Thursday, June 14, 2007


Erik Bornmann passed New York State bar exam in July 2006 but faces two more tests there


Basi-Virk trial

24 HOURS - June 14, 2007

Erik Bornmann, the subject of police allegations filed in B.C. Supreme Court that he bribed two provincial government officials involved in the $1 billion B.C. Rail privatization, has passed the New York State bar examination required to become a lawyer, 24 hours has exclusively learned.

Bornmann is the key Crown witness in the trial of ex-ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk. They face breach of trust and fraud charges for allegedly taking benefits to provide inside B.C. Rail information to Bornmann, then a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, one of the bidders.

But Bornmann could become a New York lawyer there if he successfully completes two more tests, says John McAlary, Executive Director of the New York State Board of Law Examiners.

"Mr. Bornmann passed the exam but he is not certified for admission," McAlary told 24 hours from Albany, New York. "He's not been admitted to the New York bar because he's missing his Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam."

"That ethics exam is required to be admitted," McAlary said. "He may have taken the test but not filed it with us."

McAlary said Bornmann must also be approved by the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division.

"The Appellate Division would do a background check and determine if he passed the 'good character' test," McAlary said.

When told by 24 hours of allegations that Bornmann bribed public officials, McAlary responded: "That would be unusual, even in New York."

Bornmann's lawyer George Macintosh declined to comment when contacted by 24 hours.

McAlary confirmed that Bornmann passed the New York exam in July 2006.

Bornmann left an articling law student position at the Toronto firm McCarthy Tetrault after 24 hours reported about it last year.

Bornmann also withdrew an application for admission to the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario prior to a 'good character' hearing scheduled for November 2006.

Bornmann's lawyer at the time had asked that the media and public be banned from that hearing or a publication ban be imposed.

Posted with the generous permission of Bill Tieleman


"The Appellate Division would do a background check and determine if he passed the 'good character' test," McAlary said.

When told by 24 hours of allegations that Bornmann bribed public officials, McAlary responded: "That would be unusual, even in New York."

You can run,
You can hide,
but ultimately . . . you're fried!
"That would be unusual, even in New York."

New York and Ontario are in the East, they are "civilized." Perhaps Mr. Many N's could practice the law, or what passes for the law, out here in BC, or the Wild West. Hang up a shingle and ask the Soup Nazi if it's okay. Out here in the Wild West the law is whatever Gordo and StoneWally say it is.

Mr. Ns, you should consider:

But in the Junior Liberal Gang Wars, were you in the same gang as the Basi Boys, or were you supplying dogs and corpses' names to the "other" candidate?

If you still want to Practice in New York, talk to Rudy "9/11" Guiliani, he seems to be very knowledgeable about that indistinct, murky, void zone where politics, the law, and organized crime meet.

Or maybe on the way to be called to the bar, you will be put behind bars, you know, bribing public officials used to be a criminal offense. I'm not sure what is and is not an offense under the Soup Nazi though - of course I think it depends on who is committing the deed also.

If politicians should happen to commit criminal offenses, that certainly is no reason to criminalize it?
I am no lawyer and certainly no friend of Eric's, but it would seem to me that calling someone's employer (or professional association) to inform them of "allegations" which have not been proven in court and for which a person has not been charged is a very stupid thing to do - especially when the stated purpose is malice.
anonymous 7:09,

I debated whether or not your comments are acceptable on a forum where accusations, insults and blame are rejected without hesitation.

In your case, I decided instead to ask what you think the role of responsible journalism is?

It's surely responsible for Bill Tieleman to go straight to the New York Law Society to confirm first-hand that Erik Bornmann had taken and passed the N.Y. State bar exam. You agree? Or, as I suspect, would you rather we all sat with hands folded, bags over our heads?

I'm not asking who you're trying to protect. I'm just asking.

It was surely responsible -- courteous, in fact -- for Bill Tieleman to expand upon the background to his question. He may even have been asked about it. A civil discourse, in other words, where information is being shared for public interest. After which Bill shared it with ... the public. Us.

