All quiet after Vandervis backhander claim

The Dunedin City Council and its most outspoken city councillor have gone into lockdown after Cr Lee Vandervis claimed to have paid a backhander to a council manager.

Cr Vandervis made the claim during Monday's full council meeting, when he alleged he had been required to pay a 10% backhander to a council manager, prior to his time as a city councillor, to secure a DCC contract.

Cr Vandervis was behind Vandervision Lighting Audio and Visual, a company that had council contracts, including one to install the audio system inside the council's debating chamber.

His claim on Monday came during a fiery exchange with Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, as Cr Vandervis said he had given Mr Cull "personal evidence'' of the transaction.

Mr Cull immediately denied that, before calling Cr Vandervis "a liar'' and ejecting him from the meeting.

Yesterday, all sides were keeping a low profile and refusing to answer Otago Daily Times questions about the claims.

Cr Vandervis, contacted by text message, declined to release the evidence he claimed to have - the second time he has refused to do so.

Instead, he would only say he was taking legal advice before considering writing an article, outlining his allegations, sometime "in the new year''.

He ignored further requests for his evidence and when asked to elaborate on his comments about paying a backhander.

Mr Cull and council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose also would not comment when contacted by the ODT yesterday.

Both initially suggested they would, but council communications and marketing manager Graham McKerracher later said more time was needed to compile information before the council responded to ODT questions.

That was now expected to happen today.



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