Is Rahool Agarwal Accepting, As Payment From The OPFFA, Tainted Funds?
The OPFFA’s Counsel, Rahool Agarwal, charges at least $700 per hour. Imagine if you were capable of charging that kind of money, and if you were a bit unscrupulous, you might be inclined to keep a case going as long as you could just so you could maximize the billable hours. Especially, when the client has deep pockets and are apathetic towards case. The OPFFA has an endless supply of money derived from 11,000 apathetic members blindly donating to the OPFFA’s Occupation Disease Fund every month, unaware of how it’s being utilized. The entirety of the member’s OD donations are being used to pay Rahool Agarwal. Agarwal is also being funded by the donations submitted from the widows of deceased firefighters. In fact, the OPFFA have paid Rahool Agarwal approximately 1.2 million dollars so far, using every last cent of the donated funds within the OD fund. And there’s no end in site. Most of those 11,000 firefighters don’t even know they’re contributing to this fund, let alone financing this lawsuit. To the contrary, all those widows who donated a portion of their WSIB awards wanted it to go to furthering the cause of the Occupational Disease fund. And that’s exactly what they were told. This money is to be used for only four things, just as it’s stated in the OPFFA executive board Recommendation ‘D’; to assist with research, education, lobbying, and the pursuit of other occupational disease claims.
These widows were never told their donations were going to fund a legal suit against the very same men that fought and won their awards.These widows have no idea their donations are being used to fund this legal suit. However, Rahool Agarwal is keenly aware of how this lawsuit is being funded. Mr. Agarwal is a very clever lawyer. His CV even includes arguing 5 cases in the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Agarwal has read all of the OPFFA’s financial records, he’s even submitted a couple of them. There’s absolutely no possibility Mr. Agarwal is unaware he’s accepting the widow’s donated funds as his fee. There’s also the question of whether these funds are un-reported income to the Canada Revenue Agency. The OPFFA claim they are a not-for-profit organization exempt from income taxes. But this is currently being questioned, especially in light of not being able to issue tax receipts to donors.
What’s the alternative, what should he do? The alternative for Mr.Agarwal would be to drop this case or continue it pro bono. In fact, the OPFFA, from a financial position, should never have filed this case. They were told by their own counsel they lacked the assets to fight this case, especially to cover the defendant’s cost and counter claim if they were to lose the case. It didn’t phase the OPFFA president, Rob Hyndman. He stated he would just pass the costs on to all the members by levying a special assessment.
What are the chances of a high-priced lawyer like Mr. Agarwal continuing a lawsuit pro bono? Well, according to his interview with Precedent magazine, in his past he was involved in some very important cases. Such as, advocating for students with learning disabilities, as well as arguing to keep a safe Injection site for drug users open. All his work on these cases was done pro bono. It was also stated he assisted his fellow colleagues in seeking out pro bono cases of their own. So exactly where is Mr.Agarwal’s conscience now? Does he want to be known as the lawyer who profited off widows and deceased firefighters by prolonging a losing battle. Is his current law firm, Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP, even aware of how their case is being funded?
Ironically, the OPFFA and Agarawal, from the lofty heights of their high horses, have stated their intentions with this lawsuit were to make these widows whole again. Firstly, which widow is not whole, is there a widow missing money? Secondly, and think hard on this, who has really hurt these widows? Why is it there’s nobody lobbying Ottawa in the pursuit of having more cancers covered? Why is it there’s currently nobody within the OPFFA who can fight a WSIB cancer appeal? And just which OPFFA occupational disease experts are currently teaching the Local Associations how to effectively assist these widows with their claims?
Now think hard and answer this….over the last 25 years who really helped these widows?