The newly appointed, Liberal-connected chair of the body that licenses the province's taxis and inter-city buses has resigned after questions were raised about an investigation by the Law Society of British Columbia. Nathan Bauder, a Fort Nelson lawyer and local organizer for Premier Christy Clark's successful leadership campaign, was appointed to the Passenger Transportation Board by an order-in-council of the provincial government on July 8. He resigned that position and his other provincial post with the property assessment review panel on Wednesday, according to a statement from government spokesman Kelly Gleeson.
On June 24, the Law Society of British Columbia issued a citation describing allegations that Mr. Bauder falsified documents last year while attempting to obtain a mortgage for a property he was purchasing in Prince George. The citation is posted on the Law Society's website.
Reached by telephone on Wednesday, Mr. Bauder described the Law Society allegations as a "personal matter." He declined to comment on a suggestion by Mr. Gleeson that he had not disclosed the Law Society matter during the screening process for the transportation board posting.
The Law Society citation alleges Mr. Bauder altered and created documents to show the purchase price of the property was $100,000 more than the actual $350,000 purchase price, according to Law Society spokeswoman Lesley Pritchard.
The Law Society citation also alleges one of the documents was altered to include false statements about initial payments on the property. The unproved allegations are to be tested at a two-day hearing scheduled to begin on December 22. Ms. Pritchard said if a hearing panel makes a finding of professional misconduct, the disciplinary action could range from a reprimand to disbarment.
When first contacted, Mr. Bauder said the allegations are a "strictly personal matter that will be dealt with in due course." He also said, "I don't think it bears any relation to the appointment to the (passenger transportation) board."
Mr. Gleeson said later that Mr. Bauder had decided it was in the best interests to resign his government appointments "until such a time as these matters are resolved."
Mr. Bauder acknowledged he has received three speeding tickets since 2004, although he stated he makes a "point to always be safe and drive safe."
Mr. Bauder was a riding organizer for Ms. Clark's leadership campaign and contributed $3,000 toward it. He has previously served on three similar government tribunals since 2005 and had been appointed a chair of the property assessment review panel on Jan. 31.
In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for the federal Liberals in Prince George-Peace River against incumbent Conservative candidate Jay Hill. But he was on a winning team five years later when he backed Ms. Clark's effort to succeed Gordon Campbell as leader of the provincial Liberals.
About four months after Ms. Clark's swearing-in, an order-in-council signed by Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom named Mr. Bauder the part-time chair of the Passenger Transportation Board - a position that paid $35,625 for the equivalent of 57 full days of work in fiscal 2010/11.
Asked whether there was a link between his work for he Clark campaign and his appointment, Mr. Bauder denied that was the case and said, "It's just keeping in line with me being community-minded and serving on boards" - a record that has also included stints on the boards of the Institute of Indigenous Government and the Northern Lights College.