Complaint re Brown’s Trust

December 29th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

A private investigator has complained to Auckland Council and the Serious Fraud Office about a trust that was the biggest donor to disgraced Auckland mayor ’s election campaign.

Grace Haden, who stood unsuccessfully for the council in October on the Transparency New Zealand ticket, asked council chief executive Doug McKay, electoral officer Bruce Thomas and the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the New Auckland Council Trust.

Returns filed earlier this month showed Brown’s successful campaign was funded by $343,375 in donations, with the biggest donor the New Auckland Council Trust, which chipped in $273,375.

The trust, which contributed $499,000 to Brown’s 2010 mayoral campaign, allows donors to keep their identities secret.

Haden said the trust, and others like it, was impossible to investigate because it was not incorporated. “It’s a total sham.” She wants the trust’s legal existence established, and those who set it up and the trustees and beneficiaries identified publicly.

Brown’s campaign spokesman, David Lewis, said it was “fascinating” Haden was complaining only about the New Auckland Council Trust, and not any others. “Trusts … have been used by political parties for years. Len Brown’s campaign abided by the law and it’s a perfectly legal operation for raising money.”

Lewis is correct that trusts were legal for local authority elections – up until 29 June 2013. They have not not been legal for parliamentary elections for many years. Brown knew that trusts would be made illegal (or at least have to reveal their donors) for this election, but got in as much money as possible before the law change. Labour claims it wants transparency in electoral finance yet its most prominent members who is a Mayor does everything possible to avoid the transparency,

I wonder how many of the donors want their money back now?

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32 Responses to “Complaint re Brown’s Trust”

  1. duggledog (1,439 comments) says:

    In laws here from the UK.

    They know all about Mr Brown (well they have an interest in NZ so they would look)

    But I am mildly embarrassed.

    Still our economy shits all over theirs comparatively speaking!

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  2. Pete George (23,340 comments) says:

    I wonder how many of the donors want their money back now?

    It will certainly be far more difficult for Brown to raise money from donations in the future, partly because they must now be transparent, but mostly because he won’t be worth the investment any more, he’s too damaged.

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  3. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    Labour are as hypocritical as Winston Peters when they blather on about how bad secret trusts are.

    The problem is ALL political parties hide behind the ‘others do it too’ childish defence. We, the voters, accept it from our own team and that’s the real spoiler of democratic process. Our leaders become unaccountable because we let them off like we might children who edged on by their friends stole the whole bag of lollies from the pantry. Pointing and shouting at each other ‘they did it too’ we wonder off back to the BBQ and open a beer….

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  4. lolitasbrother (588 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    How long is it going to take Len to work out that in politics it’s not usually your deeds that unseat you, it’s the coverup and death by 1,000 cuts delivered by people who know where you buried the bodies.

    Typical bloody lefty Labour Party stalwart though…. It’s different when Labour do it… Asshole – Resign.

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  6. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    Len Brown knows he won’t get re-elected. He is sucking on the ratepayer tit for as long as possible to get as much financial benefit as he can because he thinks of Len and Len and Len.

    If Labour was to get in in 2014 they will give him a nice directorship.

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  7. kowtow (7,951 comments) says:

    The permanent political class, of all hues, behave the same.

    Do as I tell you ,not as I do.
    One rule for the ruling class another for us plebs.
    etc

    Is it any wonder the political process and its practitioners are held in such low regard by us mere mortals?

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  8. Reid (16,111 comments) says:

    How long is it going to take Len to work out that in politics it’s not usually your deeds that unseat you, it’s the coverup and death by 1,000 cuts delivered by people who know where you buried the bodies.

    Er…. If you didn’t bury any bodies along the way, there wouldn’t be anything to find, and those bodies along the way have been buried by your own deliberate actions, so it really is your deeds that have unseated you.

    But this is a blatant transparent clear hypocrisy that the MSM would have been all over even during the election if it were Banks who had done this with a trust but with Len, there has been hardly a word about it until other unrelated matters surfaced and made it convenient to resurrect as merely another straw for his back now that they’ve decided he needs to go. That’s the only reason they’re talking about it now, after having remained silent on it all through and since the election.

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  9. wat dabney (3,721 comments) says:

    Still our economy shits all over theirs comparatively speaking!

    er…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_average_wage
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

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  10. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Ahhh… Len Brown. The gift that keeps on giving…. for the Nats.

    I actually hope that Brown *stays* now. He’s Labour and his presence will stink things up in Auckland nicely for the election.

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  11. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    Reid

    Len would have been … ‘Naughty Len’ if he stood down immediately the affair scandal broke – but sure he’d be looking for a new job. I’m sure Labour would have looked after him and he’d be back on the tax payers teat in no time.

