by Stephen Cook
Len Brown’s hold on the Auckland mayoralty is in serious jeopardy following bombshell allegations of a two-year extra-marital affair with a council employee 25 years his junior.
Brown – who last weekend was returned for a second term with a 50,000-vote majority – is expected to face enormous pressure this week to resign over what rates as possibly the biggest sex scandal in New Zealand local body history.
Among the allegations – which are backed up by text messages – are that “barely two-minute Brown” had unprotected sex with the 32-year-old on more than a dozen occasions during office hours.
This, says the woman, included numerous times in Brown’s council office and once in the “Ngati Whatua Room” at the Auckland Town Hall – an area of special significance to Maori – where they were caught in the act by a security guard.
At the time, the woman says, she was completely naked and Brown had his pants down around his ankles.
Brown did not return phone calls or messages this afternoon despite multiple attempts to contact him.
According to a sworn affidavit provided by the woman, Brown – who she rated a ‘generous’ 4 out of 10 in the lovemaking stakes – would also routinely masturbate at his desk while chatting to her on the phone.
“He’d tell me what he was doing. You could hear the heavy breathing over the phone and then that noise which comes once it is all over,” she said, adding that Brown was “highly sexed” and possibly in need of some help.
“He’d also tell me he would masturbate at home in the morning before coming to work and I’d be the one he’d be thinking of – not his wife who must have been just metres away, but me.”
The woman has decided to speak out about the two years she spent as the mayor’s mistress after claims Brown treated her no better than “a porn star” – a reference to how, according to her, it was common practice for him to ejaculate on her during sex.
“At least if I was a hooker I would have got something out of this, but I got nothing. I was starting to feel like Monica Lewinsky,” she said.
The affair is not only likely to cost the father-of-three his career and reputation but also his 20 year-plus marriage to lawyer wife Shan Inglis. The couple have three daughters together.
That doesn’t please the “other woman”, but she says, like everyone, Brown has to be held accountable for his actions – and if that means the end of his marriage then so be it.
Right now she’s more concerned about her own safety.
And she may well have reason to be.
Last week the 32-year-old received an anonymous text message warning her there would be repercussions if she went public with her story.
“It certainly made me uncomfortable. I wonder what might be coming next,” she says.
The woman first met Brown back in May 2011 at a council function and says she initially found him “pleasant and courteous”.
Just hours after that meeting, the woman says she received a text message from Brown remarking on how much he had enjoyed meeting her earlier that day.
“I was shocked. He barely knew me, but here he was going to the trouble of texting me. What also puzzled me was how he got my number,” she said.
According to the woman’s affidavit, five days later she saw Brown again at another council function and it was on this occasion that the man once renowned for his face slapping antics lets his fingers do the talking.
“We exchange pleasantries and have a brief chat about work matters and then he touches my hand and my arm. I suppose I thought little of it at the time, but it was a pointer to what was to come.”
She says several weeks later she received a text message from Brown asking if she could possibly meet him at the council offices to discuss “work issues”. While surprised at the request, she gave no thought to the idea that perhaps Brown had a romantic interest in her.
Once inside Brown’s office, she says it wasn’t long before the talk turned to that of a personal nature. “He complimented me on my appearance and touched my hand several times. That’s as far as it went – this time, anyway.”
Over the weeks that followed, the woman says Brown continued laying the groundwork. She says he would text her at least once or twice a day and call sometimes up to five times a week.
“I wasn’t attracted to him, but I was flattered by the attention. He was an important person and was choosing to confide in me. I could see he was under pressure.”
It wasn’t long before the phone calls became no work and all play, says the 32-year-old.
“He would tell me how much he missed me and how he wanted to see me again.”
And eventually at Brown’s insistence, the woman says, they did meet again – and it was during one of these meetings in Brown’s office where they shared the first of what was to be many intimate moments together.
“We were in his office and then he pulled his chair up alongside mine, grabbed me and then began kissing me, passionately kissing me. I was shocked but I didn’t push him away.
“Eventually I did and he apologised. He was telling me I was very pretty and he couldn’t help himself. I knew at the time he was married and way older than I was, but all I could think about was what had happened and what I was going to do next.”
Brown wasn’t easing up either, according to the woman.
She said he would often ring her at lunchtime and tell her how he’d woken up that morning thinking about her. There were other times, she said, he would tell her how he’d been thinking of her while masturbating in the bathroom before heading into work.
