February 5, 2023

Saluti Law Medi

Rule it with System

West Van Mayor Mark Sager faces a B.C. Law Society citation.

Mark Sager’s quotation for alleged misconduct by the Regulation Society of British Columbia is negative, but even worse is how he attempted to disguise it, writes columnist Kirk LaPointe

West Vancouver Mayor Mark Sager is in what an aged manager of mine would deftly connect with “the shoo.”

Political scandals materialize not so considerably from what took place, but from how it was handled. This new Sager saga is a single he could have produced less difficult, before. Of his individual making, he has deepened a mess that raises significant questions of his character.

Lousy adequate that he was cited for alleged misconduct by the Law Society of British Columbia. Even even worse, much worse, is how applicant Sager tried using to cover it by petitioning the society on the eve of the municipal vote to continue to keep his name off the citation it was about to publish.

When the modern society temporarily granted his want in order to evaluation his ask for, it acquired Sager treasured time to campaign without having any publicity about the circumstance. Only final 7 days did the modern society publish the quotation and reject his ask for. By then, of course, he was mayor.

Sager, as the trustee on an estate of a friend, is accused of drawing cash from it in excess of a decade, investing some of its property in his wife’s investment firm, and not trying to keep right publications or paying taxes – all without the need of telling his close friend or ensuring his buddy also received the requisite unbiased authorized tips. To be fair, these are allegations, Sager claims they’re “inaccurate and unfair,” and we should really hold out right before passing judgment.

It is unneeded to hold out any more time, nevertheless, in passing judgment on how he dealt with the impending citation although trying to get business office. The alleged misconduct is not a excellent glimpse. But his ask for of the modern society – even while he was entitled to request – is a significant, undesirable odor.

Paperwork say Sager argued it would damage the community’s standing in Metro Vancouver, hinder the district’s hard work to negotiate positions on its a lot of boards, make tough his dealings with district employees associated in the investigation, and form a “significant distraction” from his perform to offer with media. He informed the culture the publicity would harm his mental overall health, “which he explained is already less than strain.”

There is a simpler interpretation: he was seeking to preserve his skin and would not risk what a citation would do to his election probabilities.

Weeks just after I moved to West Vancouver previously this year, many explained to me that Sager’s Regulation Culture scuffle in 2019 – a $20,000 wonderful and $20,000 in authorized prices for professional misconduct in a will for his godmother – would quickly be adopted with a different citation.

We predicted this would arise in the thick of the campaign. It did not come about, and now we know why: he made use of the rules to correctly rag the puck with the governing system until finally following the vote.

When he understood he’d missing his anonymizing argument with the culture and that it was about to publish the quotation last week, he determined to contact the CBC’s Justin McElroy to notify his aspect of the story.

McElroy is far too clever to produce a puff piece. He spelled out the citation at size. When Sager claimed he never charged the estate a penny, McElroy observed the citation says he drew $40,000 in executor fees and $24,113.25 in administration charges. It was not the vanity push the mayor sought.

Sager was blessed it has not been a bigger media concentration. It was a bad week for the mayor brand – a sexual assault charge from the former Kelowna mayor, and an Elections Act violation towards the previous Vancouver mayor.

Some free advice: the time to get out forward of the tale would have been in September, when Sager knew the citation was about to be printed. If he’d instructed his aspect of the story there and then, it could have afflicted the campaign (he gained by a considerable margin, however) but would have spared this new cloud more than him in workplace and thoughts of how he rolls.

His determined exertion to hold his name out of the information demonstrates he didn’t have confidence in the public to decide if unproven allegations from his profession’s governing system rendered him unfit for the mayoralty. To me, that states a lot and problems me a great deal extra than the allegations.

If he was so specified that disclosure of his identification would have posed a significant trouble for his mayoralty, and he is so particular that he’ll be exonerated, then he really should supply now to action down if the quotation is upheld.

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-main of BIV as well as vice-president, editorial, Glacier Media Team, the North Shore News’ guardian firm. He is also a West Vancouverite.