DONNA LAFRAMBOISE (ďDLĒ) AND [Tim] ADAMS (ďPAĒ)
DL:††††† Hello may I speak to Mr. Adams?
DL:††††† Hi, itís Donna Laframboise.
PA:††††† Oh, hi.
DL:††††† How are you?
PA:††††† Oh, not too bad.
DL:††††† Um, Iím glad I caught you, I just have about 30 minutes and then I have to leave, but um, is this a good time to chat?
DL:††††† Great. You, your um, ! also want to assure you that you were on my list of the many people to call.
DL:††††† So um, I was going to get to you, so I'm glad we reconnected today.
DL:††††† Um, I, I am ah with the National Post as you probably know.
PA:††††† Yeh, yeah Iíve read a bunch of your work.
DL:††††† And ah, we are doing a story on ah on your election last week and the reason itís considered news is because ah if the Red Cross or ah the local gym, you know if it was ah if it was YMCA gym ah elected someone as Vice-President who ah had† your background it would be news and unfortunately itís news if its a non-custodial parents rights group as well.
††††††††††† of the time.† [In print, only 'I'm not a non-custodial parent' was reported, which doesn't even say
††††††††††††††† that he is a parent, and says nothing about the amount of parenting time he was awarded.]† †[Next]††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† GG00515
DL:††††† Well good for you.
PA:††††† Um, and thatís my primary concern, is that my children donít need to, to see this in the paper.
DL:††††† Well, um, I donít know what to say um you know you ran for this position and you were elected for the position and that becomes news.
DL:††††† Um, you know were, we are not making the news we are reacting to it.
DL:††††† Um, if what you are telling me is that you resined, um then you know my editor is probably going to tell me there is no story anymore, um but if, if um thatís not the case then you know I donít know what to say.††††
[As seen from all preceding words, he wasn't telling her any such thing--his resigning was her idea.]
PA:††††† Right. Um, yeah that, that might be my position, um but um you know there, thereís some larger issues here, um with respect to um, is, is that the only issue youíre writing about or I understand thereís others. [As we've seen, to the president the reporter
later demanded his removal
from ECMAS, not just from office--but said nothing to
DL:††††† Oh, you do, well. Well um the article is, is in itís um *, um Iím in the information gathering stage at the moment, um we have a thesis a working thesis wether this thesis will end up being um supported by the information we gather or not remains to be seen, the thesis is that um that um someone with a unsavoury background is, is an official in a community organization. A community organization with long and honourable history, um but at this recent election um *******.
DL:††††† Thatís our thesis.
PA:††††† Oh I see, ok, well from that,† that point of view um you know you can ah you know†† I obviously, my, my children come first and they donít need to read about this so if um thatís the decision I have to make I consider it made.
DL:††††† Okay.† Well ah, ah um.† Let's be careful, sorry I, I, let's step back a minute cause,†† I, I don't want to be in the position that in any, in any way w[h]ere you think that I'm telling you what to do because I'm not, what I am telling you is that what happened last week is news.
DL:††††† If you are telling me that the situation is, has changed or if you were to tell me then,†† you know I would have to back to my editor and have a discussion, itís always possible that my editor would say well it's news anyway.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††
PA:††††† Uh-huh.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† GG00516
DL:††††† Um, you know I donít have a crystal ball. [Note also the reporter's insistence that her editor would make any such decisions--so recall that question of whether she even had a supervising editor.] [Back]
DL:††††† Um, and I don't wart you to misunderstand, because the last thing I want to be doing as a journalist is making news. [Review her words above: here too, it was in the very process of pressuring the interviewee's decisions that she admitted doing so is improper.]†††††† †††††† [Back]
DL:††††† So, are we clear about that or
PA:††††† I, I donít think that changes my position as, as, as a father and a responsible father, regardless of what happened five years ago, um I cannot afford being, be it news worthy or not to put my childrenís a reputations in jeopardy, and if I have to resign from this position to at the very least reduce the chance of that being publicized then that's the position that of an overabundance caution I have to take.
