West Vancouver mayor committed ‘professional misconduct’, barred from practicing law for 2 years: LSBC

The mayor of West Vancouver has been barred from practicing his day job after he admitted to three instances of “professional misconduct” while practicing law.

The Law Society of British Columbia says Mayor Mark Sager cannot practice law for two years.

The misconduct is in relation to the preparation of a client’s will, the LSBC explains.

“Sager admitted to acting in a conflict of interest by causing the preparation of the will, in which he was named executor and trustee and received absolute discretion to use estate funds to travel to England when his client had not received independent legal advice,” the LSBC said.

“He also admitted to withdrawing $44,800.00, including taxes, in executor’s fees and $26,790.81, including taxes, in care and management fees from the estate funds prior to receiving approval from all of the beneficiaries or the court to do so.”

The society added that Sager “failed to maintain the required records in respect of the disbursement of estate funds and did not make or maintain contact with the residual beneficiaries for approximately nine years.”

Sager’s prohibition begins on April 1, 2024, and he has agreed to further conditions, the society says. These include not working as or in any capacity as a lawyer in B.C., and “not to act in any fiduciary roles arising from a solicitor-client relationship, and not to handle any fiduciary property as defined in the Law Society Rules.”

In a statement to CityNews, Sager says he will resign from his Law Society membership as of April 1 “and refocus my complete attention on our community.”

“When I was elected mayor, I committed to leaving my legal practice to devote all of my time to the important issues facing West Vancouver. Unfortunately, complaints to the Law Society delayed my resignation. Five of the eight allegations against me have been dropped and three minor issues have been settled,” he said.

It’s not the first time the lawyer has been found to have committed misconduct by the LSBC. In 2018, Sager was found to have “improperly” accepted a $75,000 gift from his godmother while writing her will. He was fined $20,000 by the society for that incident.

Sager was also the subject of a Port Moody police investigation, Elections BC confirmed to CityNews in November 2023, after allegations of “potential spending irregularities” were identified during a review of Sager’s 2022 election campaign.

With files from Cole Schisler

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today