A former district health board member who took a governance course that cost taxpayers $5000 - after the board was sacked - won't be paying the money back.
Waikato District Health Board asked ex board member Crystal Beavis to refund the money three days after the Herald revealed she took the course five days after the board was sacked for high debt and dysfunction.
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But the DHB said Beavis, through a lawyer, declined to pay the money back.
"Waikato DHB requested repayment of its contribution to the cost of an Institute of Directors course attended by Ms Beavis," a DHB statement said.
"The DHB board had approved part-funding the course and payment was made prior to the board being disestablished.
"The request for repayment was declined via lawyers acting for Ms Beavis. It is likely that the cost for any legal action to pursue reimbursement would be significantly greater than any potential gain."
Beavis went on the five-day course in Auckland on May 12, five days after Minister of Health David Clark sacked the board and replaced it with commissioners.
Her lawyer Harry Waalkens, QC, said she was enrolled in the course in late January when the full costs were paid.
That included a portion from Beavis that was less than the DHB's $5000 contribution.
"The inference from the reporting to date that Ms Beavis has acted inappropriately in not refunding the $5000 is utterly rejected," Waalkens wrote.
"To the contrary, she has acted in complete good faith throughout."
Waalkens said Beavis was under no legal obligation to make repayment to the DHB of the portion of the total course fee.
"She has quite properly declined the DHB's unreasonable request."
When contacted Beavis said she did not want to make comment.
She previously told the Herald the company directors course was meant to run in March but was rescheduled to mid-May before Clark put the board on notice in April.
The public relations expert who now works for Hamilton City Council at Waikato Museum, said last month that she did not ask for a refund because she did not think one would be available.
Beavis previously said she received approval to attend the "non-residential" course in November 2018 from then board chairwoman Sally Webb.
"Every year there is an expectation by the Ministry of Health that DHB boards should conduct performance evaluations and consider training needs of board members, and there is a board training budget for this purpose," Beavis said.
She said when the original course was cancelled and she rebooked there was no indication the board would be replaced by commissioners.
"When the Minister of Health informed Waikato DHB in April that he was considering appointing a commissioner, no course refund was available."
Her reason for attending the course was to "develop and broaden my governance skills to add value to the Waikato DHB".
At the time of the course Beavis was in her second term having already served five-and-a-half years at Waikato DHB and three years as an Auckland District Health Board member in the early 2000s.