Daily Archives: April 15, 2015

Cr Lee Vandervis: Open Letter to the DCC Code of Conduct Committee

Updated post Fri, 17 Apr 2015 at 6:45 p.m.
Correspondence from Lee Vandervis in reply to Sandy Graham and Sue Bidrose; and forwarded note to Code of Conduct Committee – entered below last update to post.

Updated post Fri, 17 Apr 2015 at 1:46 p.m.
Correction received by email from Sandy Graham, DCC General Manager Corporate Services entered below Open Letter.

Received Wed, 15 Apr 2015 at 11:24 a.m.

█ Message: I have forwarded this Open Letter to the DCC Code of Conduct Committee in an attempt to debunk the many misleading claims around the DCC Citifleet fraud investigations.
I am happy to provide supporting email evidence for anything stated below that your readers may find questionable.
Cr. Vandervis

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2015 22:48:00 +1300
To: John Bezett, David Benson-Pope, Stuart Anderson
Conversation: OPEN LETTER TO THE DCC CODE OF CONDUCT COMMITTEE
Subject: OPEN LETTER TO THE DCC CODE OF CONDUCT COMMITTEE

OPEN LETTER TO THE DCC CODE OF CONDUCT COMMITTEE

Dear Sirs,

Three separate Code of Conduct issues have been raised against me this year following my Code of Conduct complaint against Mayor Cull which Deputy Mayor Staynes decided, without giving his reasons to me, not to refer to you.
There has been an uncomfortable mix of assertions and facts in the limited evidence that has been presented regarding the claim that I misled over Citifleet investigations, which I would like you to consider.

Provable facts include my long mostly non-public attempts to clean out dysfunctional management at the DCC since I was first elected in 2004. Partial success keeps me going.
I never expected whistle blowing to be popular, but neither did I expect such personal attacks for my trouble on behalf of our ratepayers.

Regarding the Citifleet frauds, my records show my many 2011 complaints to senior DCC management of: inappropriate DCC vehicle disposal, Citifleet manager selling vehicles to himself, credit card fraud, vehicle maintenance tender fraud, and tyre fraud are all well documented.
What is equally clear is that nothing was done to seriously investigate these complaints which all turned out to have substance until almost 3 years later when the Citifleet manager’s ‘sudden death’ resulted in new CEO Sue Bidrose ordering the DCC accountants Deloittes to investigate.
Dr. Sue Bidrose had been the most senior manager in charge of Citifleet and many other DCC departments prior to becoming CEO. It is my view that whatever evidence she might have given is not only inadmissible in terms of process because I had not been advised in advance of her evidence or her intention to give evidence, but that Dr. Bidrose is compromised because of her years as the senior manager of Citifleet prior to the Citifleet manager’s sudden death.

In the month following the Citifleet manager’s sudden death I repeatedly urged CEO Bidrose and head of Governance Sandy Graham to resist the temptation to minimize the frauds’ fallout by narrowing the investigation or by blaming it all on the dead manager. Although later admitting that the initial request for investigation related mainly to missing vehicles, CEO Bidrose gave me assurances from the beginning that Deloittes and then later Police would conduct a wide investigation. This provably did not happen with the Police, and I have no evidence other than yet another management assurance that it has or will really happen.

CEO Bidrose also gave me assurances from the beginning of the investigations that if I could provide hard evidence of DCC staff stealing even one dollar she would ensure prosecutions followed. Unfortunately the DCC records evidence which I have sought to complete hard evidence cases against both DCC staff and those involved outside the DCC has been denied me by CEO Bidrose, despite my making LGOIMA requests for it last year, namely: both the full unredacted Deloittes report, the Deloittes staff report, and the digitised evidential files which Deloittes collated for their investigation.
In that month following the Citifleet manager’s death I became very concerned when CEO Bidrose did not achieve a proper Police investigation apparently ‘because Police lacked the resources’, and that only the accounting investigation by Deloittes was to take place. I was relieved that Deloittes’ investigator Kyle Cameron seemed to have a good grasp of the many Citifleet complaints that had been made to me during his detailed interview of me, and that subsequent to the Deloitte reports Police were to investigate fully after all.
My concerns about Police having a belated investigation three months later are recorded, as are my concerns that Police requested that no public statements be made about Citifleet while their belated investigation was in progress. This despite Mayoral and CEO public statements that the Citifleet frauds were all the work of one now dead man.