DL:††††† Right. Um well is the minute you, um, you know you have a resignation letter or have notified someone of your resignation and um you know you can tell me about that, um, Iíd be as they say I have to leave in twenty minutes now, for I have a commitment in * and I have to drive there from Toronto, um so, wether that can happen now or wether itís something that can happen tomorrow morning, as as soon as, you know, the story has changed I will go to my editor and talk to him. ---->
PA:††††† Well, consider it changed I will certainly advise the rest of the organization that due to circumstances um beyond my control perhaps, due to a change in circumstances I am um ah not in a position to remain as ah to, to accept the um appointment of Vice-President or however else you want to word it.
DL:††††† Okay, okay, okay, now while I have you on the line can I ask you a few other questions?
DL:††††† Um, because my editor is going to ask me these. Um some of the people that I have spoken to have alleged that you are um doing legal or paralegal work for some†† of the people who go to the support group meetings. [The above page 2 is also full of talk
of needing permissions from her editor, as are pp. 11-12 (linked elsewhere) of the Bouvier interview.]††† [Next]
PA:††††† Um, yeah, what we do or what I do is um we I help people like they have the self- representation packages at the Court House
PA:††††† and so if you donít have a lawyer you go pick these things up and they um tell you step by step how to how to get through them, right?
PA:††††† Um, by and large theyíre still pretty complicated and ah and you know if you donít
have a good ah if youíre not very literate um which a lot of our people arenít, their
in trades that might make them a hundred grand but you know their basic reading
a writing skills are a problem for them, so they come to me and I actually, well what
I do is I ah I you know some of them I charge them you know if they have no money
as a lot of these chaps donít you know most of my work I do for free
PA:††††† You know more than fifty percent, um and, and I, I donít give people legal advice,† in fact I have a waiver they all sign that says I am not a lawyer,† Iím not a Barrister† & Solicitor or member of the Law Society of Alberta
PA:††††† Um, it says that I do not provide legal advice, and any form whatsoever and anything I say is not to be construed as such
PA:††††† and it also says that if you require
representation, legal advice or opinions you must contact a lawyer or barrister
& solicitor thatís a licenced with the Law Society of Alberta and a
everyone I um I deal with on um as a client if you
would like has to
sign that if they if they donít agree with that then you know they have to go
to a lawyer or something or someone else.
DL:††††† Uh-huh. uh-huh.
PA:††††† Most, most, most of my work um having this happened to me in Ď96 and ah I used† to do pretty much criminal law and then I became involved in *[ECMAS] you know for personal support cause I was going through a divorce and separation and ah there was just a need for someone with ah some knowledge of the legal system to help people cope and ah you know someone that understands how the system works even from just a theoretical point of view, help educate people, and thatís what we do most of all is we have support group meetings and we educate people and even in our support group meetings we have a disclaimer we read every single time that says any advice you get here, medical, legal, religious, non of us are qualified experts, everything you hear, hear, hear that you think might be close you go to your lawyer, your doctor, your priest and you get the proper advice, [Back] we just handle people, and a for the most part people that come and see me, 90% of it is um I guess you could call it divorce counselling because people want someone to talk†† to and reconcile things with and you know the legal process, processes is a is not the major component in a lot of cases.
PA:††††† People need someone that understands what
itís like to go through and why the court system is so scary, like I tell
people all about you know Queenís Bench means that higher court than
DL:††††† Uh-huh, uh-huh.
PA:††††† and itís itís very scary for these people, intimidating and they think their never gonna see their kids again and you know sometimes they go to lawyers or, or in some cases non lawyers that give legal advice, um that um you know I, I, Iím in no position to question it because even though you might get some advocates giving legal advice in writing and I, I strongly disagree with it, Iím in no position to say well thatís wrong and Iím right.
DL:††††† Right, Right.
PA:††††† They have, they have to go to a lawyer and take that letter they got from some family advocate and, whoever it may be Iím, Iím not identifying anyone, theyíve got to take it to a lawyer and um have it assessed.
DL:††††† Right, Right.† Now um ok so I hear you when you say that um most of what, most† of the people that your helping, your helping for free cause they donít have a lot of money, but those ones that you charge how much would you charge?
