The General Manager,
Wingecarribee Shire Council,
68 Elizabeth St,
Moss Vale. NSW. 2577.
I’m writing to as part of a grievance process concerning the deputy mayor, Garry Turland.
I’ve been reliably informed by numerous people in the community that complaints against councillors and council are simply ignored, so I’m carbon copying this email to certain councillors and senior managers for the sake of transparency and accountability. I’m also blind carbon copying this email to a number of major stakeholders in the Southern Highlands, including former councillors, as well as state politicians and media outlets throughout Australia.
I’d like to firstly point out that the renewal of your contract as General Manager entails a pay package of $1.6m over five years. By securing such a lucrative contract, the community is relying on your professionalism and integrity to uphold the charter of the Wingecarribee Shire Council, including probity, the Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy and strict code of conduct regulations.
Parts of the charter include the following commitments –
Providing prompt, friendly, courteous and efficient customer service
Always acting with honesty and integrity
Providing clear, accurate and timely information
Carefully listening to what (customers) have to say to ensure that (council) determines the most appropriate way to address (customers’) requests
Working with (customers) to solve problems
Accepting critique with open-mindedness when council “falls short in (its) service in any aspect so that (council) knows how to improve (its) services
Ms Prendergast, I respectfully ask that you apply these important aspects of the council’s charter in dealing with a number of grievances I have concerning the recently elected deputy mayor, Garry Turland.
As you may be aware, a local group known as Worried Wingecarribeans has released a YouTube video that exposes Deputy Mayor Garry Turland as a fraudulent councillor; Councillor Turland has committed a number of serious offences, including ongoing code of conduct violations and abuse of power – both of which constitutes systemic corruption according the ICAC Act of 1988. The act also encompasses all legislation concerning the conduct of councils – including the Local Government Act of 1993.
The legislation clearly states that systemic corruption is a crime.
Here’s a link to the YouTube video that irrefutably proves that Councillor Turland has broken the law on numerous occasions, spanning a number of years –
I’d also like to take the opportunity to inform you about Qualified Privilege (paraphrased).
Qualified privilege is an immunity from lawsuit, usually a lawsuit for defamation, for acts committed in the performance of a legal or moral duty and acts properly exercised and free from malice.
As part of my grievance process regarding the fraudulent conduct by Councillor Turland, I now intend to ask you a number of questions regarding the councillor’s conduct, and how a council with a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption could allow such illegal conduct by a councillor to occur when there should be proper checks and balances in place.
It would be fair to say that the roles of the WSC Manager of Governance would include – “Ensuring compliance by the organisation, with its regulatory, statutory and legal obligations, as well as ensuring its management and staff work towards achieving the organisation’s objectives, while working within the ethical and cultural framework defined by the governing body”. My question to you is this – If a group of community members are able to source public domain documents that prove Clr Turland committed serious offences over a number of years (all of which constitute systemic corruption), why wasn’t the WSC Manager of Governance also able to identify such serious offences (at the time they occurred), especially as one of the main roles of the manager of governance is to “maintain council probity”?
The manager of governance, Danielle Lidgard, has been carbon copied into this email. Now that she’s been made aware of Clr Turland’s gross abuse of power and serious code of conduct violations, what action will Ms Lingard be taking in addressing the irrefutable evidence of Clr Turland’s criminal conduct?