I have highlighted with evidence to the SFO and CEO Bidrose the extreme slowness of a previous Dunedin Police investigation into DCC Landfill frauds that took more than three years before one individual was finally prosecuted, and I have written to the Serious Fraud Office unsuccessfully urging them to have an outsider’s independent investigation into the Citifleet frauds because local Police seem unable to do the job. CEO Bidrose claimed that the SFO had been contacted re the Citifleet frauds, but curiously the SFO’s Sara Morris said to me that no request from the DCC to investigate had been received by the SFO prior to my request for them to investigate.

My worst fears for the hoped for DCC investigation were realised when the Police investigating officer Detective Mathew Preece interviewed me at my home six months after the Citifleet manager’s tragic death, in what he described as the last week of his investigation. Detective Preece said that the scope of his investigation was only the missing vehicles and that he had already interviewed all other people he intended to interview. He said that all those he interviewed regarding missing vehicles offered the defence that they thought the deceased Citifleet manager was authorised to dispose of the vehicles in the way that he did, and that subsequently there would be no prosecutions of anybody.
I told Detective Preece that I had received many Citifleet complaints for years regarding not only vehicle disposal but fraudulent Citifleet credit card use, tyre supply, fuel supply, and fraudulent Citifleet maintenance contracts and that I had a motor trade business owner and others prepared to give evidence on these issues.
That night I wrote the following email to CEO Bidrose, Head of Governance Sandy Graham and to Detective Preece voicing my concern at the very limited scope of the investigation, and the investigating officer’s understanding that he could not investigate anything else because he did not have any wider complaint from the DCC to act on.

From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2014 22:57:31 +1300
To: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, “PREECE, Matthew”
Conversation: Police Citifleet Investigation
Subject: Police Citifleet Investigation

Dear Sue,

An hour and a half spent with Detective Matthew Preece and another Policeman called Regan has left me with deep concerns regarding the Police Citifleet investigation.
Mr Preece has informed me that the scope of his investigation has been limited by the complaint the DCC has made to the Police, and that this complaint only concerns missing or inappropriately sold DCC vehicles.

Mr Preece says that because Police have not had a complaint from you or the DCC regarding;
– fraudulent Citifleet tender processes,
– fraudulent Citifleet tyre supply contracts,
– fraudulent Citifleet maintenance contracts
– fraudulent use of DCC Citifleet vehicle fuel
– fraudulent DCC accounting of Citifleet credit cards and other payment methods used and Citifleet managerial oversight
– and fraudulent use and conversion of DCC Citifleet vehicles [eg the conversion of a DCC-owned vehicle by Mrs Bachop]

and that consequently none of these fraud areas is being investigated!

Mr Preece did say that if you as CEO were to request that he broaden his investigation to include these other areas and not just the missing cars, that he would broaden his enquiry to include them. He insisted that he would have to have a broadened complaint from you as CEO for this to happen, and implied that a complaint from me as a City Councillor would not be enough to act on.

I have highlighted to Preece and Regan the urgent need to use the Citifleet manager’s tragic death to investigate and prosecute all Citifleet fraud areas, as a failure to do so will result in the loss of an unprecedented opportunity to clean out the culture of entitlement at Citifleet and in other DCC departments.

Can you please with urgency broaden the DCC complaint to include the 6 areas of potential Citifleet fraud listed above, so that Mr Reece can broaden his enquiry to include them.