PA:††††† Well, it kind of varies depending on um on you know what, what they can afford, you know if some, some chaps come along and say, you know, Iíve got fifty bucks can you, can you help me write an Affidavit, which is just a story, um you know it could be anything I mean it, I donít really have um a set rate for anyone.
PA:††††† You know, it's, it's no where near what a lawyer would charge at all.
DL:††††† Okay, okay.
PA:††††† But they, you know, Iím a registered business and affordable paralegal services, I have a business licence, everyone gets receipts, I do my taxes, everythingís properly reported
DL:††††† Sorry its called affordable business paralegal?
PA:††††† affordable paralegal services.
DL:††††† Okay, okay.
PA:††††† And thatís a registered trade name, it's
licenced out of the City of
DL:††† Right, right. Now Iím sorry to be saying some of these things but Iíve been you know talking to people and, and um you know theyíve been saying some not nice things and I want to give you an opportunity to respond †
[Note well that she never spoke to him of his presence reflecting on any falsely accused persons in the group.]
DL:††† you know like your side of the story. Um, but one of these things that, that, that a couple of people have alleged is, is they feel that maybe your not particularly interested in, in non-custodial parents rights, that your real purpose to going to the, the meetings is, is to get business for yourself or your paralegal business.† [We'll see her deceit over this "couple of people" shortly. Here the point is that her "opportunity to respond" was an empty shell, not including names of the accusers or any of the alleged facts published later.] [Next]
PA:††† Oh, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact um we run the support group meetings and Iím one of the co-chairs of the support group, um thatís been in existence for um oh geese over two years now, and I spend um probably six hours on every Tuesday um meeting, we have a formal meeting and then, and then we have a, a less formal gathering here afterwards at a you know a restaurant or something and it continues and um you know thatís all volunteer time†††††††††††††
DL:††† Yea, okay.
PA:††† and um I would say for, I, I would say maybe a quarter of my clients, if that, come from a ECMAS
PA:††† and a the balance come just from other lawyers, personal contacts, people that know me, referrals from referrals and we do things like um uncontested divorces, um pardons, um you know those sorts of things which um you know, you donít have to be a lawyer to do.
PA:††† In fact if, if I had to analyse the amount of time I put into the ECMAS as opposed†† to the paying clients, it would come out to probably below minimum wage.
PA:††† Um, I get, um we have the menís help line and a if the guy is calling from jail there is no way he could become a client because heís broke, kicked out of house and has no job.
PA:††† Iíve spent hours talking to these people, you know
DL:††† So you, you were a volunteer for the help line?
PA:††† Um, not directly, but if, if somebody calls up and um you know they, they um, you know canít take the call or you know somebodyís got to get back to this person and Iím one of the people that a help with the help line and calling some of these people back
DL:††† Okay.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† GG00520
PA:††† and seeing, you know, if, if we can, most of the time weíre um, um directing them for basic services, like Iíve got a Iíve just got kicked out and there are these allegations Iím charged with this, this and this, I got nowhere to live, so you know we have to kinda tell them to go to the a Salvation Army or the George Spadey House or YMCA and you know in the odd occasion myself have given these people some money or given them a ride or given them some direction, um, you know we do a hell of a lot of you know, volunteer and charitable work.
DL:††† Right, right.
PA:††† And as, as well you know, a guy sometimes, they say, well Iíve got this piece of paper and ya, you know maybe they wonít read terribly well and um you know, we'll help them and um most of most of the people who call me that are employed or have good jobs I, I just refer them to lawyers because we try and keep a, keep track of the lawyers that are somewhat sympathetic to our calls[cause] at least and a you know we, thatís one of my jobs, trying to lawyer people up, whether it be legal aid or fully paying clients.
DL:††† Right, right, now Iíve also heard that um that some people have felt pressured to fire their lawyers and instead to um to become one of your clients. [She again gave no names
or even details of any alleged events--and didn't speak my name anywhere in the interview. (At this point in
her interviews, the reporter had heard the claim only from Ms. Malenfant (and the emphatic denial by Source
A). But she could have called Mr. dams back later with details of any such accusations, and never did.] [Next] †
PA:††† No, that, we, you know, everyone I speak to thatís being represented by, by their own counsel their, they um, theyíll come to the meeting for example and say well you know my lawyer is not doing this, my lawyer is not doing that and um you know, in those situations um thereís, thereís the posib.., the whole, we have so many people that are dissatisfied with the service some of the lawyers are providing
DL:††† Yep. Yep, Iíve heard that a million times.
