Is it Dirty Politics or Corruption in the Township of Langley? Well, you tell me, the legal issue was nothing but a dedicated charade to rid themselves of a problem???” – Final Part 4 of 4

Posted: December 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

The question…. What kind of municipal government do you want? Transparent, listens to the community and states the truth OR one that hides the truth from you in favor of friends and insiders?

Here is The Rest of the Story….  Here is Part 4 of a 4 part series looking at the truth behind what really went on during my three year term in the Mayor’s office. Is this the level of respect you want or are happy with from members of Council towards your choice for Mayor or for that matter to any other duly elected member of Council? You be the judge!   

So back to the controversy…. As stated earlier it was the reaction by a few well-connected individuals, some call them the Township of Langley Establishment, who have strong connections to senior municipal staff and those currently elected, against my actions and efforts to stop all the back room dealing. This applied to very questionable actions by the Council that I ran on and was elected to serve. Difficult? What an understatement!

From the outset I was fully aware that my actions which amounted to stepping on some BIG TOES could cost me, but I will admit never did I believe the steps that these people would go to attack me. The term dirty politics doesn’t come close to the depths of their attacks which fully included members of Council supporting their plan.

The Inconvenient TRUTH and FACTS about the INFAMOUS BROWN ENVELOPE and RCMP investigation into Mayor Green!  

It is long overdue for the citizens of the Township of Langley to be made aware of the TRUTH!

Council’s actions and reaction in response to information that I brought forward to them for information, was nothing short of outrageous. The reaction by Council members was nothing less than politically motivated, all timed and designed to short circuit a duly elected Mayor from performing his duties in office. It was a misguided ideological attempt to short circuit the voter’s wishes. Do you think I am overreacting in my conclusion? Only if you believe in the tooth fairy!

So what really happened to motivate the actions by members of council against the Mayor?

  • During three breakfast meetings in the months of May and June of 2009, arranged by a prominent citizen and friend, a casual comment was made at each meeting by a prominent citizen (one in each meeting, more on them later) about a company called Brownshack Developments Ltd., a name that I honestly had never heard of before. These meetings, just a few of hundreds that I held with citizens throughout the municipality, were just casual conversations and an introduction of myself, to residents and business owners, wanting to meet the new Mayor. Sounds simple doesn’t it? By the way, I have witnesses to these facts.
  • In August of 2009 I received an email accompanied by a B.C. Company Summary and a Corporate Securities Register with respect to this company. That register was an eye opener to me in that it contained the names of spouses of a few prominent citizens who had been shareholders of that company from May 15th, 1996 thru to March 2nd 2005 connected to one elected Langley representative (provincial) and a senior employee with the Township of Langley.
  • This news, as it was new to me, was an eye opener and on first glance looked POSSIBLY concerning. While I say that, the next decision was what to do with it, IF ANYTHING. For the ensuing number of weeks I kept those documents in my office reviewing them from time to time still unsure as to what steps to take, IF ANY and doing nothing was a possibility.
  • This was the case until Wednesday morning Oct. 27th 2009 when on my way to Rotary I picked up my newspapers. In our mailbox (located about 1,200 feet from our home on a rural property) it was a brown envelope (no name on the front) containing a copy of the Corporate Register that was in my office attached to an anonymous letter outlining unfounded allegations addressed to Kent Spencer of the Vancouver Province. My immediate concern was that a story may appear in the Sunday Province and I had to inform council of this information in case that should occur. This obviously was a complete shock, however I contacted a few very high profile and well connected individuals I knew asking who to contact for independent legal advice (I did not tell them anything about the issue). I made an appointment with Allan Hamilton QC immediately and went downtown to his office that morning. I reviewed the details of the issue with Mr. Hamilton and he confirmed my opinion of what to do next, specifically call an In-Camera meeting with council immediately with no staff present. On return to my office that is exactly what I did through the Clerks Office. I took this action based on my review of the following section of the Community Charter which relates to the Mayor’s responsibility to Council:

Community Charter Section 116 (2) (b) states  “to communicate information to the Council”….  in other words keep Council informed.

