Ontario lawyer accused of misconduct on residential school claims
Doug Keshen to be called before Law Society of Upper Canada tribunal
A lawyer from Kenora, Ont., is alleged to have transferred thousands of dollars from residential school clients to himself.
Doug Keshen is to appear before a Law Society of Upper Canada tribunal on June 30 where he is accused of professional misconduct.
The allegations relate to Keshen's work between 2003 and 2012 when he was acting on behalf of residential school survivors.
- Doug Keshen's residential school disbursements raise questions
- Kenora Lawyer Doug Keshen under investigation
Among the allegations contained in the Law Society's Notice of Application:
- he failed to meet with 12 residential school clients prior to the execution of their retainer agreements
- he failed to properly interview 12 residential school clients to advise them on appropriate courses of action
- he failed to review the applications for compensation for 12 residential school clients before submitting them
- he advanced money to 17 residential school clients and facilitated high interest loans from a company (Settlement Lenders of Canada, Inc.) to nine residential school clients. The loans were secured against their anticipated settlement funds, which is prohibited by the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement
- approximately $45,000 in settlement funds from 17 residential school clients were transferred from his trust account into his general account without any legal entitlements to the money
- he transferred approximately $21,000 from the settlement funds of three residential school clients to himself
- he prepared a power of attorney for a vulnerable residential school client without ensuring he was capable
- he transferred more than $100 thousand from a residential school client's settlement funds to that client's attorneys "when it was apparent that all of the monies transferred were not for the benefit of [the] client."
None of the allegations have been proven.
The court monitor for the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement investigated Keshen last year after complaints from four clients that they had received thousands of dollars less in settlement payments than they were issued.
At that time, Keshen told CBC News that he had done nothing wrong.
"Not in one instance did I receive a personal benefit," Keshen said in a June 2014 interview.