PA:††† Ya, and thatís there, thereís um thereís alternatives available, we, we hand out a list at the meetings, thereís a whole list of um, a self help packages, we ***[avail them of that list], if, if you can at most of the time it's not so much their not happy with their lawyer, they canít afford it anymore, theyíve paid ten, twenty grand and um and they donít seem to be progressing and sometimes when we talk to the people, you know in groups and so on a lot of them just donít understand what, what their lawyer is doing for them and how the system works and you know half the time weíre telling them well actually your lawyer is doing what she can and a thatís it.
PA:††† You know you canít expect miracles and weíve heard horror stories where um it seems when thereís always two sides to these stories, because you know when they come to us we only get one side and you know you have to question these people quite closely to find out, you know what really is going on and why certain things have happened in certain ways and then you know all of a sudden the lawyers arenít the bad guy anymore.
DL:††† Right.†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† GG00521
PA:††† Itís because of something thatís happened that your case has taken unparticular!y
DL:††† Right, right.
PA:††† So as far as um pressure to um dump your lawyer and higher [Tim], they all know†††† I can not provide legal advice and donít provide legal advice I can help you fill out forms and some of your paper work or do it on contested divorce but a you know I canít go into Court and do anything for you the law society would be most upset.
DL:††† Right, now some paralegals do act as agents for people in Court
PA:††† Right.†††††††††††††† [Back]
DL:††† Um, have you ever done that?
PA:††† Um, thatís um, um anyone can act as anyoneís agent but the legal profession act†† a was recently amended and ah, ah anyone who is a disbarred person cannot act† in that capacity, at least in, in relation to provincial legislation.
PA:††† Itís, itís um, I, I took professional advice on this and I was advised um by a lawyer from Ontario actually, ah that ah you know that might not be applicable to Criminal Code because um, there you have an agent provision but that being Federal Legislation and the Legal Profession Act being Provincial Legislation it, it might create some doubt as to whether thatís enforceable.
DL:††† Okay. Now one of the things that um, that I have to admit that I would be concerned about is, I go to a support group and my life is a mess and Iím, you know its in turmoil and Iím up to my ears in trouble and I donít understand whatís going on and thereís some very nice people there um and one of them offers to help me, except†† I then later find out that this man you know has, has, has had some unpleasantness in his past and I feel a little betrayed that no one told me about it, that I wasnít allowed to make a fully informed decision about whether I wanted this person helping me or not.
PA:††† Um, most, before I formally take someone as a client, of course um they have to acknowledge those factors I told you before about my limitations and †[Earlier in this
interview he describes telling clients about his being disbarred and hence unable to represent them. (The fact
that he advertised his law degree virtually guaranteed that he would have to tell prospective clients this.)]
PA:††† what they can expect. And I would say most of the people ask me, you know, why arenít you a lawyer anymore, what happened, and I tell them.
DL:††† Right† [Recall from earlier in My Case all those who confirmed this to the reporter--and yet she
published Source A's accusation with only Mr. Adams' denial to counter it.]†††† [Back]††††††††† GG00522
PA:††† Even to the extent of ah showing them a copy of the newspaper article which is about as sensational as you can get, it makes it much worse than the actual facts, but
DL:††† So what do you tell them?
DL:††† So what do you tell them? If Iím, if Iím asking you right now ah you know why arenít you a lawyer anymore, what would you say?
PA:††† That I was disbarred um ah in Ď98 for a situation that arose in 1996 where I was um representing a 16 year old prostitute, I suggested to her we go on a date umand um that came to the attention of the police um and they said about um things transpired wherein she agreed to wear a wire, repeat the offer to me, well I got her boyfriend out of jail first, and ah then she invited me to her place ah her room and a then I was arrested. And consequently the Law Society um had a hearing and as a result of that I was disbarred, as a result of my feelings[dealings] with this young person, I ah received a ah 15 month conditional sentence, which was served without incident and Iíve paid my debt to society and have moved on.
