Hi Ms Lidgard,
As part of my ongoing exposure of Mayor Duncan Gair’s long-term systemic corruption, I’ve got more questions for you; the Manager Governance – as to how Clr Gair has so flagrantly disobeyed strict guidelines for councillors based on legislated Code of Conduct requirements.
Before I start this new round of questions based on evidence already in the public domain, I’d like to make enquiries as to why earlier complaints I’ve submitted to you about Clr Gair’s corruption haven’t been addressed, in fact, my most recent correspondence (containing overwhelming evidence of the councillor’s malfeasance) hasn’t even been acknowledged.
Ms Lidgard, do you intend to respond to my ongoing allegations of Clr Gair’s corruption that’s fully backed up by irrefutable evidence?
Will the council simply be ignoring my complaints of Clr Gair’s corruption in the hope it will all just go away?
Are the councillors and senior managers aware that all of my complaints about Clr Gair’s corruption directed to council are being shared with leading members of parliament, regulatory bodies and authorities, major community stakeholders, and prominent members of the media?
Isn’t the council obligated to address my complaints in a timely fashion using proper protocol and procedure?
In previous correspondence, you threatened to complain to the Office of Local Government (OLG) about me, due to my complaints about entrenched corruption at Wingecarribee Shire Council, and in particular, your own failure to maintain council probity (which, having occurred on more than one occasion over a period of time, constitutes systemic corruption according to the ICAC Act of 1988). If you’re going to be complaining to OLG, will you also be submitting my serious, credible complaints of Mayor Duncan Gair’s corruption?
Will the council be using the excuse that I’ve failed to complain about Clr Gair’s Code of Conduct violations using the correct protocol and procedure? If so, will the council be informing me on how to properly complain about Clr Gair’s corruption using proper protocol and procedure, in line with council probity and the council’s Zero Tolerance to Corruption Policy?
Ms Lidgard, the following questions concern Clr Gair’s ongoing conflict of interests with regards the Sowter family and the illegal sale of their Coomungie development to Chinese interests in 2018.
Now that it’s been established that Clr Gair has so demonstrably failed to declare Jock Sowter’s involvement with the councillor’s 2012 re-election bid (Campaign Assistant – Keep Duncan Gair There – two months from Aug-Sept), why hasn’t Clr Gair publicly amended his declaration of interest to include the major role – pecuniary – that the lineal descendent of a developer played in having the councillor re-elected to council seven years ago?
Based on Jock Sowter’s current LinkedIn page entries, the reference to his major role in Clr Gair’s 2012 re-election bid is still prominent on his online resumé. If Jock Sowter is still showcasing his major role in the re-election bid of 2012, why isn’t Clr Gair willing to acknowledge that the family he once declared as a minimal conflict of interest, is, in fact, a pecuniary interest (major conflict), insofar as his relationship with the family is a long-term friendship of 50 years, and also based on the significant role Jock Sowter played in having the councillor re-elected in 2012?
I’m being sued by Clr Gair for defamation after calling him out as a crook and a racketeer. I’ve now supplied evidence of Clr Gair’s corruption that proves this beyond a shadow of doubt. One of the Witnesses to the Statement of Claim is Jock Sowter. Can you explain how a person Clr Gair failed to declare as a major conflict of interest over 7 years (and which constitutes systemic corruption based on the ICAC Act of 1988), can be used as a witness in a malicious and vexatious civil action against me? Wouldn’t Jock Sowter’s role as a witness to the statement of claim be a major conflict of interest in itself? After hiding Jock Sowter’s role in his re-election bid of 2012, thereby misleading the council and community, wouldn’t it be considered an attempt to pervert the course of justice for Clr Gair to call upon Jock Sowter to be a witness to the proceedings based on the perverted role Jock Sowter played in having Clr Gair re-elected in 2012?
