Tag Archives: Infrastructure and Networks

Tony Avery is “somebody’s” pet #gigatown lapdog

Tony Avery 3 Infrastructure and Networks General Manager Tony Avery resigned from Dunedin City Council on 28 August 2014, falling on his sword as a result of the Citifleet/Citipark fraud —something, the Council conveniently brushes under its carpet with ALL BLAME politically attaching (for insurance purposes) to the deceased former Citifleet manager Brent Bachop. Other council staff were clearly involved; one person alone does not dispose of 152+ cars, and related council assets. So Mr Avery, WENT…. But not really.
With all the scandal and corruption appearing, the Council supportively, extended “help” and salary repeatedly to Mr Avery, after initial news that he would work through to Christmas. Then, on Saturday 31 January the Council revealed that: “He would continue working fulltime, assisting [Ruth] Stokes and helping with the transition on key projects, until March 31, [Sue] Bidrose said.” (ODT 1.2.15).

But the latest DCC blinder:

“Tony Avery’s new gig (pun intended)
Helping Gigatown Dunedin secure sources of funding…”

Updated post 16.4.16
15.5.15 ODT: City readies to take advantage of Gigatown
Last month, [the Digital Community Trust] employed former Dunedin City Council infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery as interim project manager.

DCC Pets. Pet Projects. NO COUNCIL SHAME.
How do we define corruption, again.

Related Post and Comments:
12.1.15 Traffic lights: Anzac Avenue/Frederick Street intersection
29.12.14 DCC gets QLDC talent…. the weft and warp deviously weaves
6.11.14 DCC pals up with Chorus —gigatown and telecoms cabinets
9.10.14 DCC’s Daaave at university bollard, in his twilight
28.8.14 DCC: Tony Avery resigns
5.6.14 DCC Transport Strategy and Riccarton Road
22.5.14 DCC Transportation Planning —ANOTHER consultation disaster
24.4.14 DCC promotes Riccarton Rd as sole heavy traffic bypass
29.10.13 DCC (EDU) invents new job! —Gigatown/Digital Office
20.11.12 DCC vs Anzide Properties decision: The road “has no legal basis”

█ For more, enter the terms *citifleet*, *sh88*, *anzide*, *cycle*, *parking* or *riccarton* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: Tony Avery tweaked by whatifdunedin

9 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management

DCC: What happened to $20 million cash on hand? #LGOIMA

1. Council had $22 million cash on hand.
2. Council spent $20 million (cash) on “capital projects”.
3. Council won’t account for the $20 million.
4. Council seeks open cheque to make discovery.

Report – FIN – 08/09/2014 (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Interim Financial Result – 12 Months to 30 June 2014

On 8 September 2014, the Council’s interim financial result for 12 months to 30 June 2014 was tabled at a meeting of the Finance Committee. A week later, ODT (15.9.14) reported Mayor Cull as saying there was a “significant improvement” to the Council’s core debt position.

In the same item, “Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie said the turnaround was partly due to a significant change in the amount of cash held by the council. The forecast had included about $22 million in “cash on hand”, but, since Mr McKenzie’s arrival, the decision had been made to slash the amount to about $2 million, he said. The cash was instead used to pay for capital projects, avoiding the expected need to borrow for the work, which reduced the council’s need to borrow by $20 million, he said.” ODT Link

What if? flagged the ‘cash-no-longer-on-hand’ illumination with a post:
● 15.9.14 Cull’s council spent the cash

Capital projects?
How was the money spent, and who by?
Then, we completely lost sight of it.
As the following correspondence shows, Council spent $20 million of ratepayer funds but refuses to declare where the cash went. Mr McKenzie plays the convenient game of obfuscation —like so many before him, and alongside him now at DCC.

█ Apparently, I’m to be personally charged for demanding relevant paperwork to track down the Public Money.

Accountability? Transparency? What the HELL is that?
NOT something DCC values, that’s a dead cert.

