Lawyer sus­pended

CMT ter­mi­nates John Find­lay, who is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds in On­tario

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing com­pa­nies su­ing the P.E.I. gov­ern­ment over the prov­ince’s failed In­ter­net gam­bling scheme has been sus­pended and is un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for al­leged mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds in On­tario.

John W. Find­lay, the lawyer for Cap­i­tal Mar­kets Tech­nolo­gies Inc. (CMT) and 7645686 Canada Inc., has been sus­pended from prac­tis­ing law by the Law Society of Up­per Canada.

He is now un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for $1.5 mil­lion miss­ing from a class ac­tion set­tle­ment fund for res­i­dents and busi­nesses af­fected by a protest in 2006 in Cale­do­nia, Ont.

Find­lay’s law firm, Find­lay McCarthy PC, in­formed claimants in a no­tice on May 29 the money, which he was hold­ing in trust, has been spent and he was “un­able to re­plen­ish these funds.”

He of­fered no rea­son about how or why the money was gone, but did say he had filed a self-re­port­ing com­plaint to the Law Society of Up­per Canada.

Find­lay has been the le­gal coun­sel for CMT in the ‘egam­ing law­suit’ that has been wind­ing its way through the Supreme Court of P.E.I. for more than a year.

CMT pres­i­dent Paul Maines says Find­lay was ter­mi­nated im­me­di­ately af­ter he learned of Find­lay’s le­gal trou­bles in On­tario, but stressed this has no bear­ing on his own le­gal case.

“We’re shocked,” Maines said Mon­day.

“It’s un­for­tu­nate for him (Find­lay), but ob­vi­ously we’re not part of that mat­ter.”

The miss­ing money in On­tario was the last re­main­ing amount in a $20 mil­lion set­tle­ment paid out by the On­tario gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing a class ac­tion law­suit filed by Find­lay’s law firm.

It stemmed from an oc­cu­pa­tion in 2006 of a con­tro­ver­sial hous­ing project by mem­bers of Six Na­tions, who said it was their land. The oc­cu­pa­tion lasted months and re­sulted in some in­juries and prop­erty dam­age. The prov­ince agreed to the set­tle­ment in 2011 for over 700 res­i­dents, busi­ness own­ers and con­trac­tors.

Most of the money had al­ready been dis­trib­uted, but the courts or­dered $1.5 mil­lion to be held back pend­ing any sub­se­quent claims. It’s this $1.5 mil­lion that Find­lay now says is gone. His May 29 email to the law society re­port­ing the miss­ing money was in­cluded in court doc­u­ments filed as part of a law society tri­bunal hear­ing held last month.

“I have used the hold back funds and I was not able to re­plen­ish the funds,” Find­lay wrote.

“My part­ner Mar­garet McCarthy had no knowl­edge of this. Nor did the fi­nal ad­min­is­tra­tor of the fund, whom I have just in­formed.”

Ac­cord­ing to an af­fi­davit filed by a foren­sic ac­coun­tant ap­pointed by the Law Society of Up­per Canada, Find­lay tried to re­sign as a lawyer when in­ves­ti­ga­tors ar­rived at his of­fice on May 31. He was told he could not do so dur­ing an ac­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

He also did not pro­vide some of the fi­nan­cial doc­u­ments re­quested and would not say what hap­pened to the money, say­ing this could re­veal in­crim­i­nat­ing in­for­ma­tion and there­fore he needed to con­sult with a crim­i­nal lawyer.

That in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing. Mean­while, Maines says he had a “tremen­dous amount of in­ter­est” from other law firms to take his e-gam­ing case, and has re­tained John W. MacDonald from MacDonald, Ross Bar­ris­ters & Solic­i­tors, based in Cam­bridge, Ont.

MacDonald’s back­ground in spo­li­a­tion cases and those in­volv­ing de­struc­tion of doc­u­ments made him par­tic­u­larly well suited for the e-gam­ing case, Maines added.

CMT and 7645686 Canada Inc. filed a new state­ment of claim against the P.E.I. gov­ern­ment and eight other par­ties in the P.E.I. Supreme Court in March, seek­ing dam­ages of $50 mil­lion for al­le­ga­tions that in­clude mis­fea­sance in a pub­lic of­fice by sev­eral of the de­fen­dants. It is the sec­ond state­ment of claim filed by the com­pa­nies, af­ter the first was struck out last year.

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