    Now, after all sorts of chicanery he’s everyone’s going to know he’s a typical ‘what’s in it for me’ lying cheating Chardonnay socialist.

    But absolutely, in the real world if you don’t do the crime you don’t need to do the time – no argument there. The rules for the hoi polloi do require accountability for burying bodies.

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  12. Sofia (830 comments) says:

    Bill de Blasio will be sworn in as mayor of New York City by former President Bill Clinton.
    What Len was aiming for? :-)

    But then
    Grace Haden, who stood unsuccessfully for the council in October on the Transparency New Zealand ticket, asked council chief executive Doug McKay, electoral officer Bruce Thomas and the Serious Fraud Office to investigate the New Auckland Council Trust – this thread

    • Penny Bright, who stood unsuccessfully for the council, has already communicated with the serious Fraud Office

    “Most people would be surprised to know that Hong Kong is now New Zealand’s largest international route, with over 400,000 passenger movements in the last year.”
    [I am not surprized by so many movements]

    and
    • McCready, retired accountant Graham McCready has just been bankrupted for the second time, said he would prosecute Brown under section 105A of the Crimes Act – corrupt use of an official document.
    Brown’s record on dealing with SkyCity over its proposed convention centre during the period would make up “part of the prima facie case” against the embattled mayor, he said.

    And it is not even New Year yet, Pants Down Brown

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  13. Nostalgia-NZ (5,045 comments) says:

    He should be taken to task by the ratepayers Association, he has no mandate because he kept his true profile secret from the public and traded on another that was deliberately false. An excuse has been delivered that Brown can’t be sanctioned because of the way the Super City was set up by Rodney Hide. I don’t buy that, Rodney Hide would have had a reasonable expectation that an elected official who traded on a false persona only to become embroiled in a scandal of the current scale, would have resigned. The rate payers Association should test the validity of Brown’s mandate in the High Court, with Brown funding his own defence.

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  14. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘He should be taken to task by the ratepayers Association, he has no mandate because he kept his true profile secret from the public and traded on another that was deliberately false. ‘

    What worries is that Brown could be setting up the next mayor to push the envelope even further without recrimination.

    Brown has set the precedent. Now mayors know their margins are far wider and will certainly live with their belts well let out.

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  15. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    wikiriwhis business

    Brown hasn’t really set a precedent, he’s a lefty with a massive sense of entitlement to other people’s money – nothing new there.

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  16. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    burt: When are people going to awaken to the fact that the left are too lazy and incompetent to provide anything for themselves, yet they have (as you say) a sense of entitlement to everything those that work and succeed provide. Time these leeches were sorted out once and for all, starting with Brown as an example.

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  17. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    Burt

    Hope that’s the reality.

    Leftist mayors will certainly not want to be tarred with the same brush because they certainly run the risk

    of being tagged ‘Browns people’

    Auckland does not want to run the risk of being called Brownsville.

    Nat mayors from now on ??

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  18. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    Wikiriwhis business

    I don’t think anything partisan will solve the problem. I’d be just as suspicious about a National party chump abusing the rules and sticking their nose in the trough. It’s like unions, the moment you affiliate with a single political party you sell out your ‘members’ for the party line. In Len’s ( or Banks…) case that’s the rate payers. With a union it’s the workers that get sold out but the results the same – same shit different bucket.

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  19. Chris2 (768 comments) says:

    $273,000 in anonymous donations is a significant amount of money and the specter of a conflict of interest, or corruption, is a serious concern.

    The organisations and individuals who made these payments (equivilent to one year of the mayor’s salary) did not do it out of benevolence; they want a return on their investment.

    This is why the anonymity equates to corruption.

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  20. Warren Murray (293 comments) says:

    It is a lot of money, some would have come from some serious players. And yet neither Len, nor his friends, nor his enemies could have come up with some sort of deal to get him to resign? Idiots! It’s too late now, but he should have been offered a lucrative job to resign when the story broke and told that the longer he left it, the smaller the job will be. Of course now it is too late for him to be offered any job. What will he do when he leaves office (Whenever that will be)?

    Unless he was offered a way out, what he has done (digging in) was his only option. Sad really – poor Auckland.

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  21. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,833 comments) says:

    Warren Murray

    You’ve summed it up well.

    Unfortunately the Labour luvvies and socialist MSM didn’t realise early enough that hey were backing a dog.

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  22. Keeping Stock (10,178 comments) says:

    I went to see The Mikado at the Court Theatre in Christchurch last night. The original script has been refreshed with lots of current references. But the gag that got the biggest laugh last night was not the Tony Marryatt/enema/cat flap joke, the digs at EQC and at the outgoing Christchurch council nor even the “sweaty as Dotcom’s undies” quip. No; the line that got the biggest laugh was a dig at Len Brown and his “upgrades”.