And this was just usually metres away from where his wife was sleeping.
“I didn’t know what to say. I’d just say ‘really’.”
More was to follow, according to the woman.
She says during one telephone call Brown revealed how he was so turned on by the sound of her voice he had removed his trousers and had started masturbating at his desk.
“I didn’t know what to think. I could hear a lot of panting and heavy breathing and then came that sound when it’s all over. There were other times he’d do this when he was in the bathroom in his office,” she said.
In August of 2011 the woman celebrated her 30th birthday. To mark the occasion she says Brown bought her some black lingerie, which she had to return to the store because they didn’t fit properly.
“He was a bit of a cheapskate. They were from Bras and Things and not worth very much.”
Not long after her birthday, the woman says she and Brown had sex for the first time.
It was over in a matter of minutes, she says.
“We were in his office and he pulled me on to the couch. The sex was all about him.
“It was over pretty quickly and he started apologizing, saying that he usually lasted a lot longer. That’s what all guys say.”
“He wasn’t wearing a condom. He pulled out in time and ejaculated on me. Initially I didn’t want to go there with him but he was pretty persistent.”
The woman says after that her conscience kicked in and she told Brown “what we are doing is wrong”.
She recalled meeting Brown at Esquires coffee house in Lorne Street where she tried to call things off. “He got very emotional and started crying,” she says.
The affair continued.
She says although she didn’t find the 57-year-old particularly appealing she found his power “intoxicating”. He would take her to events where she would meet high-powered movers and shakers who normally wouldn’t give someone like her the time of day.
“He would compliment me in front of these people which made me feel great,” she said.
But she says despite her efforts to call time on the relationship, the sex continued.
Her worry was that eventually they would get caught.
Which, she says, is exactly what happened in early 2012.
She says she and Brown were having sex in the Ngati Whatua Room at the Auckland Town Hall when a security guard burst in through the door.
“It was horrific. I had no clothes on and Len had his pants down around his ankles. The security guy was clearly embarrassed and made some apologetic noises before closing the door and leaving.
“Len was distressed, saying ‘This is it, this is it… how are we going to get out of this.”
But ‘get out’ they did, she says.
“We laid low waiting for him to come out with all the detail but he never did. We were very surprised.”
The woman says in 2012 she met Brown at the Langham, the Hilton and Sky City hotels in Auckland where they would have sex. Brown, she says, would leave a room key for her to collect from the Town Hall reception area and then wait for her arrival.
It was around this time, she says, she started really questioning her relationship with Brown. “I was being treated like a prostitute, except for one thing – I wasn’t getting paid,” she says.
“I could really see no point in maintaining contact with Len.”
In October last year the woman started seeing someone else and says when she broke the news to Brown he appeared to be supportive.
It was a far cry from how he had acted a few months earlier, she says.
Brown, she says, had invited her and a group of friends to a dance recital at the Maidment Theatre but the evening quickly turned ugly after one of her friends started caressing her leg.
“He got very jealous. He wasn’t happy at all. When I saw him a few days later he told me he had googled my friend’s name and now knew all about him. I remember saying to him ‘haven’t you got better things to do that google my friends?”
She says despite making it clear to Brown that she had a boyfriend he continued with his advances. This even included sending the woman a Christmas card, which she says he signed off with the words ‘I Love You’.
When the woman’s relationship ended in February, Brown, she says, was quickly back on the scene.
But, she says, they only had sex on one more occasion. That was in July, the woman says, where again Brown climaxed on her.
“He then asked if next time I could bring condoms,” she said.
But there would be no next time.
The woman says for some reason Brown cut all contact from that point onwards, refusing to reply to the more than two dozen text messages she sent him.
She says even to this day she is unsure why but suspects he was concerned about the possibility of being exposed so close to the local body elections.
The woman says Brown took a lot from her, but didn’t offer a great deal in return. In the end he treated her like a booty call. “It was always wham bam thank you Maam,” she says, adding that on current form Brown didn’t deserve to be Mayor of Auckland.
“If this is the way he behaves then he is not fit to be mayor.”
Brown entered politics back in 1992 when he was elected to the Manukau City Council, a position he held up until 2004. In 2007 he was elected mayor of Manukau and three years later became the first mayor of Auckland following the amalgamation of the regions seven former city and district councils.