Mayor Brown lawyering up at ratepayers expense

It is worth looking at how much the fallout from Len Brown’s affair is actually costing Auckland ratepayers.  It is clear that there are top and expensive lawyers all over the aftermath of Brown’s various indiscretions.

Mayoral Chief of Staff, Phil Wilson, let it slip to the Taxpayers Union that everything that is being said is being raked over by defamation lawyers. It is one thing to threaten this over the phone but to put it writing seems foolhardy.  It is an eye-wateringly expensive exercise to pore over any and all correspondence, OIA request, phone call and email made to Council or the Mayor’s office about the affair.

Fran O’Sullivan reported yesterday that Council CEO “McKay has brought in a top outside lawyer to advise him in his dealings with the mayor’s office”. Another eye-watering bill on the rate payer – of course.

If McKay has brought in the lawyers then Ernst and Young will have done the same thing  which will be part of the bill for the investigation. If McKay is lawyered up, Brown will have a QC too. There’s only one person who signs off the Mayor’s expenses and that is Chief of Staff Phil Wilson so we can presume the ratepayers of Auckland are paying for a lawyer for him to hide behind too.

Of course the latest is that the Hong Kong trip was not included in the annual return of interests because the Chief of staff didn’t include it.

Mr Wilson said he understood Mr Brown did not file an annual return of interests by July 31 under the code of conduct because it was under review at the time.

“As a consequence, elected members – and myself on Len’s behalf – did not file returns understanding they would be requested to do so at a later date,” Mr Wilson said.

It is all very well to not include the trip on the official return of interests but to deny the trip took place and give multiple versions of what did or didn’t take place makes it look as though a Chief of Staff is hiding something on behalf of his boss, the Mayor.  Perception is everything and it appears that Wilson has failed that long time test in politics.

It may have been a few episodes of two minutes, but this is beginning to look like the most expensive sex ever.