    They’re laughing at Len Brown the length and breadth of New Zealand :D

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  23. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Well T I understood that when Bevan Chuang was originally taken on by Len Brown, she’d been interviewed for a role in Logistics and Supplies.

    Why she got shifted to her later role, no-one really knows.

    It may, however, have originally been due to due to her badly understood interpretation of the job description.

    Having said that Len definitely must have decided she was over-qualified for the original job, at about the same time he first got her alone, and uttered that immortal line:

    ‘Supplies!”.

    sorry.

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  24. martinh (1,164 comments) says:

    i wonder if he uses any on whores

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  25. lolitasbrother (588 comments) says:

    unbelievably tiresome stuff again about Len Brown.
    when will you get off these sad travails Mr Farrar
    God we have small minds in New Zealand,
    yes mark it down rednecks,

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  26. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘Unfortunately the Labour luvvies and socialist MSM didn’t realise early enough that hey were backing a dog.’

    Still don’t understand

    As long as we belong to the Marxist UN our parliament is Marxist as well.

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  27. burt (8,034 comments) says:

    Fellow bloggers, the apologist has spoken – litasbrother is right. We shouldn’t expect accountability from a left leaning Mayor and we should move on. Let’s all just join hands and chant ‘but Len isn’t the only one with dubious electoral/campaign funding – move on…

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  28. anticorruptionnz (202 comments) says:

    I made the complaint to the SFO and the council with regards to the use of the trust, the issue in itself is not that of the use of a trust but also ” is it a trust”.

    Unincorporated trusts such as the one which provides donations to Mr Brown have no independent legal existence . In fact how do we know the trust exists, who has seen a trust deed. Unincorporated trusts exist through the legal entities which comprise it .. the trustees .

    guess you could compare it to my lawn mower making a donation to the council Berm fund , the lawn mower cant do it by itself and we all know that there is some one , a real person, pushing it. And then unless we actually see it, we cannot be sure that there is a lawn mower t .. it could be a goat or a cardboard replica and some weed killer to keep the lawn down.

    then we have to ask ourselves what is the purpose of the new Auckland council trust could it be.. “a means by which those wishing to offer bribes to the mayor of Auckland can do so though the veil of secrecy. ” does the trust even have a purpose.. How do people know to donate to it ?

    Who are the trusts beneficiaries ? could they be all those candidates standing for mayor ? could it be that the undisclosed trustee who has control of the trust funds channels it all to Mr Brown. what about the intended transparency ?

    We need to see the deed to know what the true intent of the trust is and see proof that it actually exists for some legitimate purpose , the trust could be supplying Mr brown with an ongoing source of revenue for all we know, could this be an attempt to circumvent the bribery laws ?

    Trusts have to exist and be legal before we can even consider whether or not they have a place in election funding.. all we have in the case of Mr brown is the name of something.. a string or words which imply that there is a trust. Like magic it could well be a deception .. does the trust really exist? and why do the trustees not reveal themselves as is expected in an unincorporated trust.

    Copies of my complaints are on line

    http://www.transparency.net.nz/2013/12/16/request-for-investigation-into-the-new-auckland-council-trust/

    http://www.anticorruption.co.nz/2013/12/20/secret-trusts-and-auckland-council/

    http://www.anticorruption.co.nz/2013/12/16/nz-one-of-worlds-least-corrupt-countries-its-done-with-bogus-trusts/

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  29. Fonterras Trotters (2 comments) says:

    “Unincorporated trusts such as the one which provides donations to Mr Brown have no independent legal existence”.

    You stupid woman.

    Unincorporated trusts have legal existence because of hundreds of years of Equity law.

    A trust does not have to be incorporated to be a legal one. There are common law legal trusts and common law equitable trusts. This has been the case for centuries.

    Have you ever considered going to the library before mouthing off relentlessly?

    You have no idea what you are talking about. None of what I am saying is new, nor any news to anyone who understands trust law.

    Trust law is part of the law of equity. Equitable trusts can be created orally.

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  30. Fonterras Trotters (2 comments) says:

    Nor do trusts have to have any explicit “public good” element as you seem to imply. They are legal instruments that have to satisfy three certainties certainty of intention, subject matter, and certainty of object.

    “Intention” means the intention to create a trust – which can be done orally. “Subject matter” means of what the trust consists. “Object” means certainty as to its beneficiaries. If those “three certainties” are satisfied, you have a trust. If done orally, that constitutes an “implied trust”, which is perfectly legal!