Can you please also now with urgency, forward to me all instructions to Deloitte regarding the Citifleet investigation as previously requested in my email of 26/10/14 as below.

Is it possible to meet with you at any time tomorrow at your convenience to learn whether you have broadened the DCC Police complaint or not?

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2014 18:23:41 +1300
To: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham
Conversation: LGOIMA requests
Subject: LGOIMA requests

Hi Sue,

Further to my verbal requests of a week or two ago please forward copies of all original correspondence and or other direction given to Deloittes in regard to their investigation of Citifleet.
I wish to have the original brief stating the terms of reference, the subsequent brief where the investigation needed to be extended, and any other direction written or otherwise given to Deloittes regarding the Citifleet investigation.

I am deeply disturbed by what I have seen in parts of the investigation conclusions appearing without covering page or any details identifying them as parts of the Deloitte findings in non-public parts of the Audit and Risk subcommittee meetings.

I note a severe slowing on responses to my recent LGOIMA requests, and hope this has been a temporary frustration.

Kind regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

Subsequent email from Police Area Commander Guthrie claimed as follows:

From: GUTHRIE, Jason [mailto:Jason.Guthrie@police.govt.nz]
Sent: Saturday, 15 November 2014 10:48 a.m.
To: Sue Bidrose
Cc: COSTER, Andrew; INGLIS, Malcolm
Subject: RE: Investigation Update

Hi Sue.

I can confirm that DCC staff did not (and have not) in any way attempted to restrict, curtail, or limit the scope of the Police investigation stemming from the Deloitte report either at the 1 September meeting or at any other time.

At no stage has any undue influence been exerted by DCC staff on Police as to what should be investigated and what should not be investigated.

At the 1 September meeting it was agreed that the focus of the enquiry would be limited to activity around the 152 vehicles as this was considered to be the most likely aspect to potentially lead to a criminal prosecution.

To avoid any confusion, from the outset the Dunedin City Council has been clear in it’s desire that Police investigate matters arising from the Deloitte report independently, fully, and thoroughly as Police sees fit. The DCC has also been very clear in it’s desire that if any individual(s) are identified as being involved in criminal activity linked to the matters within the Deloitte report that those people be held accountable for that criminal activity.

I hope this clarifies the situation.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

regards Jason.

Inspector Jason Guthrie
Area Commander | Dunedin Clutha Waitaki | New Zealand Police

Dunedin Central Police Station, 25 Great King St, Private Bag 1924, Dunedin, www. police.govt.nz
Safer Communities Together

Area Commander Guthrie’s response above says that “DCC staff did not (and have not) in any way attempted to restrict…the Police investigation”, but then goes on to say that …”it was agreed that the focus of the enquiry would be limited to activity around the 152 vehicles…”!

Commander Guthrie’s subsequent claim that the Police investigation would be widened has thus far failed to result in my being contacted to provide the further evidence I have already tried to give Detective Preece regarding credit card fraud, vehicle maintenance contract fraud etc. The lack of any prosecutions after so much time adds to my concern.
This seems to me to be another example of management claiming one thing but investigating officers doing another.

I am yet to be convinced either by Police taking an interest in my offered evidence or by any Citifleet related Police prosecutions that a serious Police investigation has really been effectively widened despite stated intention to widen, even at this now very late stage. I do not dispute Police management intentions, but see them as quite different to actual Police investigating actions, which seem to me to be more interested in sidelining me as a critic of their investigation than getting to the bottom of Citifleet fraud.

Regarding the two other loudness Code of Conduct claimed complaints, I do not recognise them and I remain far from content that CEO Bidrose and Cr McTavish at least have made ‘loudness’ statements to your Code of Conduct Committee [Cr. McTavish read hers] but not provided these statements to me in advance so that I could defend them. I see these loudness complaints as politically motivated attempts to ambush me outside of proper Code of Conduct process, and I do not accept that they can have any force.
The two staff that might have had reason to complain of my loudness, namely CEO Bidrose and Sandy Graham, have made no complaint and both have independently assured me that they did not make any complaint, CEO Bidrose with a hug, and Sandy Graham with an eye-roll.

