NSW Law Society reprimands previous Wyong Mayor for conflict of interest

FORMER Wyong Mayor Doug Eaton has copped a put on the wrist for unacceptable expert conduct as a solicitor in helping one of his family s companies win a six-figure payment versus the ratepayers he was serving.

26s2More than a year after a problem was made against Mr. Eaton; the NSW Law Society has reprimanded the previous long-serving councilor for breaching guidelines which state a lawyer must not act for a client in any dealing in between that customer and a regional council, of which the specialist is a member. Mr. Eaton served as solicitor for his family company, A Van Stappen, in a legal dispute with Wyong Council while he was likewise a councilor between 2007 and 2010.

Files reveal Mr. Eaton fulfilled former basic manager Kerry Yates on May 7, 2010, when it is understood a $330,000 settlement was agreed on. A Van Stappen Pty Ltd had looked for near $1 million from the council in the final procedures.

The Law Society said in its findings: The taking of action is justified, having regard to all the scenarios of the case including the severity of the conduct worried.

In an interview with the Express Advocate on June 23 in 2014, Mr. Eaton rubbished speculation he was set to be examined over the conflict-of-interest accusations.

I contact the NSW Law Society to reveal me paperwork that I’m being examined, and the reasons why, because I’ll show them it is total bullshit, an angry Mr. Eaton stated.

The Law Society kept in mind in its findings versus Mr. Eaton that he denied breaching Rule 36 of the Revised Professional Conduct and Practice Rules (1995).

(Mr. Eaton) recommends that at a meeting with the president or CEO of the Law Society in 1993 or 1994 he was provided the authorization of the Law Society to act for his household business in handling the council.

The committee does not accept this submission.

Mr. Eaton did not respond to an e-mail about whether he would appeal versus the Law Society’s decision.

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One of the two plaintiffs has already requested a review of the judgment with the Legal Services Commissioner.

Both plaintiffs believe the more severe punishment of expert misbehavior need to be made against Mr. Eaton.