Jock Sowter’s current LinkedIn page can be accessed by anyone via the internet. But when I try to access the page through my own LinkedIn account, it’s a dead link and I’m informed that “This profile is not available”. This means, that while Jock Sowter is happy for members of the community to access his LinkedIn page, he has purposely barred me from accessing the same information. Why would Jock Sowter specifically exclude me from accessing his LinkedIn page, while allowing others full access? Wouldn’t it be considered Obstruction of Justice for Jock Sowter to bar me from accessing information that’s incriminating, and which could be used as part of my defence in the malicious and vexatious litigation against me? Before I first submitted damning evidence to you of Jock Sowter’s major role in Clr Gair’s re-election bid, I had full access to Mr Sowter’s LinkedIn page. Two days after I sent you correspondence concerning Jock Sowter’s conflicting role in Clr Gair’s re-election bid, I was all of sudden barred from accessing the LinkedIn page. Who or what has influenced Jock Sowter into barring me from accessing his online resumé that’s available for all other members of the public to access?
Based on Jock Sowter’s significant role in Clr Gair’s re-election bid of 2012, and based on Clr Gair’s demonstrative failure to declare the major conflict to the council and community for nearly 7 years (constituting long-term systemic corruption), isn’t the councillor’s continued litigation against me, and his attempt to pervert the course of justice, the type of conduct and behaviour that “brings the council into disrepute”, based on the council’s charter, the strict Councillor Code of Conduct regulations, the WSC Fraud and Corruption Prevention policy (2019), the council’s Zero Tolerance to Corruption Policy, and the maintaining of council probity – accountability, transparency and integrity? Why isn’t the council, and in particular, the General Manager and the Manager Governance, calling on Clr Gair to suspend his litigation against me based on irrefutable evidence of the councillor’s long-term corruption – up until a full and comprehensive investigation is undertaken concerning the councillor’s long-term conduct and behaviour?
The following questions involve the Coomungie development and Clr Gair’s continued failure to properly declare his long-term friendship with Murray Sowter – the developer, along with the lineal descendent of Mr Sowter’s – his son, Jock.
In a Southern Highland News article on September 3, 2012, Clr Gair was interviewed with regards to his re-election bid to council.
One of his responses to the interviewer’s questions was as follows – “I (also) believe I have good interpersonal skills when dealing with the public and council staff. I have been a councillor for 17 years and Mayor for two terms. So I believe I have a very sound understanding of council’s functions and legislative requirements”. Based on Clr Gair’s pre-election statement of 2012, how can Clr Gair refer to his "understanding of council’s functions and legislative requirements", when at the very same time, he was employing Jock Sowter in the role of Campaign Assistant for his re-election bid “Keep Duncan Gair There”, a significant role he failed to declare to the council and community for the next 7 years? How can Clr Gair state that he has “good interpersonal skills when dealing with the public”, when he failed so demonstratively in letting “the public” know of the major conflict of interest in having Jock Sowter support his re-election bid of 2012, a significant role that helped Clr Gair regain office, while also allowing the councillor to vote in favour of the Sowter’s Coomungie development over the next 5 years?
In a Southern Highland News article on April 29, 2010, Clr Gair is quoted as saying the following about the Coomungie development.
Wingecarribee mayor Duncan Gair defended the processes followed regarding the urban land release in the Chelsea Gardens and Coomungie property areas. “This all started back in 2005, not last month or last year. Due processes have been followed and we have listened to the community along the way,” Cr Gair said. “This proposal was advertised widely and as such I cannot understand why some residents are suddenly saying they have never heard of the proposal before. There seems to be a lot of incorrect information being distributed and a clear lack of understanding of what is proposed for the entire Shire to ensure we plan for projected population increases as directed by the state government. No urban release proposal is picked at random. Proposed locations are checked for suitability with comprehensive studies and analysis of a full range of issues.”
How can Clr Gair be speaking of a development, where the developer is a close personal friend of 40 years, and which constitutes a major conflict – a pecuniary interest? Why didn’t Clr Gair declare the major conflict of interest with regards to the developer, Murray Sowter, and therefore refrain from speaking of the Coomungie development, in accordance with strict Code of Conduct requirements, and the rules and regulations governing Declaration of Interests? At the time of failing to make any type of declaration about Murray Sowter in the above news article statement, Duncan Gair was vexatiously and maliciously pursuing Clr Jim Mauger for 4 Code of Conduct violations, alleged violations that were sustained by the corrupt reviewer, Esther Mackay, but which were eventually struck down by the Supreme Court of NSW, costing Mr Mauger and the council (ratepayers) over $500,000 in costs? How can Clr Gair be so hypocritical maintaining a 4 year witch-hunt against Clr Mauger, while failing to declare his close, personal friendship with Murray Sowter, a developer who’s son not only goes on to support his re-election bid of 2012, but who also goes on to sell his “farm” for $40,000,000 more than the land was worth as farmland – a development Clr Gair votes in favour of – for the next 5 years when motions about the development came before council time-and-time again?
