Disgraced residential schools lawyer allowed to resign

By Kathleen Martens
APTN Investigates

WINNIPEG – A Calgary lawyer is being allowed to resign instead of being kicked out of the legal profession.

David Blott is scheduled to give up his right to practice in Alberta on Friday, June 13. The move is in lieu of a disciplinary hearing where Blott could be disbarred for financially exploiting residential school survivors.

Legal officials say a resignation means the same thing as a disbarment but not to Kelly Busch of  Saskatoon. Busch was one of the form-fillers indirectly employed by Blott to find and obtain residential school compensation information from survivors.

“A disbarment is not the same as resigning,” a disappointed Busch said over the phone. “It’s almost like letting him take the coward’s way out.”

Busch was one of two whistle-blowers to expose the Blott operation in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which involved wrongly charging survivors for filling out their residential school compensation forms, wrongly providing loans at exorbitant interest rates in advance of compensation payouts, and overcharging for legal work — along with other financial and legal misconduct.

Blott represented more than 5,000 survivors in the program called the Independent Assessment Process (IAP). It compensates former students for the most serious abuses at the government-mandated and church-run schools that operated for nearly 100 years across Canada. Blott and his associates earned several million dollars from IAP clients.

Lawyers earn fees of up to 30 per cent on each file.

Most of Blott’s clients came from the Blood Reserve in southern Alberta, where social worker Jo-Anne Hansen uncovered what was happening.  The inside information she and Busch revealed led to a $3.5-million investigation into Blott’s conduct that saw a B.C. Supreme Court judge kick him out of the IAP and take away his remaining lucrative files. That was nearly three years ago.

They both say Friday’s hearing of the Law Society of Alberta in Calgary is bittersweet.

“I feel they’re letting him walk away without any discipline,” Busch said. “What is the law society for? Is it a body to discipline lawyers for misconduct?”

“We’ve waited years for this,” Hansen added. “They (the law society) started getting complaints years ago. Allowing him to take this route is a cop-out.”

A copy of a notice about the hearing obtained by APTN Investigates says: “Mr. Blott will be applying to resign from the legal profession in the face of discipline.”

It goes on to say the law society’s investigation is complete and its resignation committee will hear Blott’s application for resignation in a public forum.

The law society declined to comment at this time. Spokeswoman Ally Taylor says a notice will soon be posted on the organization’s website regarding Friday’s matter.

 

Online Journalist / Winnipeg

Award-winning reporter Kathleen Martens covers western and northern Canada for aptnnews.ca. A veteran of the Brandon Sun, Sun Media and APTN Investigates, she is based in APTN’s head office, specializing in stories about property, women’s rights and community.

1 thought on “Disgraced residential schools lawyer allowed to resign

  1. I feel sorry for all residential school survivors, they were children when all the attroceties were done to them but again the Gov’t has allowed them in there adult life to be humiliated and screwed again. These lawyers are leeches living off the poorest of the poor in this INDIAN country. Harpoon u snould be proud to be part of this boondogle. Do not just blame a few lawyers it is all who participated in this license to steel Law society wake up.

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