The Troughing of Len Brown – Unspun

Len Brown and his Labour handlers David Lewis and Conor Roberts have been very careful in releasing information about his troughing in order to frame the debate. They issued summaries and spun nice little stories about poor Len Brown being a victim of a smear campaign.

Well if Len Brown thought it was a smear to tell the truth he is not going to like this post as I am going to tell my own story, from his receipts about his troughing. No repeating Labour line, no sin, just the facts.

To start with you will need his expense statements that he has released. All 74 pages of it. Thankfully this blogger has now obtained a complete copy, though complete is perhaps not accurate as there are almost no GST receipts, but plenty of till receipts. They are of course completely useless for tax purposes, or even expense claims in the real world. But in Manukau City Council Len Brown fairy-la-la land they may be perfectly acceptable. Any accountant will be able to tell you that from this list of documents that the Manukau City Council has no real audit ability and Len Brown is shading the truth saying his credit card expenses are audited if this is the standard of documentation acceptable to them. It speaks volumes of Len Brown’s complete unsuitablility to be the Mayor of New Zealand’s only real city.

Before we get started on particulars please bear in mind the real Len Brown, not the fairy-tale Len Brown that Labour would have you believe. He is paid $150,000 to be Manukau’s Mayor. He was previously a partner in a law firm and lives in a house that would be worth more than a million dollars (that’s what the CV says anyway), his wife is also a lawyer. Between the two of them they will be pulling way over $250,000 per annum. They are not poor, nor are they the champions of the poor, otherwise you wouldn’t be funding through Len’s credit card things like toys, icecream, filled rolls, coffee, Grolsch beer, chocolate (oh Lenny does like the chocolate), dinners for his family and on and on and on. With the production of these rather incomplete receipts it is hard to fathom just what exactly it is that len Brown does pay for? If he pays it back it is still against MCC credit card policy and he is using the Visa Card as nothing less than a payday lending facility.

Now to the detail.

Len Brown charges Labour Conference fee to ratepayers credit card

Len Brown charges Labour Conference fee to ratepayers credit card

Len Brown got invited to the Labour Party conference in 2008, he went too, and charged it to the Council Credit Card. Sure Labour reimbursed him for the $280 but he still thought that it was fine to charge it up in the first place. Remember the first year of Len’s mayorlaty was spent flat on his back recovering from his near death experience. This was his first big outing and he charged the rate-payer for it. Once a trougher always a trougher.

Apparently dinner with the Deputy Mayor and his missus is council business too. $276 worth of council business (page 15).

Len Brown troughs it up with the Deputy Mayor

Len Brown troughs it up with the Deputy Mayor

The Mayor didn’t even provide a receipt for it. So much for his 2-3 monthly audits.

While we are talking about audits and missing receipts lets look at the famous Volare manufactured one. A council officer, presumably annotates the statement saying that the receipt is missing, they request copies of the receipt on 9/12/2009 and 18/12/2009 and bizarrely a person called Phil Wilson signs it off as “Complete” on 09/12/2009 (page 54). If it was complete then that makes the new receipt obtained just last week a complete fabrication. The original must be in the council’s possession because Phil Wilson signed off the reconciliation as complete.

Volare reconciliation says "Complete"

Volare reconciliation says "Complete"

Definitely more questions than answers remain over the Volare transaction. The thing is why die in the ditch over $810.00? Why make up stories when the truth will do. Mayor Len Brown says it was a fundraiser. Except it doesn’t work like most fundraisers work where you get billed for the fundraiser, the fundraiser is held and there are no more bills. In this case there was a fundraiser (so Len Brown says) and at 10:36pm he pays the bill. You know what that smells like to me? Bullshit, nice and fresh and fruity.

Speaking of fundraisers and how they operate, the bills and documents provide us an insight into how they really work. On pages 39-41 we can see that Len Brown has generously donated more than $2800 of ratepayers money to Dress for Success Celebrity Waiters via his credit card and thoughtfully took along his missus, John Walker and his missus and daughter, Arthur Anae and his partner and Colleen Brown and her partner. Sounds fab, but how was this council business other than they all enjoyed a slap up feed at the ratepayers expense? I also ask just what is the mayoral authority limit for spending? I would have thought an amount that large would need council approval. It does show though how a fundraiser works, you buy a table, take you mates and pay in advance. It makes Len Browns charade over the mysterious Volare bill very transparent. As I asked before, why die in the ditch for $810?