  • For 24 hours before the meeting some members of Council on receipt of the notice of the special in-camera meeting badgered me a number of times as to what the meeting was about etc. Given the nature of the information it was prudent to only discuss this information when everyone was around the table. On calling the meeting to order on Thursday October 28th, 2009 at 7:00PM I had council react in what could only be described as a combative, immature and irresponsible way, some telling me they had known of this for over a decade, this was a non-story and Bateman said he wrote on this 12 years earlier. I was accused of trying to ruin personal reputations and much more. A meeting from hell for trying to do the job I was elected to do!

Ruining personal reputations? Nothing could be further from the truth. This was exactly why I handled it in the fashion I did, as I was advised, to protect everybody’s identity in an in-camera meeting with no staff present.

This issue turned out to be nothing more than another issue of convenience; it fit their campaign strategy against the Mayor perfectly. They didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story!

  • On Oct. 29th, 2009 Councillor Ward presented a Notice-of-Motion to the effect that Judy Rogers, a Consultant for the Corporation, hire a third party to review the actions of the Mayor, his calling of an in-camera meeting and his handling of an anonymous letter related to this issue. That notice-of-motion was presented and passed in the Special Closed Meeting of Council December 7th, 2009.

I can tell you that as Mayor I was chairing all of these meetings. This motion was passed without any discussion or debate related to my actions which were very clear and evident to members of council supported by legal advice and NO consideration of cost.

  • Don Lidstone was hired to investigate my actions. He did a very thorough investigation, interviewed all of us, submitted a report and met with council. In that report he reached the conclusion that I followed legal advice, did not breach my oath of office nor did I break any law. In his request to interview me he advised that I could bring legal-council with me, a choice that I declined given the fact I had nothing to hide.

During Don Lidstone’s investigation and interviews it seems the only thing members of council were concerned about or interested in was what actions they could take against the Mayor. The one issue council was concentrating on is I had told legal counsel and members of Council that when I received the info in that envelope it was the first I had heard of the issue when in fact I had received it Aug. 5th, 2009 by email. I provided Council with a statement of explanation and apology at the time of Don Lidstone’s report admitting that fact as well as stating that I had been told, as I stated earlier, in breakfast meetings about this issue in May and June of 2009. Why did I mislead Council as to when I knew this info – My reason for that was I was mad at myself for not advising Council back in August as I was procrastinating on where to take this information, if anywhere. Another very significant part of my rationale was that I was trying to protect my sources.

It still bothers me as to how that information got out of my office. I investigated and found out the locks on the Mayor’s office hadn’t been changed since the building opened in 2005, the day they moved into the new Municipal Hall office and there were twelve people or departments who held a key. That was corrected.” In the end it was determined as I recall there were over 30 people that had access to my office. Great security for the Mayor’s Private Office?

  • In a subsequent meeting of council a motion was introduced and passed to provide Council Members with independent legal advice paid for by you the Township taxpayer and to EXCLUDE the Mayor. Their motion that was passed and excluded me for support of my legal expenses was contrary to an existing policy in the Township that states legal expenses will be paid except in cases of guilt. I was found not guilty of anything! Fair, you be the judge! They continued to badger Lidstone with the question – what else could they do to discipline the Mayor other than censure, apology and removal from the Metro Board. (they were warned about what they could say in a public statement to ensure my position, integrity and respect could or would not be brought into question.)
  • Council Committee of Inquiry – After considerable badgering of Don Lidstone by Council members about what else they could do to the Mayor he relented that there was a Council Committee of Inquiry that could be established, permissible under the Community Charter. This was news to me and it carried with it subpoena powers over the signature of the Mayor. Basically similar to a judicial body but made up of members Council. This was of great concern to me, not for me, but for the office of the Mayor. Remember the three prominent citizens I told you about earlier, those that I had breakfast with and received that first information about Brownshack? Council were very upset that I wouldn’t tell them who they were! Don Lidstone wanted to interview them. I had my contact phone the three involved and ask them if they were willing to be interviewed. They came back very quickly and said no, keep us out of it. I told all involved their privacy would be protected by me. With that answer in hand I secured a lawyer to deal with this Committee of Inquiry issue. It took a while but my lawyer was able to get the point across to ALL concerned that by legislation it was the Mayor, not Deputy Mayor or the appointed Mayor that had to sign any subpoenas, and this Mayor would not be signing any subpoenas.

