The cost of the EY report into mayor Len Brown’s affair with Bevan Chuang has come in at around $250,000. That’s the word from reliable, well-placed sources close to the council.
It’s an outrageous amount, and the reason it is so high can be traced directly back to the council’s then-CEO, Doug McKay. It was McKay who ordered the inquiry and then allowed it to blossom into an investigation far in excess of what was originally intended.
He earlier stated the inquiry would cost around $75,000. Then in December, he told the council the final figure was not yet known but it would be “over $100,000”. The final figure of a quarter of a million dollars is so far above these estimates, it begs the question: why did he provide such low earlier estimates?
The answer to that is obvious, and I suspect Simon is being spun a line from Len’s office.
Len lawyered up and hired QCs and the like to try and derail the report. Because Len was refusing to co-operate initially and threatening legal review, the Council was forced to hire a top QC also.
This inquiry would not have been needed if Len kept his private life away from the Council. If his affair had not occurred with a Council board member and contractor, had not used Council resources, had not involved liaisons in Council offices, and not had him getting free hotel rooms for the affair – then there would have been no Council investigation.
If Brown’s affair had been with Mrs Smith-Jones of Papakura and they met in their own time, in private residences or hotel rooms they paid for, then there is no way there would have been a Council inquiry.
Having Metro blame the poor Chief Executive for trying to save the reputation of the Council is obvious spin from Camp Len.
The only question now is how much of the $250,000 cost will Len pay, and how much will be left for ratepayers to pay. I think 50/50 would be equitable.