In fact, according to a council meeting on 14 September, 2011, and with regards to the witch-hunt that Clr Gair initiated against Clr Mauger based on trumped up charges of violating Code of Conduct regulations, Mayor Ken Halstead had this to say about the councillor’s (Gair’s) own conduct and behaviour –
“Councillor Gair, it’s clear to me, that in fact, you don’t know some of the processes under the Code of Conduct and one of them is that you had no right to instigate a Code of Conduct against another councillor? Do you realise that’s the function of the GM? And yet, you did it.”
“Have you actually read the Code of Conduct?” asked Mayor Halstead.
“I have,” replied Clr Gair.
Mayor Halstead was referring to the fact that Clr Gair had illegally brought charges against Clr Mauger (when Clr Gair was mayor at the time), an action that was in contravention of the rules that govern the reporting Code of Code violations. Clr Gair had committed a very serious offence, while also committing the offences as the mayor.
Indeed, at a meeting on 28 March, 2012, Clr Gair was quite rightly accused of initiating the Code of Conduct complaint against Clr Mauger, and when Clr Mauger confronted Clr Gair about making the initial complaint, Clr Gair lied to the council, and blatantly mislead the community –
Clr Mauger (General Business question – in part) – (He) advised that for clarification this question encompasses a timeframe extending back to the lodgement of the Code of Conduct complaint by Clr Gair.
Clr Gair – raised a point of order and advised that he did not lodge a Code of Conduct with Clr Mauger and that it was information that he asked the General Manager to look at and that he wanted to sit down and discuss those matters with Clr Mauger. He advised that Clr Mauger initiated a Code of Conduct again (sic) him.
Ms Lidgard, Clr Gair has brazenly lied to the council and community in making false and misleading statements regarding his Code of Conduct complaints against Clr Mauger in 2012. In fact, at the meeting on 14 September, 2011 (six-months prior), Mayor Halstead clearly states that Clr Gair not only instigated the Code of Conduct complaints against Clr Mauger, he actually had no right to do so. My questions to you are as follows – How can Clr Gair be suing me for defamation for calling him a crook and a racketeer when it’s now demonstrably obvious that he is, in fact, a crook and a racketeer? A crook being someone who is dishonest, and a racketeer being someone who is dishonest in business. How has Clr Gair been able to destroy my life and ruin me financially as part of a defamation case, when it’s now overwhelming evident that he’s guilty of long-term systemic corruption, as defined by the ICAC Act of 1988? Isn’t such conduct and behaviour by Clr Gair in suing me for defamation, in contravention of the council’s charter, insofar as he is bringing the council into disrepute? What action will the council now take based on evidence of Clr Gair’s long-term systemic corruption that’s been exposed using documents and information already in the public domain? Will the council continue to protect Clr Gair from scrutiny and investigation, now that this damning and irrefutable evidence has come to light?
Continuing on with the mayor’s statements about Clr Gair at the council meeting on 14 September, 2011, Clr Halstead makes these extraordinary claims as part of an ongoing debate with the councillor –
Mayor Ken Halstead – “(I) suggest that you (Gair) should know what the processes are (with regards to making Code of Conduct complaints using proper protocol and procedure), I think you stepped out of your line, not only that this Report talks about you Councillor Gair uh, suggesting that Councillor Mauger has spoken to staff (one of the Code of Conduct complaints made by Clr Gair against Clr Mauger included the charge that Clr Mauger directed staff). You haven’t spoken to staff, (Clr Gair)? You haven’t directed staff?”
Councillor Duncan Gair – “Uh …”
Mayor Ken Halstead – “… be careful here. Have you directed staff? I’m talking about what’s in this report (Esther Mackay’s review). Pardon?”
Councillor Duncan Gair – “I haven’t directed staff, no.”
Mayor Ken Halstead – “Haven’t?”
Councillor Duncan Gair – “No, I have asked staff but haven’t directed staff.”