DL:††† Right, has anyone ever said um you know now that I know that I donít want anything to do with you?
PA:††† Absolutely zero.
DL:††† Okay. How many people do you think, sorry Iím trying to get a sense of you know have you had this experience with hundreds of people or dozens of people or
PA:††† Probably, probably dozens of people, um maybe a couple hundred over, over the past two years, maybe I maybe I donít know I would have to sort of count my waiver sheets.
DL:††† Sure, sure.
PA:††† But um, I, I only started um I started using the waiver, you know just, just to make double sure, but um you know I repeat it to them several times verbally and just, cause I, I donít want these sort of problems that are cropping up now where somebodyís going to make these allegations and they havenít even seen a copy of the waiver.
DL:††† Right, right.
PA:††† And um so that's, thatís when I, that's what, well I just better take steps to, cause you know because nobody confirms what I said or what they heard
PA:††††† so I just better cast this in writing and so you know weíre, weíre all on the same page †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††
DL:††† Right, right.
PA:††† And, and I donít take large retainers from anyone, I donít take you know five grand off anyone, I say you know, ya weíll, weíll always try and ah, um establish you know what their means are and if they have a, um a real legitimate case and, and their just getting screwed but they donít have a clue how to even ah write an Affidavit, you know, even, even the format, you know Iíll do it free if itís, you know if they have no other alternative, that's what the group does
PA:††† Um, but you know a lot of people arenít in that position and their able to pay then you know they pay, but they get a receipt
PA:††† and thatís a fee for service kind of thing, but I, I donít tell them what to do, I said you now this, you have to make all the decisions, you know.
DL:††† Right. Okay, I have rap this up really quickly unfortunately, ah just two small things um, and then I, I, Iíll have to get back to you tomorrow about what my editor says, about whether we are going to continue with this story or not. Um the two small things are do you had out business cards at ECMAS meetings?
PA:††† Um, occasionally, um if um most, most of the time I, I hand them out to people that um want to contact me to find a lawyer
PA:††† and obviously if their looking for a lawyer we, we, if the other theory is correct that we talk people out of getting lawyerís and hiring me or someone else then you know thatís kind of false, but ah we, oh well the majority of the time that my name or number is given out is just so that I can refer them to, to a lawyer cause they are not happy with the one they have got or they donít have one at all and occasionally you know I, the, the percentages are so low that the number of people I talk to in support group or kept my cards that actually end up becoming you know paying clients is, is fairly small
PA:††† and you know I get a lot of stuff from other lawyers that they, you know that know me that I went to school with or whatever, you know, like ah uncontested divorce or a waiver, they donít want to bother with that, send it to [Tim] heís screwed.
DL:††† Right. Okay. Um and what does your business cards say at the moment.† GG00524
- 11 -
DL:††† What does your business cards say
PA:††† Oh, oh itís just got my name address and phone number.
DL:††† Okay. Any degrees?
PA:††† Yeah, my credentials are there.
PA:††† But um, thatís, thatís all being ah, ah, you know, once, once those are out Iím just gonna put my name and ah um either, I, I donít know if ill put the company, not the company but a portable[affordable] paralegal on it, because I ran into a situation where, where you know, that was misunderstood so you know thatís obviously going to be changed when I order the new cards which will be any time.
DL:††† Okay. So sorry what, whatís going to be changed?
PA:††† Well I, Iím gonna take the credentials off because that, that um you know has a potential to be um you know people might get the wrong idea that although it doesnít say lawyer or Barrister & Solicitor um non the less those, you know thatís my education thatís my right.
DL:††† Right. Okay.
PA:††† But I, I will take my ah, the draft of my
new card, itís not there anymore because I want to remove any, any doubt or
question that you know Iím trying to still practice
or anything close to it.
DL:††† Right, right.
PA:††† And um you know my position is that I, I have two things to protect here as ah, I have three children all in school, and I, I donít need any um bad press so to speak or even a rehash of you know, there was, there was enough in the press when this all occurred.