Why not sign subpoenas or why fight this Council Committee of Inquiry? The Mayor’s day or for that matter a Councillors day consists of hours and hours of conversations, meetings and discussions with residents. To ensure trust in the office those discussions, meetings and conversations must remain confidential. The public’s trust in an elected office would deteriorate and be destroyed quickly if that wasn’t the case.  To-date the closest I have come to identify the three individuals I had breakfast with is to say they are very prominent citizens. I could have solved my problem by disclosing their names, names I know members of Council know very well and would be shocked at who they were.

I will now go further for the first time, not naming names as that was my promise but I will say now that they were THREE VERY VERY PROMINENT LAWYERS in the Township of Langley. (Let the guessing begin!)

What is important here is to state that it was the principle of protecting the Mayor’s ability to have confidential discussions with constituents that I was fighting for. As an aside I would pay big money to see the looks on the faces of members of Council if these three showed up to testify, but I digress!!!!

The public should be aware that council caused legal expenditures for the Township of over $100,000. (paid for by you the taxpayer) My personal legal expenses to defend myself against a frivolous non-issue amounted to over $25,000. in after tax dollars, an expense I had no choice but to engage given the actions by members of council! I could have solved my problem by going back on my word, something that would have saved my family $25,000 but something that I was not prepared to do.  

As stated by lawyer Don Lidstone – “There is no legal requirement for any public statement or report; any such action would be based on political considerations. If council considers any release of a statement or report to the public, the statement or report would have to be carefully redacted to protect the Mayor’s personal and private information in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and to ensure that he is not defamed by the statement or report. As stated, the decision to release a statement or report to the public would be based on political considerations, and is not required by law.”

Summary to this point:

This has to be the most politically motivated attack on a Mayor in the lower mainland.

What was the issue? – Simply, I received information that members of council should know. I sought and followed legal advice and outlined the issue to council. Council claimed to know all about the information which is where it should have stopped. Instead we dealt with this issue for ten months with some members of council still fighting the 2008 election and getting ready for 2011. It was a political attack of considerable proportions designed to remove me from office sooner than later. It wasn’t going to happen and defies anything democratic, I would not bend to threats, political attacks OR bullying.

It all reached what I thought was a conclusion in the afternoon in-camera meeting of Council on September 13th, 2010. Council were preparing a Press Release, my lawyer was in attendance, and I served notice that if they wanted to take this public I would be issuing a Press Release with all relevant information on the issue. They would not get away by accusing me of wrong doing when none existed. I scheduled a Press Conference to be held in the Council Chambers for 10:00 AM Tuesday September 14th, 2010. That notice went out during the evening of September 13th, 2010. I released all information including the Securities Register and the Kent Spencer letter which was attached to my Press Release. For the record (and you will see why shortly) at the conclusion and after terminating our in-camera meeting, I told Don Lidstone I would be releasing these documents as they were not in-camera material. Specifically they existed in the public realm before the existence of our in-camera proceedings. Therefore they could not be considered in-camera protected.

As bad as all of this was there was more, an RCMP investigation!

Well all of this wasn’t enough for the likes of Grant Ward. I received word in early January of 2011 that a complaint had been filed against me in December. I was blind-sided by John Daly of Global News coming out of a Council Meeting in early January 2011 and was confronted with this revelation. Given the reaction by some members of Council, it was clear they were all aware of it except me. There were all kinds of comments made about the Mayor and about me having to step down, this was a criminal investigation and more. A tough day in the Mayor’s office, you bet!

It wasn’t until I pursued a meeting with the investigating officer that one actually took place. You would think due process would have placed the accused as a higher priority, especially the Mayor in a highly-charged environment. In that meeting with my lawyer present (more money) that I discovered Grant Ward and Joel Schacter were among those that filed the complaint (RCMP disclosed that fact). The complaint “Are you ready for this” was that I was in breach of a Provincial Statute namely the release of an in-camera document! The document in-question – the information I received in my mailbox that day, the documents that was in the public realm that could not be classified as in-camera material and the documents I warned members of Council that I would release if they pursued this non-sense any further.