Mayor Ken Halstead – “So you didn’t direct staff to carry out certain investigations about Councillor Mauger?”
Councillor Duncan Gair – “That was …”
Mayor Ken Halstead – “… I think you did Councillor Gair. You gave directions because that was the response given (in Esther Mackay’s report). You don’t think you did, (Clr Gair)? Well you might have to defend that later on, I don’t know. But it seems to me that maybe you gave directions that certain investigations be undertaken against Councillor Mauger.”
Mayor Ken Halstead – (Later in the debate) “Um, it’s quite interesting, uh, I mean I could go on and on, so in this Report here it talks about Councillor Gair giving a direction when he was asking questions about abandoned vehicles … (That) is in this Report suggesting that he (Gair) gave directions.”
Ms Lidgard, how can Clr Gair be suing me for defamation for calling him out for corruption, when it’s now overwhelmingly obvious that Clr Gair has committed serious offences as not only an elected official sworn to uphold the probity of council, but as the mayor at the time he instigated false and misleading Code of Conduct complaints against a fellow councillor? Where was Peter Nelson at time the serious offences were being committed by Clr Gair, Mr Nelson being the Manager Governance in 2011 when the extraordinary meeting was taking place? Why didn’t Mr Nelson (at the time), maintain council probity by reporting the fact that Clr Gair had indeed directed staff, and not only that, he directed staff when making complaints about another councillor directing staff? Why didn’t Clr Halstead (the mayor at the time) report Clr Gair’s serious offences to the Office of Local Government, including making a false and misleading Code of Conduct complaint against a fellow councillor, instigating a Code of Conduct complaint against a fellow councillor in contravention of Code of Conduct rules and regulations, and directing staff to investigate Clr Mauger based on false and misleading allegations of councillor impropriety?
In a 2ST report on 24 May, 2018 (that’s since been taken down by 2ST management), Clr Gair took exception to comments made by Clr Scandrett, as follows –
“Wingecarribee Councillor Duncan Gair is contemplating whether to refer Deputy Mayor Ian Scandrett to the Office of Local Government over what he claims are defamatory comments made about him (Gair) on Facebook. The comments relate to the Moss Vale Saleyards (sic) and an information session about reviewing council assets, with the view of possibly paying off debts at the Moss Vale Aquatic Centre. Councillor Gair insists he has no plans to sell the saleyards (sic). He claims comments also made about the information session into council assets were also taken out of context. Councillor Gair says Councillor Scandrett’s actions towards him and his colleagues are absolutely abhorrent.”
Ms Lidgard, how can Clr Gair be threatening Clr Scandrett with a complaint to the Office of Local Government based on comments made about him on Facebook, when in 2011, it was established by Clr Halstead (the mayor at the time), that Clr Gair was guilty of –
Making a false and misleading Code of Conduct complaint against a fellow councillor, instigating a Code of Conduct complaint against a fellow councillor in contravention of Code of Conduct rules and regulations, and directing staff to investigate Clr Mauger based on false and misleading allegations of councillor impropriety?
How can Clr Scandrett’s alleged comments in 2018, be any worse than Clr Gair’s illegal conduct and behaviour in 2011, at which time he committed serious offences in obvious contravention of the ICAC Act of 1988, and which constitutes systemic corruption?
In an ABC (online) article on 26 June, 2014, and titled “Wingecarribee Mayor censured, ordered to undergo counselling”, Clr Gair made some startling statements about the mayor at the time, Juliet Arkwright, statements that can now be proved to be hypocritical and sanctimonious.
Councillor Duncan Gair says the censure result will be reported back to the Office of Local Government, which could suspend Juliet Arkwright. “It is the office that determines whether the censure of the Mayor and the code of conduct breach warrants a suspension or just a loss of meetings for one or two times,” Councillor Gair said. He (Gair) says the council is in uncharted waters. “There's never been a councillor in my 20 years who's been censured under the code of conduct.”
