Mr Cull to Cr Vandervis: “You, sir, are a liar. Now leave.” [screenshot]
Texts received from Lee Vandervis
Tue, 15 Dec 2015 at 7:48 a.m.
█ Message: Feel free to publicly contrast what I said to ODT reporter Chris Morris with what he said I said on today’s front page.
Lee, just checking – you planning on take big any action over the mayors comments today? Chris @ ODT
Not planning any action over Mayoral comments today because action over Mayor Cull previously defaming me as shonky’ finally got an unreserved apology from him but cost a lot of time and ratepayers money as did the farcical Code of Conduct sideshow. Shame that after all the evidence that I have provided especially what has been confirmed regarding my 2011 Citifleet allegations, that our new Procurement Policy still has not resulted in an independent Procurement manager position to oversee all individual managers’ contracting behaviour . Unfortunately my email programme died last Thursday and is still inoperative. Cheers Lee
Otago Daily Times Published on Dec 14, 2015
Councillor Lee Vandervis asked to leave a DCC meeting
Exchange erupts on discussion of DCC’s new procurement policy and ‘historical’ kickbacks.
### ODT Online Tue, 15 Dec 2015
Cull, Vandervis cross swords at council meeting (+ video)
By Chris Morris
A furious bust-up saw Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull call Cr Lee Vandervis a liar and order him to leave yesterday’s Dunedin City Council meeting. The extraordinary scene saw both men on their feet, their voices raised as they roared over the top of each other, before Cr Vandervis packed up in silence and left with a parting shot.
█ Report – Council – 14/12/2015 (PDF, 143.8 KB)
Procurement Policy (Proposed), December 2015
Related Posts and Comments:
14.12.15 Epere arrested
14.12.15 ORC, DCC – must be the season, minus goodwill, plus fear! and generous pay!
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr (elf)
36 responses to “Santa Cull’s idea of standing orders 14.12.15 #xmasface”
Now that’s quite remarkable. The libel/slander law in this country puts the onus upon the defendant to prove that the statement was true. In this case the statement that Vandervis was lying in this particular occasion was not only repeated but elaborated on, together with a claim that no evidence (unqualified) has ever been presented. That leaves Cull with a lot to prove.
Were it me, I would feel that I had no choice. To be called a liar in public, especially if you are a public figure is simply something that one cannot allow to go unchallenged – Unless it’s all absolutely true, and that I sincerely doubt knowing the nature of the accused.
Lee need not worry on my account – So much of my money disappears into the DCC that this seems like a good a destination for it as any. Personally, I do not believe that public figures should be allowed to insure themselves at public expense for libel/slander – It makes them careless, and gives them an unfair incumbency advantage over those who are not protected in this manner during public debate – QED.
I don’t believe Cull DOES have indemnity cover paid for by the DCC against defamation proceedings in this case because I don’t think any claim can be made that he was speaking for the council or on behalf of the council when he repeatedly and again after reflection called Cr Vandervis a liar. Nor I believe Cr Vandervis defamed Mayor Cull. Cr Vandervis spoke only of his own (self-alleged) actions in providing evidence of corruption. I don’t recall Cr Vandervis using the word ‘liar’.
And here’s a little bet – if Cr Vandervis DID start defamation proceedings against Cull, I bet Cull would settle as quick as a wink, even if (as I think likely) he had to pay up out of his personal money.) He is clearly strongly motivated to shut Cr Vandervis up at council meetings – and not just this one, as meeting videos will show. So I suspect that he wouldn’t like the publicity and scrutiny that goes with a court case.
Totally agree with Rob.
The law is clear and I believe if Lee is to retain credibility that he must issue proceedings. What is quite clear is that Cull may have called Lee a liar in the heat of the moment, but he reflected on it when Lee left the chamber, seemed to take advice and then repeated the accusation. What was also clear that Cull stated that Lee had never provided ANY evidence of shonky deals in the procurement process with him (Cull), Bidrose or Orders. That is an amazing claim that he can speak specifically on behalf of the last two CEO’s. And could he speak of Harland?
If I were Bidrose or Orders I’d either be distancing myself from Cull’s statement or issuing separate statements accusing Lee of lying. They can’t have it both ways.
This all assumes that Lee did in fact provide evidence of ANY sort to these people and it could include any wrongful actions of say, Harland or Bachop.