[begins]

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Tuesday, 23 September 2014 11:13 p.m.
To: Sandy Graham [DCC Group Manager Corporate Services]
Subject: LGOIMA request

Dear Sandy

Re: Cull warns debt still hurdle for council (ODT 15.9.14)http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/315949/cull-warns-debt-still-hurdle-council

Within the news item it says:

“The forecast had included about $22 million in “cash on hand”, but, since Mr McKenzie’s arrival, the decision had been made to slash the amount to about $2 million, he said.

“The cash was instead used to pay for capital projects, avoiding the expected need to borrow for the work, which reduced the council’s need to borrow by $20 million, he said.”

I would like the DCC to precisely itemise the way(s) in which the city council has spent this $20 million of “cash on hand”, to include the capital projects by name or other reference; the name(s) of the relevant council department(s) and or committee(s) that incurred this expenditure; the dates of expenditure; the spending delegations attributable to which, by name, formal signatories on account; and any other information in legible form that would assist the city council to meet my request in a forthright, full and transparent manner.

I look forward to reply.

Thanks, kind regards

Elizabeth Kerr

__________________________

From: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Sent: ‎Wednesday‎, ‎24‎ ‎September‎ ‎2014 ‎9‎:‎01‎ ‎a.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Cc: Grace Ockwell [DCC]

Thanks Elizabeth

I have forwarded to staff to consider and a response will be provided as soon as possible but in any event within twenty working days. It may be that I need to come back to you with questions of clarification or refinement depending on how this information is stored/held but I will be in touch as required.

Warm regards
Sandy

__________________________

From: Elizabeth Kerr
Sent: Friday, 31 October 2014 1:42 p.m.
To: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Cc: Grace Ockwell [DCC]
Subject: Re: LGOIMA request [DCC expenditure of $20M cash on hand]

Dear Sandy

The official information request I made on 23 September 2014 (see emails [above]) is yet to have a response, we are now well outside the twenty working day limit.

Please provide update on how soon the information will be released.

Many thanks, and kind regards

Elizabeth

__________________________

From: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Sent: ‎Friday‎, ‎31‎ ‎October‎ ‎2014 ‎2‎:‎03‎ ‎p.m.
To: Elizabeth Kerr
Cc: Grace Ockwell [DCC]

Sorry Elizabeth.

My fault. I had been supplied with a response and had not forwarded it.

The Group Chief Financial Officer advises:

“This request cannot be completed for what they are requesting as I do not know what capital and operating activity we would assign to the $20 million. In addition the work involved in getting the invoices etc would be significant. What has happened is that we have used our cash on hand to fund council activity (operating and capital) instead of borrowing to do this.”

If you would like me to pursue the possibility of tracking down invoices, I would need to consider charging for this work because there would be significant collation and research required, and even then, we may not be able to fully answer your question. Let me know if you would like me to investigate this further.

The GCFO has indicated he is happy to meet and talk through the issues but is unable to provide any further information at this stage.

Again, apologies for my tardiness.

Sandy

__________________________

From: Elizabeth Kerr [mailto:ejkerr@ihug.co.nz]
Sent: Friday, 31 October 2014 2:05 p.m.
To: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Cc: Grace Ockwell [DCC]; Grant McKenzie [DCC GCFO]
Subject: Re: LGOIMA request [DCC expenditure of $20M cash on hand]

Dear Sandy

Thanks for getting back to me promptly today. I acknowledge receipt.

I’m considering your response fully and as a consequence looking into all my options.

Kind regards, Elizabeth

[ends]

Serendipitously, the same day (31.10.14), I heard from Cr Lee Vandervis —unbeknownst to me, a couple of days earlier he had voiced a similar query about the [MISSING PRESUMED DROWNED] $20 million “cash on hand”, and more, following his study of the Council’s Annual Report 2013-14.

Report – Council – 30/10/14 (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Approval and Adoption of Annual Report

[begins]

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2014 22:38:15 +1300
To: Sue Bidrose [DCC], Sandy Graham [DCC]
Conversation: Annual Report
Subject: Annual Report

Hi Sue,

The beginning of the Annual Report seems very reassuring with your highlighting our billion dollars worth of saleable assets, and our debt levels in pretty good shape and improving.