    Incorporation is irrelevant. You can incorporate a dog turd if you want – or, indeed, a blog…

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  31. anticorruptionnz (202 comments) says:

    @ Fonterras Trotters
    “Unincorporated trusts such as the one which provides donations to Mr Brown have no independent legal existence”. That is correct although the structure of a trust may be legal it is subject to a number of things.

    1. Let’s see a deed -without a deed how do we know it is a trust? It could just be a fancy string or words. For it to be a trust there has to be some evidence of it being a trust. Never assume.

    2. What is the purpose of the trust? Is it within the scope of the trust to give this money, could the trusts objective be to circumvent bribery laws? Or could it be funds for all mayoral candidates who are the intended beneficiaries and a trustee is being corrupt in handing all the funds to one person? – Never assume- If the intention of the trusts is to pervert the course of justice then the trustees need to be held accountable. A trust cannot be a “Harry potter magic cape” to allow criminal offending and hide the trustees.

    3. an unincorporated trust has no separate legal existence from its trustees , an unincorporated trust cannot sue or be sued , the trustees are the legal persons that is why land cannot be owned by unincorporated trusts nor are shares held by unincorporated trust, however the trustees can hold land and shares on behalf of the trust as trustees. And it is the trustees who are sued and are accountable for their actions. Every trust has at least one trustee – a real legal person who is identifiable and can be held accountable.

    To determine if a trust is legal you do need to see the deed and the trustees must also be acting according to the trust deed- if the trustee is not identifiable then the donations are simply anonymous.

    With regards to “They are legal instruments that have to satisfy three certainties certainty of intention, subject matter, and certainty of object.”-You are not wrong but going back to the case of Mr Brown how would anyone know how to make a donation to an oral or implied trust?

    Do you say to him “by the way I want to give you ¾ million dollars over the next three years but I want to do it so that there are no white envelopes involved. “

    So Mr Brown being a lawyer says “throw away the envelope I have a secret trust.- it’s your secret and mine ” (An oral trust in this case is just another word for “ white envelope” )

    A dog can donate and since you brought it up so can a turd but you still need a legal person to carry out the transaction. But I can’t see how you could incorporate a dog turd perhaps you can explain that. ( I actually think you’re talking shit )

    If the money dropped out of a Helicopter and into Mr Browns lap then he would have to recall seeing the Helicopter and hand the money over to the police otherwise it would be theft by finding. So if the money came to him he would have had to have been advised of the purpose the money and the intention for him to have it so how does that happen without a living person as interface to express it either orally or in writing.

    If it is an oral trust then where is the proof that it ever existed and what the intention was . And again we get back to that tricky issue that there will have to be a trustee somewhere

    So you can’t get away from the fact that there is, in each case, a real legal and identifiable person involved – so why are the trustees of the new Auckland council trust not identified. It is not the trust which handed the money over it was the trustee handing the funds over on behalf of the trust and that person has the legal responsibilities of disclosure under the local electoral act- lets hold them accountable.

    I have probably researched this better than you have , I have spent the past 8 years dealing with a sham trust AWINZ which pretended to be a law enforcement body . No deed was seen for seven years after the application was made I have proved that the trustees never met , never held any trust funds ,never ratified the deed and never made the application for law enforcement powers – a fictional law enforcement authority the person behind it was using public resources for private pecuniary gain .. Trusts such as this are our greatest vehicle for fraud, they are in reality nothing more than a fiction it is the magic the secret which Lawyers strive to protect .. it is the root of corruption

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  32. anticorruptionnz (202 comments) says:

    McCready plans to file papers against Len Brown

    By Rebecca Quilliam
    7:03 PM Thursday Jan 9, 2014

    Former accountant Graham McCready has Auckland Mayor Len Brown in his sights for his next legal endeavour and plans to file papers against him next week for corruption and electoral fraud.

    “I think there’s a case there and I think it’s a very important case and should be filed,” he said.

    The action relates to nearly $40,000 worth of free rooms and hotel upgrades Mr Brown failed to declare to the Auckland City Council and $750,000 donations to Mr Brown’s last two local body elections through a trust the New Auckland Council Trust.

    The action is the same Mr McCready successfully filed against Act leader John Banks, who will now be facing a trial in May accused of failing to declare donations.

    Mr McCready would be filing the papers through an Auckland associate, former police prosecutor Grace Haden, he said.

    He said the papers would be filed next Tuesday when he received his pension and could afford the $30 court costs.

    Ms Haden, now a private investigator, sent a letter to Auckland Council yesterday questioning the validity of the trust.

    She called for the council to investigate the trust.

    Ms Haden also sent a letter of complaint about the trust to the Serious Fraud Office.

    - APNZ

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