Speaker drops bombshell of a report into alleged wrongdoings by B.C. legislature’s top two officials

Speaker drops bombshell of a report into alleged wrongdoings by B.C. legislature's top two officials

WATCH: There are explosive new details surrounding the suspension of two top officials at the B.C. legislature last fall.  A 76-page report that was made public today details the allegations against the Clerk of the Legislature, Craig James, and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz.  The allegations include ‘flagrant overspending’, inappropriate expense claims, cash payouts and more. Mary Griffin reports.

In a 76-page report, Speaker Darryl Plecas and his special advisor, Alan Mullen, laid out explosive allegations of wrong-doings by the suspended Clerk of the Legislature Craig James and Sergeant at Arms Gary Lenz.

Mullen described some of the allegations from the report, labelled “Report of Speaker Darryl Plecas to the Legislative Assembly Management Committee,” which outlines allegations of misconduct by senior officials of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly.

“Instances where thousands of dollars of alcohol and equipment may have been misappropriated from the Legislative Assembly. Various improprieties relating to management of employees including retributive, or otherwise unjustified terminations. And taking steps to conceal information which could indicate improperly claimed expenditures,” Mullen said.

There are many more allegations, including buying suits and cufflinks at a tailor in London, and expensing it to the legislature. Ten thousand dollars worth of alcohol loaded onto James’s pickup truck to be delivered to a former speaker Bill Barisoff is another allegation as was more than $13,000 for a wood splitter and trailer was ordered for the legislature. That was allegedly was instead taken to James’ home where he and Lenz used the materials split firewood.

There are allegations of trips taken overseas with little work value, but billed to the legislature.

Liberal House Leader Mary Polak said she welcomed news that the legislature would be subject to a forensic audit but also had questions about the Speaker’s actions.

“I’m also concerned with respect to the sign-off on those expenditures,” said Polak.

“The report makes clear that in, I believe all instances, these expenses were signed off in many cases by the Speaker. Which raises the question to me, why are we only finding out about this now in this report?”

When asked by reporters if the alleged actions were a violation of rules at the legislature, Mullen responded, “there are clear policies and procedures that are in place and that have been violated.”

The two suspended officials, James and Lenz issued a statement late in the afternoon: “We are only now able to read the allegations for the first time, and we are confident that time will show they are completely untrue and false.”

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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