PC MPP accused of blocking Law Society probe into allegations of professional misconduct
PC MPP Goldie Ghamari’s lawyer’s licence is at risk following claims that she failed to cooperate with a Law Society of Ontario investigation into allegations of professional misconduct.
According to the Law Society’s draft order and sworn affidavits, a former client of Ghamari’s filed a complaint alleging that he paid her a $9,500 cash retainer in 2017 to help him pursue a real estate-related claim. He argues she didn’t fulfill the terms of the retainer.
The unnamed complainant alleged that he hired Ghamari to file a conflict-of-interest complaint with the Real Estate Council of Ontario regarding a restaurant he purchased, but she “did not keep him informed or provide him with any updates about his case.”
In response to a Law Society investigator, Ghamari said she filed the initial complaint with RECO — and provided emails to back it up — but then she told the client she could no longer represent him because she was throwing her hat in the political ring.
“I indicated to him that I will only help him prepare his case and that he will have to follow up with RECO on his own,” Ghamari states in the document. “I explained to [the client] that I can no longer represent him as I am focusing entirely on my political aspirations.”
The LSO says it had trouble wrangling answers and documentation from Ghamari for well over a year. Now, the regulatory body’s tribunal wing will determine if that warrants suspending her licence.
“The respondent has failed to cooperate with a Law Society investigation by failing to respond promptly and completely to the written requests of Law Society Investigation Counsel,” the order states. That goes against the Law Society Act and professional conduct rules.
Ghamari said she’s been cooperating with the investigation.
“I have been working through the legal process with the Law Society since it was first brought to my attention and look forward to resolving this so that I can continue to focus on what matters most: helping the people of Carleton get through this global pandemic,” Ghamari said in an email to Queen’s Park Today.
Ghamari was already administratively suspended by the LSO for not paying fees, meaning she isn’t allowed to practice or provide legal services.
A suspension order from the tribunal would bar Ghamari from practicing law until she provides all the outstanding information. She would also have to pay the LSO $9,663 to help cover costs, and a $2,000 fine. The tribunal hearing is slated for January 22.
Legal experts say failing to provide requested documents is one of the most common reasons lawyers end up in front of the tribunal. It’s “one of the least sexy ways to get in trouble,” said one source with knowledge of the proceedings.