Looking further into the body of the report there is a lot of tabulation of various kinds of assets, but I seem not to be able to find the same depth of discussion on debt or the historical debt graph that I fought for years to finally get included. [A Consolidated term liabilities figure of $622,843,000 does appear on p199. I had been led to expect a historical graph of DCC debt and of total consolidated debt]
Is it possible to also have a graph of all inclusive historical staff costs included? There was one a while ago but it seems to have been dropped again.

At the end of the document I find a number of graphs that feature a fetching orange colour bar that seems to indicate that our “thriving and diverse economy” under Affordability has exceeded our LTP quantified limit on rates income in 2013 and 2014, exceeded the quantified limit on rates increase this year, slipped below the balanced budget benchmark, and also slipped below the essential services benchmark for this year.
It is no surprise to me that Citipark has not achieved targets, but I am surprised that your opening comments are so upbeat when the closing benchmarks are not met and the quantified limits seem to be exceeded.
These benchmark and limit graphs may have been misinterpreted by me because despite reading them several times I remain unsure of their real import.
Is it possible for someone to explain to me how the ‘pretty good shape and improving’ overview is supported, especially in light of the $20 million cut [from $22 million] in cash on hand and various sales that we have apparently recently instituted, combined with further expected constraints on DCHL subvention payments?

Looking forward,
Lee
__________________________

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 15:34:29 +1300
To: Debbie Porteous [ODT], Nicholas GS Smith [ODT]
Conversation: Annual Report
Subject: FW: Annual Report

Hi Debbie,
The Tuesday 28th email [above], which still remains unanswered, may help explain some of what deeply concerns me regarding yet another DCC Annual Report presented as up-beat.

Kind regards,
Cr. Vandervis
—— End of Forwarded Message
—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

If there was a plot to hide the way $20 million slid from sight, it thickens.
Not done yet, because I’m not a turkey dinner.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

20 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, Construction, Cycle network, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Enterprise Dunedin, Heritage, Hot air, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZTA, Otago Polytechnic, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Stadiums, Tourism, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design, What stadium

DCC Fraud: Further official information in reply to Cr Vandervis

Following on from the previous post.
DCC has established an Investigation Steering Group (membership unknown).

Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
Mon, 1 Sep 2014 at 9:51 p.m.

[begins]

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:09 a.m.
To: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Subject: Re: 8 x LGOIMA requests

Hi Sandy,

Thank you for responding so rapidly on the 8 questions.

To clarify, have the DCC asked for the SFO to investigate the Citifleet frauds and when, or has the SFO only been briefed indirectly by Deloittes as in answer 7?

Also, are your responses public or confidential?

Cheers,
Lee

——————————

From: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2014 11:08:40 +1200
To: Lee Vandervis
Subject: RE: 8 x LGOIMA requests

Dear Lee

I have followed up your question of clarification about the SFO and can provide the following response:
Under the circumstances of a suspected fraud (as per the Citifleet situation at the beginning of the investigation), the normal course of events is that the SFO is informed of issues when they arise. Deloitte did this via a phone-call to the SFO on 12 June 2014, after a discussion with DCC staff at a meeting of the Investigation Steering Group. The steering group were fully aware of the fact that Deloitte was speaking with the SFO and were informed of the outcome of the call. The call to the SFO was us asking the SFO to consider an investigation.

The discussion on 12 June 2014 (which was with a case officer and with Nick Paterson, the GM Fraud and Corruption) summarised the facts and circumstances of the Citifleet issues and sought the view of the SFO.
It is then the SFO’s decision as to whether they commence their own investigation. This is based on the criteria set out on their website (copied below)

There are multiple victims (usually investors) of the suspected fraud

● The sum of money lost exceeds $2,000,000

● The alleged criminal transactions have significant legal or financial complexity beyond the resources of most other law enforcement agencies.

