor.

The incumbent announced his run for a second term last May. 

It's unlikely the allegations will be cleared or confirmed before voters in Pitt Meadows head to the polls on Oct. 20 — where they'll choose between Becker and challenger Coun. Bill Dingwall.

Dingwall declined to comment on the allegations against his opponent Thursday, saying he's focused on running "a positive, professional campaign."

Citations from the Law Society of B.C. list allegations against lawyers that will be heard at a discipline hearing. The accusations are unproven until a hearing panel says they're valid.

A hearing for Becker has yet to be scheduled. If proven, all of the allegations would constitute professional misconduct.

Becker said he had a full day on the campaign trail planned for Thursday. 

With files from Yvette Brend

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