Brown being cute with the truth now

By STEPHEN COOK

The woman at the centre of the Len Brown sex scandal says the Auckland mayor not only gave her a written reference for the council job she applied for – he also spoke to her boss.

External auditors Ernst and Young are currently looking into whether 32-year-old Bevan Chuang received any form of preferential treatment when she successfully applied for a position as a sponsorship coordinator at the Auckland Art Gallery back in 2011.

At the time of applying for the position Chuang was in the early stages of her two-year affair with Brown.

She was sacked three months to her employment after the gallery learnt of her criminal conviction she had relating to relating to the unauthorized use of a computer.

The conviction dated back to 2010 when she was an employee at the Auckland Museum. Chuang provided a contractor with a password to access a confidential email account believed to contain information detrimental to plans to restructure the museum.

It is still not clear whether Brown knew about the conviction when he endorsed Chuang for the art gallery position. 

The under-fire Auckland mayor was confronted today about the whole issue of Chuang’s reference during his first public appearance since the scandal broke a week ago.

Brown told journalists that although he regretted the affair his intention was to remain in office.

“You make your decisions and when you make a stupid decision like I did, you’ve got to live with that and try and find a way forward. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Brown claimed his decision to act as a referee for Chuang when she applied for a job at the city art gallery did not constitute an abuse of power.

He said he only provided her with a written reference – something he had done for a number of people

But Chuang claims that after being shortlisted for the position, the art gallery manager rang Brown to ask whether she was a suitable candidate for the job.

Brown said she was, and off the back of that endorsement she was given the job.

“…I remember my manager was excited to be the first person in the gallery to have spoken to him (the mayor),” Chuang said.

She added that when she began work at the gallery Brown – who had rarely visited the facility in the past  – suddenly became a frequent visitor. She said gallery staff would get themselves into “a flap” when they heard Brown was on his way, thinking he was there to see them.

She said the truth was that Brown was there to see her – a fact lost on staff who would “fluff around” after him.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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