Remember when Cull actually uttered some opinion based on well-established knowledge about the actions of the ORFU? One little letter from some “offended” rugby types and Cull folded and was full of apologies. Lee does need to issue proceedings without delay after reviewing the Ch39 footage both when he was present and after he left. If he doesn’t, he risks the perception that he was indeed lying.
I do note the action of the other Councillors – sitting there like little stunned mullets.
If one calls the other a liar in public, and the other makes the same counter accusation, does that make a slander/libel charge neutral in court? (ie cancelling each other out). If so……
If Councillor Lee Vandervis chooses to sue for defamation for being called “a liar” by Cull, he has the luxury of two years from the date of publication to pursue the case. The timing of a defamation case, say some time just prior to the next election in October 2016, would place these reckless actions firmly before voters as well as the court. This would, at that stage, be the third defamation action faced by Cull.
Personally, I’d financially support an action for libel by Lee against Cull.
It’s simple Vandervis is the evidence! If he has concocted the story about him bribing the DCC employee he has done it to his own detriment.
No one is going to risk personal admonishment to support an untrue accusation of theft by DCC servants! Where is the benefit of such action.
Only the truth is the only possibility.
Proving the truth of bureaucratic fallibilty has always depended on personal sacrifice.
I reckon a give-a-little page would show the support for Vandervis whose decency and worthwhileness becomes more obvious the more often the Mayor tosses his toys because of useful contributions such as this latest – Vandervis pointing out the shonky way contracts are awarded in return for kickbacks.
Why is the Mayor so resolutely opposed to learning anything? Doesn’t he feel he needs to know anything Jinty hasn’t already told him?
Why isn’t he interested in where our rates money goes when it’s not going where it ought to be – for the direct benefit of ratepayers in general, not for a few with fingers in the till.
Why is he so gun-shy of Vandervis? Why does he turn into a quaking shrieking bad-mouther, losing all self-control?
Who pooped in Dave’s pants?
I would like to know if Allied Press has any contracts with the DCC and, if so, the nature of them.
Diane, one obvious contract between DCC and Alied Press Ltd (Dunedin TV subsidiary) is provision of video coverage of council meetings. Ask Sandy Graham in her role as Group Manager Corporate Services.
The fact that Dave Cull, from the Mayoral chair, called Cr Vandervis a “liar” and at the same time ordered him from the chamber leaves Cr Vandervis little option but to challenge the mayor lest he be seen as guilty by admission.
Lee Vandervis as a private citizen who actually was subject to the type of extortion he tells of, vindicates his claims, for which Dave Cull branded him a “liar” in the chamber whilst being video recorded for transmission on TV to the populace. At the same time it was being reported and published on the front page of the region’s newspaper. A classic example of defamation if ever there was. One can only wonder at the mentality of Dave Cull that his intense loathing of Lee Vandervis (for whatever reason) would cause him to act in such a stupid manner, bringing the office of the mayor down to that level. The man has to go.
I agree with Lee on this one re defamation. It is money and time wasting and saps energy. He is better to keep himself fresh and head butt when needed. Those who hate him…..like Dave Cull……would love it if he carried out a defamation case in election year.
The thing is we know that they know where the corruption lies. The longer the DCC sits and does nothing makes them in turn liable.
We still don’t have a forensic audit of the stadium despite the DCC privately acknowledging the dirt trails. Given this inaction, why would we doubt what Lee has told Cull et al? Same story of failing to act.
Peter, I suspect I may seem obtuse, but why would “those who hate him…..like Dave Cull….. love it, if Lee carried out a defamation case in election year?” I would have thought that if Lee has the evidence in dispute that it would be the last thing they would wish for. I could hear the ‘tumbrels’ rumble and see the ‘toothless hags’ sharpening their knitting needles as the case proceeded.
Calvin. I think what would be involved in a defamation suit could distract from raising issues that go to the heart of how council has mismanaged the last three years or more. Let’s face it the cock ups are numerous.
Some years ago Bev was wilfully defamed by ex councillors Guest and Butcher. Butcher directly, Guest by implication. In the end, it didn’t matter because their credibility was already in tatters and they were soon gone.
People have already made their minds up re Vandervis and Cull and from what l hear through unsolicited feedback Cull is on the backfoot. I rarely hear positive comments about him as opposed to some other councillors including Lee Vandervis. This might partly be because he is the leader who is inclined to get more flak but it can work the other way. Note Key. Obviously and unaccountably liked by many people.