In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws

Based primarily on the fact that the main suspect was deceased and that the actions appeared to be those of one corrupt individual rather than fitting within the definition of bribery and corruption, the GM Fraud and Corruption decided that the best course of action was for Deloitte to complete its investigation and provide a copy of the report at the conclusion of its work. During the investigation and with permission from DCC, Deloitte provided an update on the investigation to SFO on 07 July 2014 via letter. A copy of the full report was provided on 21 August 2014. We have heard nothing back from the SFO to date.

As to confidentiality, these OIA replies are all able to be made public and as such they will be published on the website and I will be providing a copy of the information to all Councillors.

Regards
Sandy [Group Manager Corporate Services, DCC]
—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

Note: The auditors that Dunedin City Council has contracted to investigate fraud carry the name Deloitte New Zealand, or simply Deloitte. Link

Related Posts and Comments:
30.8.14 DCC Fraud: Cr Vandervis states urgent need for facts…
28.8.14 DCC: Tony Avery resigns
27.8.14 DCC whitewash on serious fraud, steals democracy from citizens
26.8.14 DCC: Forensics for kids
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

24 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, DCHL, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property

DCC Fraud: Cr Vandervis states urgent need for facts and the record to be made public

Lee Vandervis + Dave Cull [photos via leevandervis.wordpress.com] BW (1)

The following correspondence is reproduced in the public interest.

Received from Lee Vandervis
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

Message: You may be interested in the following email trail, which I believe highlights a serious impediment to the cleansing process which is taking far too long at the DCC.
I am happy for you to publish.
Regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

[begins]

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:36:35 +1200
To: Dave Cull
Cc: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
Conversation: Recent events
Subject: Re: Recent events

Dear Mayor Cull.

Denial is not just a large river in Egypt.
You confirm the urgent need for facts and the record to be made public.

Regards,
Cr. Vandervis

——————————

On 29/08/14 2:41 PM, “Dave Cull” wrote:

Lee,
I do not believe that many of your claims below are borne out by the record or the facts and stand by my comments.

Dave

Sent from my iPad

——————————

[conversion code deleted from body text, punctuation restored -Eds]

On 29/08/2014, at 11:16 AM, “Lee Vandervis” wrote:

Dear Mayor Cull,

I believe that you have been long aware of my efforts to have Mr Bachop’s and other DCC departments investigated for the kinds of inappropriateness currently evident in Citifleet.
In particular you now know having read the Deloitte report, [and I believe have long known] that I have been calling for and instigated my own investigations into Citifleet vehicle disposals and contracting arrangements since at least 2011. I have been responding politically, then and since, to many business and individual requests and questions from, for example Turner’s Auctions, regarding Citifleet. Answers to many of my questions have been denied or not forthcoming, and the public right to know has been consequently frustrated. Your public claim that CEO Orders began the current investigative and restructuring process [by starting with DCHL?!] does not align with information I have, or with information and requests for investigation that I made to CEO Orders many years ago.

My understanding is that the Police were not moved to investigate Citifleet when contacted by the DCC over 3 months ago, even when the evidence was so tragically overwhelming that Deloittes were contracted by CEO Bidrose [costing us $200,000] to investigate. I am not convinced that Police requests for a further unspecified number of months of ‘no public comment’ is in the public interest, and my discussion with the Crown Solicitor was also unconvincing on this point.
You say below that ‘the investigation is not a process which you as a Councillor (or I) in our governance roles have a right to’, yet you have the right and have read the Deloitte Citifleet Investigation Report and made numerous public comments, and I have been denied seeing it even on a ‘grey papers’ basis and am being muzzled. Your ‘operational only’ claim is generally questionable and in this case fails on all counts.
We will never know all the facts, especially if the withholding of the Deloitte report and more public muzzling continues.
In one of your media statements you say that Council have agreed not to comment until the Police have completed their belated investigation, but this is not true. Councillors have not been given the opportunity to even discuss a further number of months of no comment on Citifleet, leave alone agreed not to comment. I have certainly not agreed and do not agree.