As the owner of Bowral Mall, a multi-million dollar arcade on Station Street, Clr Turland is obligated by legislation to declare the business as a conflict (with regards to the Station Street Upgrade); as either a less than significant non-pecuniary interest, or as a pecuniary interest. In August 2015, Clr Turland declared the major development a pecuniary interest – in relation to a motion that came before council concerning the Station Street Upgrade. As you must surely know (being the general manager of a council with a salary of $330,000 per year), when a councillor declares a pecuniary interest in a developmental matter before council, that pecuniary interest can never be declared anything but a pecuniary interest, unless the conflict is totally removed. Indeed, Clr Turland has continued to own Bowral Mall in the ensuing years: 2015 – 2019. In August 2017, Clr Turland changed his declaration concerning the Station Street Upgrade to a less than significant non-pecuniary interest – having already declared the conflict as a pecuniary interest. The law governing councillor conduct clearly states that when an elected official changes his conflict declaration from a pecuniary interest to a non-pecunairy interest, it constitutes misconduct, and in this case, serious misconduct by a councillor who is also a developer. However, the moment a councillor commits the same serious offence numerous times, over a number of years, it constitutes systemic corruption, and that constitutes a crime. My question to you is this – As the general manager of the WSC from 2014 to the present day, and with a salary package of over $300,000 per annum, how was Clr Turland able to commit such a serious, long-term offence – and one that constitutes a crime – when you have a responsibility as the general manager to make sure that such conduct never occurs at council; a council with a zero tolerance towards corruption policy. In fact, in February, 2017, the mayor at the time, Ken Halstead, made the following statement (in writing) – “It is my firm belief that the operation of the Wingecarribee Shire Council, its administration and the elected councillors must comply with the legislation governing it. The Council (public authority) and its employees are required to act lawfully. ‘Probity’ is an issue that must be embraced at all levels of government. It is my firm belief that corruption must not be tolerated under any circumstances.
Why didn’t Ken Halstead identify Garry Turland’s failure to properly declare major conflicts of interest as a serious offence, when he was so assertive in his knowledge of council probity, including integrity, accountability and transparency? After all, the aim of the Wingecarribee Shire Council Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy is to “assist in building a corruption resistant culture at Council by promoting ethical behaviour and encouraging accountability and transparency in Council processes and dealings with external parties. Wingecarribee Shire Council will not tolerate corrupt conduct by employees, Councillors or external parties and is committed to: Minimising the opportunities for corrupt conduct by employees, members of the public, Councillors, contractors and clients, and detecting, investigating and disciplining/prosecuting corrupt conduct.” How was Garry Turland allowed to so blatantly abuse the pecuniary interest declaration system, when it’s the responsibility of councillors and senior staff to ensure that all employees of council uphold “ethical behaviour” and “accountability and transparency in Council processes”?
At the council meeting on 14 February, 2018, Clr Turland attempted to have Clr Scandrett removed as the chair for the Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee. It was part of a vendetta against Scandrett, after he and Turland had a serious falling out during their first term on council. At the same meeting, Clr Turland made three conflicting Declaration of Interests. The first declaration was a less than significant non-pecuniary interest, with Clr Turland asserting he had “over the past years employed some of the tenderers for the Legal Services Panel”. Even though he nominated the conflict as “a less than significant non-pecuniary interest”, Clr Turland absented himself from the chamber while the motion was before council, thereby confirming the matter was in fact a pecuniary interest. The next declaration of interest concerned a development application, one that Clr Turland declared as a less than significant non-pecuniary interest because he had “been involved with the consultants used by the Owner over the past few years”. He again vacated the chamber and didn’t vote on the motion thereby confirming the declaration to be a pecuniary interest. The final declaration for the meeting was one that concerned the Station Street Upgrade, a development that Clr Turland had already declared as a pecuniary interest in 2015. However, at this meeting, Clr Turland declared the conflict as “a less than significant non-pecuniary interest”, and while he was prepared to absent himself from the chamber with regards to the first two declarations, Clr Turland chose to remain in the chamber for the Station Street Upgrade matter, and illegally voted on the motion in open council. My questions to you are these – How can Clr Turland call for Clr Scandrett to be sacked as a chairman for alleged dereliction of duty, when at the very same meeting, Clr Turland was misleading the council as part of his declaration of interests? Indeed, Turland was guilty of a serious offence, one that constitutes systemic corruption – which is a crime. How can Clr Turland declare pecuniary interests regarding people he’s worked with in the building industry, but fail to declare a $16,000,000 road upgrade right outside his million dollar business as a non-pecuniary interest? According to the WSC Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy of February 2019, “Corruption is dishonest activity in which a Council official (…) acts contrary to the interests of Council and abuses their position of trust in order to achieve some personal gain or advantage for themselves or for another person or entity”. How was Clr Turland able to get away with such brazen corruption, when a layperson like myself (and other community members) have been able to source public domain records that prove he’s guilty of serious malfeasance? How was Clr Turland elevated to the role of deputy mayor when it was blatantly obvious to numerous “council officials” he was breaking the law?