No, it wasn’t anything more than that and it was NOT criminal! Funny how this works, with the help of members of Council I was slandered repeatedly in the media without so much as an explanation of the facts nor any correction to the headlines!

In Closing – An irresponsible action by members of Council, followed up by an irresponsible waste of tax payer dollars, proven to be not guilty, followed up by a bogus complaint to the RCMP over the release of documents already in the public realm, followed up by a 10 month investigation over the release of these documents which included Crown Counsel returning them (not interested) and Special Crown Counsel returning them (not interested).

As all of this wasn’t enough over a non-issue (political) finally an Independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin QC was appointed and concluded NO CHARGES should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green. His final report follows –

MEDIA STATEMENT

CRIMINAL JUSTICE BRANCH

September 9, 2011 11-17

Mayor Rick Green – Decision of Special Prosecutor Announced

Victoria – The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General today announced that independent Special Prosecutor David Crossin, Q.C. has concluded that no charges should be laid against Langley Township Mayor Rick Green, following an RCMP investigation into his alleged actions in September 2010, in connection with his censure by Langley Township counsel. Having reviewed the investigative report prepared by the police and applied Criminal Justice Branch policies and charge approval standards, Mr. Crossin concluded that there is no substantial likelihood of conviction for any offences.

Mr. Crossin, a senior Vancouver lawyer, was appointed by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Robert W.G. Gillen, Q.C. on June 7, 2011, following receipt of the Report to Crown Counsel prepared by police in relation to their investigation. Given the position of Mr. Green, as well as the complainants and potential witnesses involved in the case, Mr. Gillen concluded that it was appropriate to appoint a Special Prosecutor.

Mr. Crossin’s mandate included:

  • Conducting an independent charge assessment review of the Report to Crown Counsel submitted by the investigative agency and making the charging decision he deemed appropriate in the exercise of his independent prosecutorial discretion.
  • Offering such legal advice as was necessary to the police in the event that further investigation by them was required;
  • Providing a written report to the Assistant Deputy Attorney General with the results of his review and the reasons for his decision;
  • If in his view a prosecution was warranted, continuing that prosecution and any subsequent appeal.

The Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch appoints Special Prosecutors pursuant to the Crown Counsel Act when there is a significant potential for real or perceived improper influence in the administration of criminal justice.

The decisions of Special Prosecutors are final, subject only to receiving written directions from the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or Assistant Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Justice Branch. In such an event, those directions must be made public by publishing them in the Gazette.

Given that no charges have been approved by Mr. Crossin, neither he nor the Criminal Justice Branch will be releasing any details of the report which he reviewed.

This Media Statement has been reviewed by the Special Prosecutor and he has approved its release.

Media Contact: Neil MacKenzie

Communications Counsel

Criminal Justice Branch

(250) 387-5169

 

IMPORTANT – Contrary to what came out in the media this investigation was not criminal BUT a complaint that I breached a Provincial Statute by releasing in-camera documents pertaining to Brownshack Developments. The documents I released came to me from the public therefore it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize they were not subject to the rules of in-camera. All of that being said it took the RCMP and three Crown Prosecutors 10 months of expensive investigation (your tax dollars) to agree I did nothing wrong. Interesting point, the timing of their decision’s Press Release came a short two months BEFORE election day! 

So lets see, you have a Mayor who was out of favor because I fought against the Provincial Government and or MLA Rich Coleman (a former Solicitor General and RCMP officer) on a number of issues (Land Deals, Events Center, Translink, Mufford Cresc.); and you have a complaint by Councilor Grant Ward (a former RCMP officer)? Political? NO, say it ain’t so!

Now lets be clear I am NOT suggesting anything, I am just saying!

Once again, this took 10 months with the decision from the Independent Crown Counsel coming out on Sept. 9th, 2011. A short 2 months BEFORE election-day! Actually it worked to perfection as far as the Langley Establishment was concerned.

How was all of this possible you say, only in the Township of Langley!

 

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe should be of significant concern and interest to residents of the Township of Langley.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

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