June 14, 2007
By BILL TIELEMAN, 24 HOURS
Erik Bornmann, the subject of police allegations filed in B.C. Supreme Court that he bribed two provincial government officials involved in the $1 billion B.C. Rail privatization, has passed the New York State bar examination required to become a lawyer, 24 hours has exclusively learned.
Bornmann is the key Crown witness in the trial of ex-ministerial aides David Basi and Bob Virk. They face breach of trust and fraud charges for allegedly taking benefits to provide inside B.C. Rail information to Bornmann, then a lobbyist for OmniTRAX, one of the bidders.
But Bornmann could become a New York lawyer there if he successfully completes two more tests, says John McAlary, Executive Director of the New York State Board of Law Examiners.
"Mr. Bornmann passed the exam but he is not certified for admission," McAlary told 24 hours from Albany, New York. "He's not been admitted to the New York bar because he's missing his Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam."
"That ethics exam is required to be admitted," McAlary said. "He may have taken the test but not filed it with us."
McAlary said Bornmann must also be approved by the New York State Supreme Court's Appellate Division.
"The Appellate Division would do a background check and determine if he passed the 'good character' test," McAlary said.
When told by 24 hours of allegations that Bornmann bribed public officials, McAlary responded: "That would be unusual, even in New York."
Bornmann's lawyer George Macintosh declined to comment when contacted by 24 hours.
McAlary confirmed that Bornmann passed the New York exam in July 2006.
Bornmann left an articling law student position at the Toronto firm McCarthy Tetrault after 24 hours reported about it last year.
Bornmann also withdrew an application for admission to the Law Society of Upper Canada in Ontario prior to a 'good character' hearing scheduled for November 2006.
Bornmann's lawyer at the time had asked that the media and public be banned from that hearing or a publication ban be imposed.