I particularly resent the swearing allegation that no Councillor has admitted to claiming, despite Mayor Cull’s publicly repeatedly saying in the ODT that my swearing had been claimed by a Councillor. I note the irony that when Code of Conduct complaining Cr. Thomson left an earlier Audit and Risk meeting in a huff using the ‘F word’, that no complaint was forthcoming from anybody.

I take this opportunity to register my complaints regarding the running of this Conduct hearing.
1 – That the loudness complaints should never have been recognised as complying by the Committee for want of evidence.
2 – That I was not permitted to record the public part of the hearing in which I spoke, but that Media were allowed to take short-hand and thus given the opportunity to misquote me with impunity.
3 – That no reason was given when asked for, for not being able to record the pubic hearing.
4 – That parts of the hearing evidence were in public, but that apparently some evidence parts were non-public.
5 – that I have been given an extract only from your draft report, on grey paper marked confidential, ensuring that I can not as a result comment on it. The claim that “This is to ensure that the principles of natural justice and due process are observed.” is absurd, given that natural justice and due process have been absent throughout.

Looking forward to having this wasteful exercise in enmity drawn to a conclusion.
Cr. Lee Vandervis

—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

*Email addresses, phone numbers and web links removed. The company referred to above is “Deloitte”. The councillor surname is “MacTavish”. -Eds

CORRECTION

From: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Sent: ‎Friday‎, ‎17‎ ‎April‎ ‎2015 ‎1‎:‎31‎ ‎p.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr [What if? Dunedin]
Subject: Correction

Dear Elizabeth

As discussed, I wish to correct a statement made by Cr Vandervis in his “Open letter to the Conduct Committee” which is published on your website.

The statement that the CEO Sue Bidrose had “years as the senior manager of Citifleet prior to the Citifleet manager’s sudden death” is incorrect. Sue had Regulatory Services (which included Citifleet, Building Control, Environmental Health, Parking Services) added to her General Manager portfolio for less than five months in 2013, immediately prior to being appointed CEO. This is clearly not “years” and needs correcting. Cr Vandervis’ assertions that Sue’s evidence to the Conduct Committee was therefore compromised is not supported by the facts.

Regards

Sandy

Sandy Graham
Group Manager Corporate Services
Dunedin City Council

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: ‎Friday‎, ‎17‎ ‎April‎ ‎2015 ‎5‎:‎01‎ ‎p.m.
To: John Bezett, David Benson-Pope, Stuart Anderson
Subject: FW: Overestimation of Dr. Bidrose’s time as most senior Citifleet

Dear Code of Conduct Committee,

Please accept my apology for ignorantly overstating the length of time Dr Bidrose was most senior manager of Citifleet prior to becoming our CEO.
‘Years’ should read ‘5 months as the senior manager of Citifleet and then 6 months as CEO’ prior to the Citifleet manager’s sudden death.

Kind regards,
Cr Lee Vandervis

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:12:33 +1300
To: Sandy Graham, Sue Bidrose
Cc: Elizabeth Kerr [What if? Dunedin]
Conversation: Overestimation of Dr. Bidrose’s time as most senior Citifleet Manager
Subject: Overestimation of Dr. Bidrose’s time as most senior Citifleet Manager

Dear Sandy and Sue,

Thank you for correcting my overestimation of the time Sue was senior manager of Citifleet prior to becoming DCC CEO.
I sincerely apologise for my inaccuracy.
To avoid future inaccuracy on my part, can you please clarify which departments Sue was in a managerial position over and for what periods in the years Sue was at the DCC prior to be coming our CEO.

Kind regards,
Lee

—— End of Forwarded Message
—— End of Forwarded Message

█ For more, enter the terms *vandervis*, *cull*, *bidrose*, *citifleet* or *deloitte* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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