On 24 October 2012, the newly elected Clr Turland nominated a declaration of interest about a motion before council concerning “the proposed K-Mart development” because he “owns land within the same zoning (B4) and this item may set a precedent for the land in his ownership. He stated that he would leave the chamber when this matter was discussed, take no part in the debate and refrain from voting thereon”. Two of the properties that Clr Turland was referring to “within the same zoning” were Bowral Mall and the land on Victoria St that had been awarded a DA for a 72 room hotel in 2000. Both of these commercial properties were worth millions at the time, and any K-Mart development would (in all likelihood), increase the value of the properties, thereby necessitating a pecuniary interest declaration by Clr Turland. On 13 March, 2013, Turland again nominated the same matter as a pecuniary interest because he has “an interest in a property which has the same B4 zoning as the proposed K-mart development”. Clr Turland absented himself from the chamber and refrained from voting on the matter. Three months later, on 12 June, 2013, a motion came before council concerning properties at the southern end of Bowral that were originally earmarked for the proposed Kmart development. At the meeting, Clr Turland declared the motion “a less than significant non-pecuniary interest”. He remained in the chamber, debated on the motion, and voted. While the Kmart development had been denied a DA by the council at the time, an appeal was still before the Land and Environment Court, so the development was still an active and ongoing matter before council. My questions to you are these – How did Clr Turland initially determine that a development before council with a B4 zoning like his own commercial enterprises was, in fact, a pecuniary interest in 2013 – only for him to declare a less than significant non-pecuniary interest for the $16,000,000 Station Street Upgrade in 2017, 2018 and 2019? After all, Clr Turland clearly stated in 2013 that his Kmart conflict declaration “set(s) a precedent”. If that’s the case, how could Clr Turland have debated and voted on the Station Street Upgrade numerous times over the years, when the Bowral Distributor Road was a much larger development than Kmart, and one that would end up costing $10,000,000 more? The motion before council on 12 June, 2013 that referred to land earmarked for the Kmart proposal clearly states the council’s intention of rezoning the land B4 Mixed Use to R3 Medium Density Residential. How was Clr Turland able to declare a non-pecuniary interest with regards to the motion of 12 June, when the motion clearly stated that the matter concerned a commercial property with a B4 zoning? And how was Clr Turland able to change his declaration of interest concerning the same matter from a pecuniary interest to a non-pecuniary interest – in the space of 8 months – when council has a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption, including a comprehensive charter, strict councillor code of conduct regulations and a Fraud and Corruption Prevention policy?
At a council meeting on 24 July, 2013, Clr Turland called upon Clr Uliana to verify that his declaration of interest concerning a matter before council was in fact a proper declaration based on strict code of conduct regulations – “Clr G M Turland at the Council meeting held on Wednesday 10 July 2013 – forms for non-pecuniary interest were submitted by Clr J Uliana after the council meeting. Clr G M Turland requested that Clr J Uliana give a statement to explain his non-pecuniary interest as per Code of Meeting Practice section 6.8.1 and 6.8.2”. Clr Turland’s attempt to hold Clr Uliana to account were based on Code of Meeting Practise regulations, and this proves that Clr Turland had a full understanding of what the requirements were of councillors in making proper declarations. Two months earlier on 22 May, 2013, the following motion came before council – nm-NM1 25/2013 – Bowral Country Golf Club and Gibraltar Hotel. The motion was moved by Clr Scandrett, and seconded by Clr Turland. My questions to you are these – As the owner of a commercial property that had been given approval for a 72 room hotel in the year 2000, and based on the fact that any development that’s been given council approval is a development in situ, how was Clr Turland allowed to debate and vote on a motion concerning a business that was not only in the same commercial zoning as his own, it was only 1000 metres away as the crow flies? Indeed, how could Clr Turland be the seconder on the motion when he had a DA in place for exactly the same business as Clr Uliana? And how was Clr Turland able to complain in open council that Clr Uliana had failed to properly declare a conflict of interest in July of 2013, when in May of the same year, the current deputy mayor failed to declare a conflict that was worth millions of dollars – as a property and as a business? Part of the motion that Clr Turland seconded in July, 2013, called on the council to provide “all files relating to the property, DA’s and building for the Bowral Country Golf Course and the Gibraltar Hotel be made available to Councillors (sic)”. What type of council allows a councillor (and developer) the opportunity to see confidential documents concerning a major hotel in Bowral, when that same councillor is in the process of building a hotel that’s exactly the same business, and in the same commercial zoning? How was Clr Turland then allowed to confront the same councillor about discrepancies in their own declarations of interest? Doesn’t this smack of hypocrisy and double standards? As a developer and also as a councillor, wouldn’t Garry Turland be called upon to show an even more heightened sense of what’s right and wrong when it comes to conflicts of interest? After all, he’s chastising a fellow councillor for NOT doing the right thing, when in the background, his own declarations of interest are fraudulent – which constitutes serious misconduct. Indeed, committed over time, such serious misconduct is referred to by ICAC as systemic corruption.
