More complaints about residential school lawyer

By Kathleen Martens
APTN Investigates

More Indian residential school survivors have come forward with accusations against an Ontario lawyer.
The 21 survivors from a northwestern Ontario First Nation join more than a dozen others who allege Doug Keshen of Kenora mishandled their residential school compensation claims.
The allegations form part of an ongoing professional misconduct probe by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Keshen, a veteran lawyer with deep experience representing Aboriginal interests, told APTN Investigates earlier this year he did everything he could to help his clients and they received their full compensation payouts.
However, while reviewing his work with survivors between 2003 and 2012, the society says it uncovered alleged improprieties suggesting Keshen may have shorted some clients and also wrongly paid himself with a portion of their funds.
It is further alleged, the society says, that some survivors didn’t receive legal bills from Keshen and some didn’t know how much he was earning from representing them.
A few of the new complainants allege Keshen arranged for high-interest loans against their payouts, a move forbidden by the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Keshen, in at least two previous interviews with APTN, said he didn’t know that was against the rules. And, he said he did not benefit personally from these cases.
Most of the survivors say Keshen didn’t interview them before their compensation hearings and didn’t personally stay in touch with them.
None of the allegations have been proven and will be heard by a society tribunal next year. A portion of the hearing will be held in Kenora, the society says.

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.