Peter. I would argue that a defamation suit (should it come to that) would concentrate rather than distract from issues that go to the heart of how council has mismanaged the last three years or more. This is the Mayor we are talking about. He used his office to defame and order out of chambers Cr Vandervis for doing what he is charged to do. That is to act in what he sees as the best interests of his constituents. In doing that he has been called a liar publicly and with malice, as obvious by this and past treatment of him by Mayor Cull. It’s scurrilous behaviour and must be brought to account as a matter of principle.
Justice delayed is justice denied.
### ODT Online Wed, 16 Dec 2015
All quiet after Vandervis backhander claim
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council and its most outspoken city councillor have gone into lockdown after Cr Lee Vandervis claimed to have paid a backhander to a council manager. Cr Vandervis made the claim during Monday’s full council meeting, when he alleged he had been required to pay a 10% backhander to a council manager, prior to his time as a city councillor, to secure a DCC contract.
Now where does Chris Morris get this idea from? What I heard gave me the impression that a council manager had said to Lee Vandervis, when Lee had a business and was seeking a council contract, something to the effect of, “If you want the contract, give me 10% of the value as a ‘little present'” – or some such euphemism for ‘bribe’.
The fact that Cr Vandervis claimed that he had evidence of this makes me suspect that he allowed the manager in question to believe he was going along with this corruption in order to get evidence ie to entrap him. Surely it’s a matter of record just how many DCC contracts Lee’s business got, whether it suddenly stopped and any worthwhile reporter would be able to find those facts out. But, no, Chris Morris, as usual, busting a gut to blacken Cr Vandervis’ name, puts in the first paragraph of his story the allegation, presented as a fact, that Lee Vandervis was a party to giving and getting ‘backhanders’.
Suddenly, the villain of the piece is the ‘crooked’ Lee Vandervis and any culpability of the crooked council manager has vanished (when the implication is that the council manager was just doing what many of them were doing – just as more recently many of them had all been buying cheap cars ie the dodgy dealings were part of the institutional culture). Nicely done, Mr Morris, Vandervis unmasks fraud and corruption, which is what he has been doing for as long as he has been a councillor and you twist things to make it look as if Vandervis is the crook. F**** typical of your slimy gutter journalism.
Diane, it has become torturous by deliberate assertion and inference – thus Cr Vandervis’s need for legal advice and to issue a statement in the New Year in his own sweet time to put DCC and ODT in the correct frame.
Interesting that the ODT prints lots of comments, but as soon as you point out Vandervis told council something was fishy at citifleet in 2011, disproving Cull’s claim they knew nothing about it, the ODT goes into censor mode.
The ODT response about the citifleet cover-up has been so weak-kneed, it makes you question it they’re part of the whitewash.
I haven’t seen them once call Cull to account over his false claims.
It’s a difficult one for Lee particularly, as technically if he admits payment actually took place then that of itself could be an offence under the Secret Commissions Act, which provides:
3 Gifts to agent without consent of principal an offence
(1) Every person is guilty of an offence who corruptly gives, or agrees or offers to give, to any agent any gift or other consideration as an inducement or reward for doing or forbearing to do, or for having done or forborne to do, any act in relation to the principal’s affairs or business (whether such act is within the scope of the agent’s authority or the course of his employment as agent or not), or for showing or having shown favour or disfavour to any person in relation to the principal’s affairs or business.
You are of course absolutely correct, Problematic. It is Lee’s admission of his own guilt that characterises this as real evidence, according to Lee already given to Cull.
However, this crime has a statute of limitations which is well past.
However, the police should still investigate the recipient as he may still be employed or was employed less than six years ago. Then his other contracts should be examined and his suppliers also examined. The likelihood of Brent Bachop rising from the grave of course looms large.
Gurglars, caution! We don’t know if Lee Vandervis accepted to pay a backhander. He has been careful with his words all the way so flies may fall into the trap.
Also, history is not easily deliberately reconstructed at DCC because they like to blame the lack of computer records going back, necessitating VERY expensive audit search time for the paperwork if not destroyed already. And a lot of the fraud will have not been on paper in any case.
Well, before everyone starts putting the boot in, please remember that Cr Vandervis would have been about thirty at the time, probably trying to make a living and possibly with young kids . And everyone was doing it. And the MANY people who bought dodgy council cars will know how THAT feels. And also consider that he could have kept his mouth shut which, without any doubt whatsoever, is what an awful lot of people in Dunedin are also choosing to do right now. Pity there aren’t more whistle blowers, even if they have to admit some degree of fault on their own part. There’s such a thing as being tempted. And, as Oscar Wilde put it, most of us can resist anything but temptation. This just amounts to human weakness. But being downright EVIL is a whole other ballgame and those are the people I want to see held to account. Like JH, where the buck is supposed to stop.