In mid-2018, I wrote a private and confidential letter to Heather Turland that implored the Golden Girl of Bowral to intervene with regards to the malicious court action her husband had initiated against me in 2016. I explained in the letter that I was now in possession of undeniable evidence of Garry Turland’s corruption, and I called on Heather to use her influence in an attempt to stop her husband’s vexatious litigation against me. In a follow up phone call, Heather stated she had nothing to do with her husband’s business affairs, and refused to do anything. At no time did I give Heather Turland permission to share my correspondence with anyone. A short time later, I was informed that Clr Turland had emailed my correspondence (with Heather) to all councillors and senior management of Wingecarribee Shire Council. Based on strict councillor code of conduct regulations, it’s a serious offence for a councillor to interact (in their official capacity) with other council officials about a private matter. Clr Turland shared the private matter (between Ms Turland and myself) via his official council email address, and also corresponded with other council officials using their official email addresses. The matter was private, and I never gave Clr Turland permission to share my correspondence with anyone. As it clearly states in the council’s Model Code of Conduct, a “(councillor) must maintain the integrity and security of confidential documents or information in (their) possession, or for which (they) are responsible”. Additionally, councillors must “protect confidential information”, “only release confidential information if (they) have authority to do so”, “not use confidential information gained through (their) official position for the purpose of securing a private benefit for (themselves) or for any other person”, and “not use confidential information with the intention to cause harm or detriment to (their) council or any other person or body”. A few weeks after Clr Turland shared my private correspondence with other council officials, he was forced to draw up a statutory declaration requesting that those same council officials now ignore what they had received – while undertaking an obligation to not disclose anything they’d seen in my correspondence with Heather. They were also coerced into swearing a declaration that forbade them from discussing the Heather Turland letter with anyone, while not having any contact or communication with “Adam Greenwood” regarding “his assertions” about corruption. The statutory declaration was signed by all senior managers who’d received the Heather Turland correspondence, and by every single councillor except Ian Scandrett. My questions to you are these – Based on councillor code of conduct regulations, a “(councillor) must not expect or request preferential treatment in relation to any matter in which (they) have a private interest because of (their) position”, and “(they) must avoid any action that could lead members of the public to believe that (they) are seeking preferential treatment”. How was Clr Turland able to introduce a private matter to council officials when it’s an offence to do so? Why didn’t the general manager, manager of governance, or councillor colleagues inform Clr Turland that it was an offence to introduce a private matter in his official capacity as a councillor? How did a council with a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption allow one its councillors to coerce other councillors and senior staff into signing what is, an illegal document – in an attempt to muzzle a whistleblower, and as part of conspiracy to keep serious allegations of corruption from the public? After all, a “councillor must not use their position to influence other council officials in the performance of their public or professional duties to obtain a private benefit for themselves or for somebody else”. Wouldn’t it be to Clr Turland’s advantage to suppress any allegations of his corruption? And if “councillors must not direct council staff other than by giving appropriate direction to the general manager in the performance of council’s functions”, how was Clr Turland able to directly send the Heather Turland letter to councillors and senior staff, when this is totally against proper protocol and procedure? And how was Clr Turland able to commit another serious offence by coercing council officials into signing a highly suspicious statutory declaration; a document that contravenes the council’s charter, the Fraud and Corruption Prevention policy, and strict code of conduct regulations? After Ian Scandrett refused to sign the statutory declaration, Clr Turland attempted to coerce his colleague into signing the document – during the next three council meetings. How was Clr Turland allowed to continually bring up a private matter in open council when this constitutes systemic corruption?
