B.C. Liberal MLA Mary Polak (front) has clashed with B.C. legislature speaker Darryl Plecas, who chairs the legislature’s management committee. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas has released a 76-page report on his allegations of financial irregularities that details overseas trips, cash payouts and misuse of “thousands of dollars of alcohol and equipment.”

Plecas convened the Legislative Assembly Management Committee Monday, where members voted to release the report so the public can understand why he arranged the suspension of clerk Craig James and sergeant at arms Gary Lenz, the two senior administrators of the B.C. legislature.

James and Lenz issued a statement late Monday, denying the report and calling its public release without contacting them an effort to “further blacken our reputations.

“We are only now able to read the allegations for the first time and we are confident that time will show that they are completely false and untrue,” the statement says.

Also late in the day, the speaker’s office released a series of “exhibits,” copies of expense claims and other documents to back up the report.

Members of the all-party committee voted to bring in an auditor-general from outside B.C. to review the operations of the legislature, including employee human resources practices. They also voted to ask lawyers representing James and Lenz to respond to the allegations.

“Based on what I had seen and heard, I believed that there was a real possibility that crimes may have been committed, and I felt obligated to bring those matters to the attention of the RCMP,” Plecas wrote in the report.

RELATED: B.C. Legislature officers suspended for police investigation

RELATED: B.C. Liberals call for outside legislature audit, NDP refuses

Allegations include:

• “flagrant overspending on luxurious trips overseas with questionable business rationales”

• “inappropriate payouts of cash in lieu of vacation, which appears to total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars”

• the purchase of a wood splitter, billed to the legislature but delivered to James’ home

Plecas describes his first overseas trip to Britain, soon after he became speaker in the fall of 2017. He said James told him they were to attend several meetings, including one with the MI5 security service.

Plecas said the trip began by checking into the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, “a very expensive hotel across the river from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament,” where there were several “meet and greet” meetings without substantive business discussed.

The trip included a visit to the store that makes ceremonial robes for the House of Lords, where he ordered a new Speaker’s hat, and Lenz and James ordered suits, including one that cost $1,157 that Plecas said was expensed to the legislature.

The report also describes a split between Lenz and James, where Lenz is said to have suggested to Plecas that James be removed from office for his management practices.

The full report is below.

B.C. NDP house leader Mike Farnworth said he is “shocked” with the report and the documentation supplied with it, and he expects the public will agree.

B.C. Liberal house leader Mary Polak said she supports the idea passed unanimously by the committee, to invite an auditor general from another province to review the state of the B.C. legislature’s $70 million operating budget.

Speaker's Report to LAMC Jan21.19 by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Celebrate with Cycle Alberni for Bike to Work and School Week

Celebration stations kick off at Jumping Slug Community Cyclery

Two Alberni Valley hockey players win bronze at NAHC finals

Team BC male awarded a bronze medal after controversial decision

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Port Alberni to hold Walk for Dog Guides on May 26

Fundraising event one of 300 across Canada

Mattress recycling program provides work experience in Port Alberni

Recycle Matters was started by INEO Employment Services

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read