I accept the caution, but the offeror is the one that should be investigated, that is the point, and clearly Lee Vandervis knows who this is. Also in Chris Morris’ article he states that Lee paid the backhander. So not only could Lee sue Cull, but in a different action sue Morris and the ODT, assuming you are correct and he has been extremely careful and clever also. Interesting.
Will those Councillors who laid a code of conduct complaint against Lee Vandervis have the balls to keep their so called high standards, and lay a code of conduct complaint against the Mayor for calling a Dunedin City Councillor a Liar
Tom: Thanks for reminding me. I looked into whether a member of the public could lay a Code of Conduct complaint against the mayor at the time of the kangaroo court because, as those who were present will remember, Mayor Cull was so intent on ambushing Cr Vandervis with a clearly prepared resolution censuring him no doubt deliberately NOT put in the agenda, that he also ambushed members of the public present. Standing Orders say that members of the public present are entitled to copies of all written information the councillors have at the meeting. So when Cull refused a written copy to Cr Vandervis (completely out of order to the point of being bizarre – councillors can’t possibly make decisions without knowing what the decision is about! -), Cull ALSO CROSSED ME! GRRRRRR! And Standing Orders make quite clear my right as a member of the public to have that information.
Similarly at the last meeting (14 December n2015) when Mayor Cull tried to shut up Cr Vandervis from talking about the Procurement Policy (council contracts and tenders), Mayor Cull had also ALREADY SHUT ME UP. Because he refused to allow me to speak on the same topic (and agenda item) at that meeting’s Public Forum.
Well, what Cull does to Vandervis and vice versa can be interpreted as personality clashes or political squabbling. But when the Mayor tries to (and does) curtail my democratic rights as a member of the public, then he is doing that not only to me but to every other resident and ratepayer of this city. And Standing Orders say that democratic participation should be valued and encouraged. Well, that didn’t happen, did it? I checked this out last time so I now know the process. Code of Conduct complaints are referred to the Mayor. But if it is the Mayor himself who is the subject of the complaint, then the matter must be referred to the Deputy Mayor. So I will be getting in touch with Chris Staynes. Looks like an open and shut case to me.
Dear Ms Yeldon,
This email is to confirm that I have received your Code of Conduct complaint and I am considering the matters raised, once I have completed this I will get back in touch with you.
Sent from my iPad Pro
On 17/12/2015, at 6:30 AM, Diane Yeldon wrote:
Dear Cr Staynes, I wish to make a Code of Conduct complaint against Mayor Cull. At the last full meeting of the council (14th December, 2015), I had given notice to Pam Jordan (Governance) that I wished to speak at Public Forum. When she told me that the meeting was heavily booked I said I would withdraw because my topic (support for alternative transport modes) was not time dependent. Then at 9.00 am I attended the continuation of the adjourned previous council meeting and saw the agenda for the meeting of the 14 th. It is a matter of record that I made an official information request about the Procurement Policy which was being developed by the Risk and Audit Subcommittee with virtually all meetings and all meeting content in non-public. Grace Ockwell responded by telling me that the proposed policy would be public when it went to a council meeting. So the morning of 14th Dec was my first chance to see this proposed policy (although I could have seen it a few days earlier when the agenda became public if I had known to look but Grace never told me WHICH meeting it would be going to.) So about asked Pam Jordan if I could speak at Public Forum to that agenda item because it was the only chance I could possibly get. What I wanted to ask the council was for the policy to be open to public submissions because the whole process had been totally non-transparent. There had been considerable public comment on Mr Epere with his criminal background getting a council contract after asking at a public forum (surely not in the first place an appropriate use of a council public forum to ask for personal advantage!). There had also been considerable public interest in the City Fleet fraud with the main question being, “Where is the independent oversight of in-house council activities to prevent fraud?” There had been further public interest in the issue of the contracted out mudtank cleaning with the public revelation that the contracted service had no sucker truck in Dunedin so clearly could not have been doing the work all the time. Then there was further public comment from an arborist who publically said that the tree felling at Logan Park cost the Council far too much. Then a local painter, Dean Kelly, publicly said he was unfairly deprived of council contracts because they always went to the ‘big guys’. This last comment raises the issue of whether the council should prefer local contractors over outsider to the city to stimulate the local economy and, further break up contracts into smaller chunks so that smaller local businesses can get a look in, (when times are hard, the odd council job may stop them from going under.) Further to this, there was the Public Forum submission of Ms Annaliese de Groote who asked that the DCC have a policy of giving work opportunities to people with disabilities. All of the above matters are in the public interest and warrant discussion y the community they affect.
