Jonathan Marshall has been following up his complaint to the Ombudsmen after the Manukau City Council refused to release details of the now infamous Volare dinner, as required by the counicl’s own regulation and also as required by law under the LGOIMA.
Len Brown tells us in his extensive television ad campaign that he will open the books of the new city. That promise rings very hollow indeed when we read of his and his Chief Executive’s attempts to cover up a $810.00 council funded dinner.
Secret details of an $810 dinner Manukau mayor Len Brown charged to his council credit card are unlikely to be revealed before this weekend’s local body election, the Ombudsman says.
The south Auckland mayor, who is predicted to win the top job of the new Auckland Council on Saturday, came under intense scrutiny earlier this year after refusing to say who he took to a September 2009 dinner, costing $810.
Brown was asked by a number of media outlets who he took to the dinner, which took place in the same week as his birthday. He refused all requests.
In what was possibly the most memorable part of this year’s local body election campaign, Brown gave an emotional and passionate address to his council colleagues about the dinner. He punched his head and chest and said he would “never” reveal who attended.
“Will I give you the names? Never. I want to tell you that, I feel so intensely strong about this.”
He will open the books on the new city but actively work to prevent his old books ever being released. Dishonest is the word that immediately springs to mind.
The evening was held at south Auckland’s Volare Italian restaurant and featured Australian-based professional tenor Geoffrey Knight, aged in his forties.
Brown told Breakfast co-host Paul Henry the dinner was “a totally appropriate occasion. It was fundraiser in support of a young singing artist in our community…a fundraiser for one of our excellent young musical talents.”
So he will open the books and believes that transparency is a “not a perfect thing“. Looks like the truth isn’t a perfect thing either. Bottom line is Len Brown has never told the truth about that dinner, and when cornered he went all slappy onus.
The worst aspect of all this is the active obfuscation by a paid employee of the City Council, a paid employee who was recompensed handsomely, got a massive payout for just doing his job (or not in this case) and even had a park named after him. Leigh Auton has constantly run interference on behalf of Len Brown throughout this and we can certainly expect these sorts of tactics from Len Brown to continue i, god forbid, he wins the mayoralty.
This week commissioner Marie Shroff asked a set of questions of Manukau City Council about the dinner.
She wanted to know “whether the attendees knew they were accompanying Brown in his capacity as mayor” and “did they know the dinner was being charged to his mayoral credit card”.
Two simple questions, eight people to ask, and two of them were Len Brown and his missus. Eight people, required to say yes or no, twice. It should take all of a couple of hours to sort out. Why no answer? The only supposition can be corruption. Why won’t they answer these two simple questions.
Leigh Auton fought like hell to keep his massive 6 figure payout secret, now he is still fighting like hell to keep details required by law and council rules for a $810 dinner secret.
One must presume that this is a secret that could very well seriously affect Brown’s credibility for them all to die in the ditch defending it.
It is a travesty that Len Brown, his Labour backers and city officials can’t be trusted to tell us the truth, or to follow the law. What will be more of a travesty is Len Brown bringing these appallingly low standards of personal integrity to the new City.