During the WSC election campaign of 2012, Garry Turland made the following official statement as a candidate on 28 August: “(He) wants to be realistic and that K-Mart complies with planning laws, so ‘why should we spend $250,000 fighting it?’ If residents and businesses are upset, they should have got more involved with the LEP planning process, says Turland. And on that note, people should be participating in the Bowral Traffic and Parking study and reading the demographic study and be aware of the implications of these planning guides. Instead of just saying no to K-Mart, Turland suggests working with Coles to get it incorporated into the redevelopment of Oxley Mall”. There’s a number of major conflicts in Mr Turland’s statement to the local media. Firstly, Mr Turland has referred to a Kmart development, which he had no right to do so, based on his pecuniary interest declaration two months later on 24 October, 2012. My questions to you are these – As a developer and a prominent commercial land owner running for council, why didn’t Garry Turland have an even more heightened sense of his obligations in reporting conflicts of interest? After all, Garry Turland went on to acknowledge the Kmart development as pecuniary interest within the first month of his term as a councillor. He even stated that by declaring the Kmart development a pecuniary interest, he was setting a “precedent” in nominating the B4 commercial property a major conflict in the first place. How was Garry Turland able to make comments about the Kmart development in the lead up to the 2012 election, only to declare the development a pecuniary interest to begin with, and then change that declaration to a less than significant non-pecuniary interest 8 months later? It’s well documented that during the council term of 2008-12, Mr Turland was continually outspoken about the conduct of various councillors, constantly holding them to account for perceived violations of the code. How was Garry Turland able to be so vocal about the behaviour of sitting councillors prior to his election to council, only to be so ignorant of the rules governing declarations of interest – insofar as he failed to properly declare a major conflict concerning two multi-million dollar commercial properties, one of which he owned? And how was Clr Turland able to make comments in the media about the Oxley Mall redevelopment prior to the 2012 election, when he was the owner of a commercial property called Bowral Mall; both of the enterprises being categorised as B4 zoning; both of the enterprises being property managers with retail tenants, and both of enterprises containing the word “mall” in their title? Indeed, during Clr Turland’s time in office, he has never once nominated the Oxley Mall/Coles development as non-pecuniary or pecuniary interest – whenever motions came before council. How was Clr Turland able to get away with not having to declare any interest about the Oxley Mall upgrade whatsoever, when (on the record) he’s well known for chastising other councillors for even the slightest infraction when it comes to code of conduct regulations?