So kindly explain your statement that "the stated purpose is malice" in this case?

If you can't answer that question in a fair and civil manner yourself, then I'll be voting you off my island at noon today PDT.


Anonymouse at 7:09, if you have a child and suspect that he/she has been sexually assaulted by his _________(doctor,dentist,teacher, etc.) be certain not to inform the appropriate association of the "allegations" until "proven" in a court of law. After all it would be malicious to deprive the (doctor,dentist, teacher etc.) of the opportunity to exploit your child until he/she is proven guilty in court.

If Professional Associations aren't informed of suspected bad behavior by their members, how can they perform oversight on the profession? Also, this may have changed in our modern world where right and wrong is whatever Gordo, Stephen or GeeDubya say, but Professional Associations used to consider acts to be against the Professional Codes that didn't necessarily rise to the level of conviction in a Criminal Court. In other words once upon a time, Professionals were expected to have higher standards than just being legal.

Now when politicians commit multiple felonies and/or war crimes, those who point that out are accused of criminalizing politics. The way I see it, the one doing the crime is doing the criminalizing, !

Suspected allegations?

The Bornmann situation seems to me quite different from the ones you've described. It's not a question of Bornmann being under suspicion. Bornmann himself has talked about the testimony he expected to give at the Basi Virk Basi trial. It's on the public record in B.C., but in New York, not so much I gather.

Disturbing enough is the idea that a respected journalist shouldn't ask for and/or provide basic information from the public record to a professional association.

Exactly BC Mary - the information disclosed to date speaks volumes of the ethics or lack thereof, in this case re: Eric & the key players. Any prospective employer would be grateful to be informed of this factual information in the public domain, albeit not New York's - yet!

Re: Robin's comment about Judge Bennett:

". . . . she didn't say "if they do not do so, or are found later not to have done so, I will cite them with Criminal Contempt of Court" . . . .

. . . hits the nail on the head. If she only orders but does NOT "cite" the person targeted by the order - that person is not compelled with the full force of the courts, to get their rear in gear & produce what is contained in the order.

There was another case, where a lawyer was ordered by the Supreme Court to return trust funds in the Eron Mortgage scandal where so many stakeholders took a bath; lives ruined, at the hands of corrupt bad boys. The lawyer was not cited by the courts irregardless that he never obeyed. This lawyer acted in the capacity as a Special Prosector during the period he & his law firm was ordered to return the trust fund monies. Does any of this pass the ethical test on all fronts?

A couple of years ago, this same lawyer, sadly for his family, committed suicide suffering long term depression . . . . one can only guess at the stress he was under in part, through his own actions. Was he functioning properly under these circumstances. It is sad however what about the peope affected e.g. What happened to those trust funds? As usual the victims were dumped on by the courts instead of being protected. Perhaps if the courts had done the right thing - it also would have helped this lawyer get his own life back on track.

Judge Bennett is not only being watched very carefully by her peers in Supreme Court, she has to answer to the general public. I am still naive enough to believe she might, just maybe search her soul & do what is in the publics best interests.

In the meantime, keep up the good work in holding everyone's feet to the fire with the truth.
BC Mary.

I don't have any issue calling the NY bar to determine if someone has passed the exam. Where I think the line is crossed is when the person then goes on to say "oh by the way, did you know there are allegations that XYZ is a crook".

I stated that the purpose was malice simply because the author of the article made a point of suggesting that a similar call to Ontario a couple of years ago resulted in a negative outcome for XYZ. My reading then is that the intent of the call may very well have been to determine XYZ's status with the bar, but also to raise doubt about XYZ's character with the purpose of denying him entry into the law society there.

Is XYZ a crook? He may very well be. I was only suggesting that nothing has been proven in court and that there were no charges against him so the author's actions may very well be deemed defamatory. The defence that the author was a journalist and only repeating what he had heard or read elsewhere may or may not be valid.