Ms Lidgard, my questions to you are as follows –
How can Clr Gair be holding Clr Arkwright to account for alleged breaches of Code of Conduct regulations necessitating a report to the Office of Local Government, when Clr Gair was at the time in breach of the Code of Conduct regulations with regards to his failure to declare Jock Sowter’s significant role in his re-election bid of 2012; a conflict he failed to declare for the next 4 years (following the 2014 ABC online article)? How can Clr Gair make the extraordinary statement, “There's never been a councillor in my 20 years who's been censured under the code of conduct”, when for 4 years from 2009 to 2013, Clr Gair attempted to censure, indeed, he attempted to destroy the political career, of Councillor Jim Mauger? When will the council, and indeed, the General Manager and Manager Governance, initiate an investigation into Clr Gair’s conduct and behaviour now that there’s overwhelming evidence of his long-term systemic corruption, and based on the fact that Clr Gair has been so pro-active in holding his fellow councillors to account for serious Code of Conduct violations, when he was so overwhelming guilty of violating Code of Conduct regulations numerous times, and over a number of years (constituting systemic corruption according to the ICAC Act of 1988)?
Ms Lidgard, in correspondence to follow, I’ll be exposing Deputy Mayor Garry Turland for serious long-term systemic corruption, very similar to the serious allegations I’ve made against his fellow litigator (Clr Gair) in the malicious and vexatious defamation case against me. There seems to be a pattern of long-term corruption by the pair, and it’s now blatantly obvious that the two elected officials, indeed, the mayor and deputy mayor of our shire, have instigated and maintained a SLAPP lawsuit against me –
A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition. In the typical SLAPP lawsuit, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the case. The plaintiff's goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism.
In the following article – https://www.southernhighlandnews.com.au ... t-started/
– Councillor Garry Turland is committing the very serious offence of failing to declare a major conflict of interest – pecuniary – when he has already declared the Station Street Upgrade as a pecuniary interest on 26 August, 2015 (due to his ownership of Bowral Mall, a multi-million dollar business on Station St). On 9 August, 2017, Clr Turland downgraded his declaration of interest regarding the Station St Upgrade to the more minimal “less than significant non-pecuniary interest”, which is in contravention of the strict rules governing Declaration of Interests regulations. In doing so, and in continuing to declare the Station Street Upgrade as a minimal conflict (after declaring the $15,000,000 development a major conflict – pecuniary), Clr Turland is guilty of committing a crime, aka systemic corruption, based on the ICAC Act of 1988.
In a recent move, and one that shows Clr Turland holding the council and the shire in complete and utter contempt, the deputy mayor has failed to even declare an interest regarding three motions about the Station Street Upgrade, motions that came before council at a meeting in 14 August, 2019 (motions 18.3, 18.4 and 18.13). This is further confirmation of Clr Turland’s complete disregard for the rules governing Declaration of Interests. He is now brazenly committing serious systemic corruption, a crime, in full view of the council and the community.
At the same time that Clr Turland is committing serious crimes as an elected official, no less than as the deputy mayor of our shire, he is continuing his malicious and vexatious defamation case against me, in conjunction with the corrupt mayor of our shire, Duncan Gair, while utilising two community members I’ve now proven to be demonstrably corrupt, Charlie Johns and Jock Sowter, with the whole case being prosecuted by their corrupt solicitor, Malcolm Murray.
That means I now have overwhelming and irrefutable evidence of corruption by the five main protagonists in the malicious and vexatious defamation case against me.
This is unprecedented in the annals of NSW jurisprudence, and I intend to complain to numerous regulatory government departments that police local councils and their elected representatives (and including senior managers).
Ms Lidgard, this is never going to end, and I intend to continue to expose the above miscreants up until a time that they are fully investigated, charged for political malfeasance, and convicted for crimes against our community. Indeed, in compiling the evidence I have of long-term systemic corruption by the mayor and deputy mayor, I’ve uncovered further proof of their crimes against the community, and I’ve also received reports from members of the community that back up my serious allegations of systemic corruption.
Now’s the time to act, Ms Lidgard. Should you fail to initiate an investigation into the long-term systemic corruption, I intend to sue you for substantial damages and I welcome any threats of going to the police to complain about my threats, as well as your threat to report me to the Office of Local Government for threatening to sue you, and any threats of defamatory litigation for threatening to sue you for dereliction of duty due to unlawful conduct and behaviour.
Basically, you’re threatening to report me for exposing you for being corrupt and for not doing your job properly in accordance with the council’s charter. This is totally absurd.
Signed, Adam Greenwood
PS – Please find numerous attachments as part of my corroborating evidence.