PA:††† And secondly I donít need to raise the ah heckles of the Law Society, because you know some day somewhere maybe Iíll, Iíll reapply and um you know I donít want to have to you know deal with any problems about any oversights on my part, you know putting the degrees on or you know not getting people to sign a waiver, it's simply, simply not worth it, my lifeís been ruined once, I donít want it to be repeated and I donít want my childrenís lifeís ruined either.
DL:††† Right, right, um I know I said I would only ask you two questions, but the one thing† I havenít heard from you is that your concerned about the reputation of ECMAS, I
hear that you are concerned about protecting the privacy of your children and I
DL:††† but not once have you said that your concerned about the reputation of ECMAS, is that just an oversight?
PA:††† Iím extremely concerned about the reputation of ECMAS to the point that um ah
Iíve, Iíve made the, I mean the principle players of ECMAS and many of the people
ah that you have spoken to are aware of my situation if
ed me about it
would tell them I donít go to
every meeting and start by saying, well my name is
[Tim], Iím a disbarred lawyer and I do this and that and the other thing
PA:††† I, I donít approach people in that manner but, itís certainly not um a topic I avoid, Iím quite, I, I wouldnít say quite happy but I am upfront with people that um you know, some people ask what's your story you know, Iíll tell them right from day one this is what happened with me and this young person and ah you know I was charged, um I lost my, well
DL:††† Right, weíve ya, weíve been through this. Sorry to interrupt but, okay so your going to resign as Vice-President, now are you going to resign your Co-Chair of the support group position? [This was a misunderstanding. Taking turns chairing the meeting was not any kind of official position.]
PA:††† Um, yeah.
DL:††† Okay, okay. Thank you very much for your time, Iím sorry that this has not been a more pleasant conversation for you, ah I have to run um will you be around tomorrow if I phone you back?
PA:††† Yeah and um Iíll give you my cell number as well.
PA:††† 780-405-7425. And I might add, I mean ah, you know and I have no basis to support this but um, um other than unconfirmed information about me you might want to check, if weíre dirt digging you might want to comprehensively check ah some of your other sources as well, because I believe that um you know it may well be a case of a pot calling the kettle black.
DL:††† Well um, yeah um if you have some information for me um, I would be grateful but ah you know I, I donít want to go with that, you know I donít know what you are referring to.
PA:††† Right um, I, Iím just saying that um itís, itís not my style to sling dirt at people and ah although itís certainly coming down heavy my way, I um I certainly donít want to
perpetuate that but you know there, there probably is some out there, that's all Iím prepared to say.
DL:††† Um, well, um thank you if there is anything that you know concrete that you can point me in you know a particular direction that would be wonderful, otherwise you know itís just sort of there
PA:††† No, I, I wouldnít ah, I wouldnít say or do anything unless I had reasonable proof of†† it but, I donít know I guess thatís sad *of some sort, for what use it is.
DL:††† Thank you, take care.
PA:††† Okay, thank you bye, bye.
NOTE OF MESSAGES
PA:††† Hi Donna, [Tim] Adams just calling back to clarify one point. In fact, um, re giving† the elections recently, ah thereís, I am not a Co-Chair of the support group, just for clarification, there is only one Chair of the support group, ah, ah and that is James Haiden, so Iím, Iím resigning positions that I donít have. But ah none the less I was um I was at one point but ah since that election the only official ah Chair of the support group is Mr. Haiden. Um give me a ring back if you would like 780-453- 1973.
PA:††† Hi Donna, [Tim] Adams calling you back um
just to let you know Iíve ah, um had a meeting last night, my resignation was
given to Mr. Bouvier and um hopefully that will serve you at least some
restraint in possibly printing my name and my three children are all in school
and ah I certainly donít want to expose them to anything embarrassing or
humiliating and um I would also employ you to listen to the eyes†† of
those who are bringing this sort of thing to your attention and their
supporters and look into their
dirty laundry as well if thatís what this is all going to be about and ah see if ah he who is throwing the first stone is truly
them, in any event we, we have ah made effort to have other people to contact you
to make sure that this is a fully balanced story if it does indeed run ah
please give me a ring at 780-453-1973 or 405-7425 thatís my cell number. Thanks
very much indeed. Bye, bye.
END OF TAPE