Right through the whole set of documents there are notes about presenting receipts. Does Len Brown have a problem with processes? He likes to mention processes, especially audit processes so it is interesting to see on pages 23, 31, 36, 38 and 42 that the audit process and reconciliation is yet to be completed, that’s a mighty long three months there, and they still aren’t signed off.

Len Brown keeps losing invoices

Len Brown keeps losing invoices

Then there is the stuff that can never even remotely be considered council related. How can lunches all over Auckland, in Titirangi, at the Simunovich Estate in Bombay, at the Viaduct Restaurant and Bar in Christchurch, at Long Bay, none of which are in Manukau City be considered council business. More like campaigning for the Super City and having the residents of Manukau foot the bill.

And why can’t we know who he had lunch with at Bracu? The ratepayers did cough $357.00 for that council business, surely we are allowed to know what was so important that a lunch at Bombay had to be paid for by the ratepayers.

Who is the mystery guest?

Who is the mystery guest?

What could possibly have been council business at the Viaduct Restaurant and Bar in Chrsitchurch? Conveniently too the receipt is missing.

Len Brown spent $768 at dinner in Christchurch, Council business?

Len Brown spent $768 at dinner in Christchurch, Council business?

There is a plus side though to Len Brow’s troughing. It’s true there is a plus side. We know he doesn’t buy porn movies when staying in Hotels, though he did help himself to some Nuts. We also know that he is Lenny No-Mates too. Almost all of the hotel bills have a single meal from room service (page 28). Even when he goes to Wellington for Mayoral Meetings. it’s sad really though, this man who would be Mayor of the Supercity of Auckland has no mates in Wellington. There is very little troughing going on there which is a bonus for the ratepayer I guess. Not so good though if you are advocating that the Super City mayor has good connections in Wellington though.

While we are talking about luxury hotels it turns out that the luxury hotel spend at the Rendezvous Hotel wasn’t a room at all. no it was for a big nosh up after the Santa Parade. Certainly that was council business…surely?

Big nosh up at Rendevous, council business?

Big nosh up at Rendezvous, council business?

The list goes on and on of Len Brown’s weapons grade troughing. It seems that Len Brown doesn’t pay for anything at all with his own credit card, he really does seem to forget it a lot more than he let on.

Kids Fish and Chips (page 27)

Hand sanitiser and Panadol (page 45)

Kids Icecream (page 46 )

Friction Road Racer, 6pk of Racers, Sammy Plush Puppy, A raised Wood Puzzle, Assorted marbles, Pick Up Sticks,  Barbie Mini-kingdom, and a Musical Elmo Stocking (page 59 ) Is the mini-kingdom a metaphor?

Cadbury Roses, Guylian Chocolates, Continental Chocolates, and Apples (page 65)

Continental Chocolates, a Bundaberg Peachee, a Filled Roll and a 4pk of Grolsch Beer (page 69)

Audiclean Ear Cleansing Solution (page 71)

It is now that I have to apologise to North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams. I never thought I would see a more pompous ass wasting ratepayers money more than him. Andrew, for that I apologise, you have been super-ceded by Len Brown.

Lastly, since we are talking about Andrew Williams it would be remiss of me to forget to mention the dozen bottles of Villa Maria Hawkes Bay Cabernet/Sauvignon/Merlot bought for  $210 plus urgent courier of $22.22 on 22/12/2009. Was this perhaps Andrew Williams Christmas present?

Christmas present for Andrew Willaims?

Christmas present for Andrew Williams?

When you view Len Browns troughing as a total you can see he doesn’t like to ever dip into his own pocket, despite being a millionaire, paid $150,000 p.a. and married to a lawyer, Len Brown just cannot remember to take his own credit card with him and constantly raids the council kitty with his rate-payer funded credit card.

This man cannot be trusted with the mayoralty of the Super City, he can’t even remember to keep receipts. Every story that Len has told about his expenses is destroyed by looking closely at his own documentation, would the media look more closely too.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.