Standing Orders require councillors to value participation and engagement in council matters from members of the public. Standing Orders also provide for setting aside 60 minutes of a council meeting for public forum speakers. If the 60 minutes is used up, then Standing Orders allow the meeting chair to put it to the meeting that public forum be extended. I was the only further speaker at that meeting (14th Dec). Mayor Cull knew I wanted to speak to the agenda item (17) of the Proposed Procurement Policy. He also knew it was the only possible opportunity I or any member of the public would be able to comment on it because it was not going to be open for public submissions and was going to be decided at that very meeting. Other Public Forum speakers who were not speaking to an agenda item preceded me. I am sure if the question of whether public forum might be extended (only by five minutes) to allow me to speak to an agenda item had been put to the meeting that the meeting would have agreed.
So the conclusion I come to is that Mayor Cull does not value input and engagement from members of the public. He does not do what he can to promote it. And so by his actions towards me at the last council meeting he has not upheld the council’s Code of Conduct.
I have read the procedure for Code of Conduct complaints in the Appendix to the Dunedin City Council’s Standing Orders and I await your further instructions on carrying out this process.
Must be Christmas nearly, today highest views since What if? began in 2007. It’s the combination of Dunedin happenings, especially at DCC, probably meaning people know what they have to do before October 2016 – that is, stand grounded super-skilled independent candidates with sound business acumen, and demolish Greater Debt Dunedin once and for all.
Thanks to all contributors and the very many silent readers.
When a Mayor of any city hears about serious corruption allegations about his own council, he can do a couple of different things.
He can investigate the possible corruption.
Or he can try to sweep the allegations under the carpet.
The second choice is not only foolish, but it is also potentially criminal. Because if the allegations are true, he has just become part of the corruption.
Well said, photonz.
A mayor with a modicum of sense would go the self-preservation route even if totally lacking in integrity and sense of responsibility towards ratepayers.
Being _told_ that paying a kickback is the way to secure contracts, is not the same as agreeing to pay that person a kickback.
Person who asked for kickback is vulnerable at that point because if other person – Vandervis in this case – is clearly unimpressed with this procedure and unwilling to play the game, they may reveal the demand for bribe if their fair and reasonable price for goods or service is not accepted.
Here’s an interesting conundrum. Let’s say (hypthotically) that you have been accused of being a liar, and that you are not. You could take legal action – Yes, but what if the person accusing you is a liar? More importantly, let’s say that your legal case would rely upon people around yourself and said liar telling the truth about your statements and activities (of which there is no other record) that you have supposedly been lying about. What happens to you in court if all these people are prepared to lie consistently, smoothly and continuously under oath in court to support the lying tale of the person that you are taking action against. Things wouldn’t end well for you, would they?
Let’s say that the group of people in question already had a good track record with regard to this particular activity. Well, upon reflection, however livid you were, and however unjustifiably damaging the lying statement made, you’d probably decide not to go for an attempt at legal redress would you – Simply to avoid further damage.
When matters reach that point in any society, then it’s pretty much open season on the reputation of any honest individual who opposes any well organised pack of liars, all of whom start to prosper mightily as a result – and then you have a very serious problem. That’s why, historically, lying has been dealt with consistently severely on first discovered offence, especially among the elite. If it becomes the norm, it rapidly makes societies ungovernable.
### ODT Online Sat, 27 Feb 2016
Vandervis inquiry ongoing
By Chris Morris
….Cr Vandervis has repeatedly refused Otago Daily Times requests to produce his evidence and has not responded to fresh requests for comment this week. The ODT understands Cr Vandervis has also refused to co-operate with investigators examining his latest claims. […] Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, contacted this week, would only say the latest investigation was continuing with no set date for completion.
While the GCFO is awaiting information perhaps Delta could be brought to the front of mind.
I thought the editor could have done a much better job on Saturday’s piece on Vandervis by Chris Morris.
In fact he probably could have condensed it to just one sentence – “No news from anyone, so let’s do a hatchet job.”
Yes frightful journalistic standard > Press Council.
ohh hai John Hansen