Len Brown private prosecution papers filed

By Jimmy Ellingham

Auckland City Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland City Mayor Len Brown. Photo / Dean Purcell

Charging documents for the private prosecution against embattled Auckland Mayor Len Brown have now been delivered to the city's district court.

The prosecution, laid by retired Wellington accountant Graham McCready, alleges Mr Brown broke the law in not declaring hotel freebies from SkyCity.

Unsuccessful mayoral candidate Penny Bright handed the documents over at 4pm on behalf of Mr McCready.

She said it was a shame that no other agencies had laid charges against Mr Brown in a matter she described as the first layer of a "big corrupt corporate onion".

The two charging documents state that between November 2010 and November last year, Mr Brown accepted a bribe for himself and his wife Shan Inglis when he received three complimentary hotel rooms and five free room upgrades from SkyCity and SkyCity Grand Hotels.

The gifts, worth about $4,600 in total by Mr McCready's own calculations, were "in return for favourable consideration" given by Mr Brown towards SkyCity and parent company SkyCity Casinos, according to the documents.

"He subsequently voted on matters relating to those entities without disclosing the fact of the gifts in his register of interests, or disqualifying himself," the documents say.

An EY (Ernst & Young) report published after revelations of Mr Brown's two-year affair with aspiring politician Bevan Chuang found the Mayor failed to declare $39,000 in free hotel rooms and upgrades in total.

Mr Brown took three free hotel nights and five upgrades at SkyCity hotels during the time he was championing the pokies-for-convention-centre deal.

Mr McCready has laid the charges, which each carry a maximum jail term of seven years, under a section of the Crimes Act covering corruption and bribery of public officials.

Mr McCready told APNZ he was an independent party. He did not live in Auckland, was not involved in the city's politics and had not met Mr Brown.

Although the dollar amount of the alleged corruption was small, important principles were at stake.

"We almost have a tradition of not charging public officials high profile people. I'm sure if other people did similar things they would be charged," he said.

A spokesman from Mr Brown's office said yesterday the Mayor was aware of the matter but had no comment.

Mr Brown has previously said 98 per cent of the hotels rooms were organised by his wife, with assistance from his office. None of the upgrades or free rooms were requested. He said he was "not totally focused" on the upgrades taking him over the $300 limit for gifts that must be disclosed under council rules.

- APNZ

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