Kootcoot suggested that if I or anyone else thought that a child may have been abused then I should inform an authority and name the person I suspected of the abuse. I can't disagree with the logic but the fact remains that without sufficient grounds to accuse someone of a criminal act then right or wrong the individual may very well have recourse if the allegations are proven to be false and it was determined that there was a history of bad blood between us.
Nicely argued, Anon. Your thinking, as you've described it here, expands this conversation. Thanks for that.

Bill Tieleman did, you'll note, carefully refer to Erik Bornmann at the top of his article as "the subject of police allegations" ... which I think you'll agree, is absolutely fair and correct. In fact, I'd say you won't find a more careful or ethical journalist than Bill.

Unfortunately, I think you are searching for a way in which to cast blame, which imo fatally weakens your argument. You can't blame Bill Tieleman for "a similar call to Ontario a couple of years ago" ... no way.

The Law Society of Upper Canada was apprised of Bornmann's role as understood at that time, in the form of sworn affadavit(s) from Gary Gibson in Vancouver, a retired UBC professor of Dentistry. I understand it was a complaint which the LSUC has sealed, postponing Bornmann's hearing for admission, until after the B.C. Rail trial is concluded. All very proper.

Bornmann's story is already on the court records in pre-trial procedings. Erik Bornmann is one of the key witnesses for the prosecution. Not hearsay. Not malice.

The big question I have is: why didn't these two law societies (Ontario and N.Y.) do their due diligence and check Bornmann for themselves?

Seems to me it should've occurred to these very particular professional associations to ask around, especially as to why wasn't this applicant seeking admission in his home province where he got his law training?

What's your take on that, anon?

Anon, anon, all criminal convictions at some point begin as "allegations" that weasel word that journalists learn to use or suffer risks at their own peril. Myself I have taken it a step further, Mary, "suspected allegations" are even more sanitized of any possible libel or implied malice.

As to informing the New York Bar of events, statements, pending charges etc. that affect the so called character of an applicant to their bar association, not only is that act without malice or libelous intent, but indeed is almost the duty of a citizen with an iota of sense of social responsibility. Let us not forget that we are not discussing unfounded rumors here, we are talking about (as far as we can tell, thanks to the lack of transparency in the Justice System of BC) a self confessed bribe giver, who is trying to cop a plea to avoid an opportunity to use his photographic hobby from the "inside" of the penal system.

Now if Mr Many N's should live up to his "top-secret" immunity deal, it may be appropriate to let him remain unfamiliar with the "inside" of the "big House." However I for one, don't think that turning crown's evidence to avoid felony charges rises to the character level that should be required to practice law, anywhere in North America. Now if Mr. Many N's would like to apply to the bar in the United Arab Emirate or Brunei(assuming that is what we call Burma this week), I won't mention his ethical and/or legal shortcomings to them - since I never intend to expose myself to the "legal" system in either jurisdiction.

BC Mary performs a public service with the Legislature Raids Blog (not the least of which is by keeping me reading and writing here, keeps me from offending people at House of Infamy.

Happy Father's Day LedgeHeads!
Mary, your most recent comment does a really good job of pointing out the flights of fancy and lack of logic in anons "argument," which word we will use for lack of a better one. Sometimes I wonder if some people ever read what they (themselves) write, much less what anyone else writes? Then if they do (read either), the biggie question, do they comprehend?

You make many good points, esp. "why don't these bar associations look into why their boy is applying so far from home (where the heart is and where any questionable deeds may have been done)? Of course Mr. Many N's showed some cleverness in picking Ontario and New York in particular, because each of those places (thinking they are the "center of the known universe"), find it natural for everybody else to be want to come there (NY and Ont, take note, not I, except for a vacation or holiday). I mean I've spent an enjoyable couple of weeks in Thunder Bay already, what more could Ontario have to show me? New York? I'll leave it to Rudy, Hillary and the Terra-ists.
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