During the council election campaign of 2016, Clr Turland was quoted as saying, “I call on ALL candidates to support my call for Reform. Any candidate who fails to do so, unequivocally and without conditions, should be seen by the electorate for what they are and be rejected as not fulfilling the essential qualities of a Councillor requiring Trust, Responsibility and Transparency”. Based on overwhelming evidence that (now) proves Clr Turland violated strict code of conduct rules (dozens of times) during his first term as a councillor, how was Garry Turland (then) able to call on other councillors to be honest, responsible and transparent, when his own conduct from 2012 – 2016 was at times illegal? Indeed, based on the ICAC Act, such conduct is deemed as systemic corruption. How could Clr Turland be so hypocritical in calling for reform, when for the first four years of his council term, he was flagrantly breaking the rules by failing to properly declare major conflicts of interest? In the same SHN report of September 6, 2016, Clr Turland makes this remarkable statement – “It’s time for the truth of the goings-on in council over the past four years to be told and why its reputation has sunk so low. It’s not the time for singling out individuals on council who have not performed; who have not lived up to their promises; who have let you down”. How can Clr Turland lecture potential councillors about the truth being told (during an election campaign), when behind the scenes (for the previous 4 years), Garry Turland had been dishonest and duplicitous in his role as a councillor and representative of the community? How can Clr Turland make the statement – “it’s not the time for singling out individuals who have not performed”, when that’s exactly what he did, especially with regards to the 4 year vendetta against Clr Uliana (a witch-hunt that was waged by Clr Turland with the support of the notorious criminal, Charlie Johns)? There’s also the vendetta by Turland and Johns against Larry Whipper, Juliet Arkwright, and now, Ian Scandrett. How was Clr Turland able to mount vexatious campaigns against four councillors over alleged code of conduct violations and other misconduct, when his own record as a councillor was full of violations against the council’s charter, including “councillors must not act in a way that brings the council into disrepute”?
In May of 2013, Garry Turland, Ian Scandrett and four associates dined at a well-known restaurant in Bowral. During the meal, the six men became rowdy and highly intoxicated. As they got louder, they started using vile language and profanities – with families and children in close proximity. According to Robert Westaway, who was a witness to the abuse, Clr Turland was the loudest and most obnoxious of the group. Indeed, Mr Westaway heard Clr Turland refer to Clr Arkwright as a “cunt”, and this was also clearly heard by other diners including Mr Westaway’s children who were 7 and 9 at the time. The conduct of Clr Turland was so disgusting and appalling on the night, Mr Westaway complained about the matter to ABC Radio Illawarra, who then interviewed the local businessman as Steve*. Here’s an extract – “We were sitting there minding our own business and the language was beyond belief,” Steve* said. “One was a Wingecarribee councillor (Turland) and they (all) gave us a running commentary of the council and regularly used the f, c, b words as well as other language. The whole conversation was peppered with it and it went on for about 20 minutes.” Robert Westaway and Ian Scandrett both confirmed (to me in person) that Clr Turland was the most disgusting and profane of the group, made even worse when he referred to Clr Arkwright as a “cunt”. Indeed, the day after the incident, Robert Westaway was still so offended by the episode, he called a well-known Sydney talk-back radio program, and once again (going by the alias), he bitterly complained of Turland’s misconduct, and the offensive conduct by his fellow diners. My questions to you are these – How was Clr Turland able to get away with such vile, unconscionable behaviour, when the rules governing code of conduct obligations clearly state – “Whenever councillors appear in public, even though they may not be doing anything related to their council position, they are usually seen as acting in their councillor role and judged in this light. This means the position of councillor is really a ‘24/7’ one. Councillors therefore need to act at all times in a way that does not bring disrepute to either themselves or their council”? Why wasn’t there an investigation into the matter after Steve contacted the mayor, Juliet Arkwright at the time of the incident? Why didn’t Clr Scandrett initiate a code of conduct complaint against Clr Turland, which he’s obligated to do. After all, councillors must maintain the probity of council at all times? The incident took place in 2013, and for the next 3 years of his council term, Clr Turland never missed an opportunity to complain about code of conduct violations by a number of other councillors. How could Clr Turland be such a hypocrite with glaring double standards, when at the very beginning of his first term on council, he calls the mayor a “cunt”, while being intoxicated in a crowded restaurant with young children in attendance? In a complaint to the SHN about a Facebook posting by Larry Whipper in January 2016, Clr Turland was quoted as saying – “That the apparent leader of our community (Mayor Whipper) would publish such an offensive and discriminatory item I find this highly offensive to the shire’s community, it’s business houses and importantly to our own Wingecarribee Shire Council staff”, and also “I can honestly say that our shire has never been brought into such low repute as during this term of council”. For the record, Mayor Whipper’s post was about “brown noses in upper management”, and while the posting made no mention of the Wingecarribee Shire Council, Clr Turland insinuated in the newspaper article that it was indeed about the council’s senior management. What right does Clr Turland have in complaining about Clr Whipper bringing the council into disrepute, when three years earlier, Garry Turland was calling Mayor Arkwright a “cunt” in a busy family restaurant? How can Clr Turland call out Clr Whipper for being so disreputable, when his own conduct as councillor for the previous four years had been mired in code violations, abuse of power, the misleading of the council and the community, and a number of other serious offences? How can Clr Turland make the following statement in the same article. “I apologise to the electorate for being part of what could be said to be the most dysfunctional and unprofessional council in NSW”, when his own unethical and unconscionable conduct as a councillor during the previous four years amounted to systemic corruption, and exposed Clr Turland as blatant hypocrite and liar?