Thank you for acknowledging my long standing demands that DCC ‘heads should roll’. My long political experience is that timely public disclosure will be necessary to ensure that the appropriate heads are dispatched, and that an embedded DCC culture of self-entitlement across many departments is permanently erased.

Regards,
Cr. Vandervis

——————————

On 28/08/14 5:30 PM, “Dave Cull” wrote:

Lee,
The investigation that the CEO has contracted Deloittes to conduct into Citifleet is an operational matter involving, among other things, employment and potentially criminal issues. From the outset the Police, Serious Fraud Office, and Dept of Internal Affairs have been kept informed.

The investigation and subsequent internal reviews were instigated within DCC.
However the investigation is not a process which you as a Councillor (or I) in our governance roles have a right to, or responsibility for, interfering in or giving direction on, except as part of a whole of Council directive.

The investigation included the question of whether the problems uncovered at Citifleet had been the subject of previous allegations or questions, and if so, whether those had been responded to appropriately by management, including CEOs. Deloittes will report back on that.

The request not to release the report and the consequential request not to comment came not from the CEO (or me) but from Police and the Crown Prosecutor. Indeed both the CEO and I feel frustrated and disappointed as you do, that the report, which was completed only a week or so ago, must now sit under wraps for a further period.

However it is important that nothing jeopardises the ability of the CEO and police to hold people to account. You often demand that ‘heads should roll’
Your claims and demands, without knowledge of the investigation findings, could do just that: put the aims of the investigation to hold people accountable at risk.

I am not suggesting Councillors do not have the right to ask questions or make requests. What we do not have a right to do is step outside our governance roles, interfere with legitimate operational matters particularly without knowing all the facts, and unilaterally jeopardize Council and ratepayer interests. If we do we should be fully held to account for that.

Dave

Dave Cull
Mayor of Dunedin
—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

Note: The auditors that Dunedin City Council has contracted to investigate fraud carry the name Deloitte New Zealand, or simply Deloitte. Link

Related Post and Comments:
28.8.14 DCC: Tony Avery resigns
27.8.14 DCC whitewash on serious fraud, steals democracy from citizens
26.8.14 DCC: Forensics for kids
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: leevandervis.wordpress.com

23 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, DCHL, Democracy, Economics, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property

DCC: Tony Avery resigns

Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said in the statement she had “immense respect for the honourable action Tony has taken”.

Tony Avery 3### ODT Online Thu, 28 Aug 2014
Top DCC boss Tony Avery quits over Citifleet scandal
By Chris Morris
The Dunedin City Council’s alleged Citifleet fraud has claimed another victim with the shock resignation of infrastructure and networks general manager Tony Avery. Mr Avery announced his decision to quit the council in a media statement this afternoon, saying he accepted “the management buck stops with me”. That was despite not being aware of, or involved in, the alleged fraud, or receiving information that alerted him to it, he said. Read more [comments closed, again]

● Today’s cosy news is an ODT/Ch39 exclusive – no other News Media given scoop. Tomorrow’s ODT will feature an exclusive interview with Mr Avery who says ‘he has done nothing wrong’ but he has ‘some strong things to say’ !! (ODT interview given prior to his statement, we hear)

● (Ian Telfer) RNZ News
Council manager resigns over fleet – DCC staff told this afternoon. ‘In a statement, Mr Avery said he was not involved with and did not know about the fraud, but relied on internal financial controls which let him down.’ Link (subtle dig at former CFO ?)

● (Wilma McCorkindale) Stuff via Southland Times
Dunedin council manager resigns amid fraud probe – ‘Avery, with the council since 2000, has fallen on his sword in the wake of revelation the DCC has been the victim of an alleged sizeable employee fraud within its Citifleet unit, which manages the council’s vehicle fleet.’ ‘An investigation by Deloitte was “very clear” there was nothing to indicate Avery was aware of the alleged fraud. Bidrose stressed Avery was not one of the DCC staff currently involved in employment processes resulting from the suspected activity.’ Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
█ The site owner reserves the right to take down or abridge any comment.

*Image: Tony Avery tweaked by whatifdunedin

81 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property