This is Cameron's Slater's scoop. Love him or hate him, he has clung to this story like a dog clings to a half-chewed bone. It was he who appealed to the Ombudsman, and it was as a result of that appeal that the truth has emerged this morning. Slater blogs:
There is certainly something very, very wrong with the CCO board apppointments that Len Brown secretly rammed through, especially when one of the appointees is the CEO of a council funded organisation that donated ratepayer funds to Len Brown’s campaign. The fact that he was one of Len’s previously secret, diners at the infamous Volare dinner just makes matters that much worse. No wonder Len Brown tried to hide it. No wonder he tried to hide it from the other councillors making board appointments.
Just as well this blogger never gave in and appealed to the Ombudsmen. Now we can all see who Len Brown was trying to keep secret and rightly ask even harder questions about just why he insisted on dying in the ditch to keep the secret until I forced him to reveal it by going to the Ombudsmen.
There's a lot that Cam Slater posts that we don't agree with, and some which we have found offensive, and told him so via e-mail; we've never met him in person. But on this issue, he's been dead right. Len Brown paid for the dinner at Volare on his council credit card, which was funded by Manukau City ratepayers, of whom Slater was one. Len Brown was obliged under the council's rules to disclose the attendees, but repeatedly refused to do so. And his former CEO Leigh Auton stonewalled the Ombudsman's quest for the truth claiming that before the MCC wound up he was "too busy" to answer. Auton knew the identities; he himself was one of them!
Len Brown supporters will complain that their man is the victim of a smear campaign. Not so; Len Brown could have named his dinner guests when the matter was first raised in the public domain, and it would have quickly gone away. It was Len Brown, not Cameron Slater who made this an issue of intrigue and public interest. So don't shoot the messenger here.
This will be our final comment on the Volare Affair. We simply can't understand how a man like Len Brown could have allowed his reputation to be so sullied by such a small issue in the big scheme of things.