In 2016, I wrote a parody song that called out Clr Turland for corruption. The satirical song was seen by between 10-100 people (according to the Supreme Court of NSW). I wrote the song as a journalist and satirist, but most importantly, as a concerned community member. Clr Turland initiated defamation proceedings against me with the initial demand I pay him $24,000. I chose to defend the matter, and in the last two years of litigation, I’ve spent $100,000 on legal fees and associated costs. I was also forced to sell my house to fund the defence. My career as a disability support worker has been ruined, my small business, Tailormade Tunes, has ceased to trade, and the cost to my health has been staggering. For the last six months I’ve had a chronic back problem, and the pain has been so bad, I have to be heavily medicated just to carry out everyday duties. More recently, I had to sell my car to meet mounting legal costs. The car was used as part of my job, so I’ve now been unemployed for a month, and I have no income. Indeed, the vexatious and malicious Supreme Court case has left me with serious health issues, including, acute depression and anxiety. My questions to you are these – In light of recently uncovered evidence that proves Deputy Mayor Garry Turland is indeed corrupt, will the Wingecarribee Shire Council allow Clr Turland to continue suing me in the Supreme Court of NSW? After all, when it comes to councillor conduct, the Councillor Handbook of 2017 clearly states “Acting ethically is not just about avoiding or managing conflicts of interests. It also applies to the interactions of councillors with council staff, members of the public, use of resources and any personal benefits councillors might obtain”. Now that Clr Turland has been exposed as a fraud and a vexatious litigant, wouldn’t it be fair to say that Clr Turland has acted unethically in dealing with a member of the public? And wouldn’t it be fair to say that his court action against me is an abuse of power in an attempt to silence me from continuing to speak out about his corruption? And wouldn’t it be considered a personal benefit for the councillor if he succeeded in silencing a community member, one who’s spoken out about his corruption as a journalist and satirist? Under the Local Government Act 1993, councillors are obliged to take an oath or affirmation of office at or before the first meeting of the council after they are elected. In doing so, councillors are required to swear or affirm that they will undertake the duties of the office of councillor in the best interests of the local community and the council and that they will faithfully and impartially carry out the functions to the best of their abilities. How can Wingecarribee Shire Council allow Clr Turland to sue a constituent in the Supreme Court of NSW when the councillor swore an oath to represent the best interests of the community, faithfully and impartially? Clr Turland was fully aware his actions were dishonest and unethical, after all, for the last 6 years, he’s constantly attacked other councillors over alleged code of conduct violations, so he knows what’s expected of himself and his colleagues. How can that same councillor be allowed to ruin a person’s life, and ruin them financially – all because the person wrote a funny song about the councillor being corrupt (which it now turns out, he is)? Will the deputy mayor be allowed to continue his vexatious litigation against me in light of recent developments, and also based on the fact that there’s more evidence of Clr Turland’s corruption yet to be exposed?
Charlie Johns is a well-known criminal, and I’ve exposed his corruption on my Facebook page, Defying Defamation. I’ve complained numerous times to the police about Mr Johns, and even though I have undeniable evidence of his corruption, the police have (suspiciously) failed to act. I’ve also spoken extensively with current and former councillors about Mr Johns’s illegal activities, and all of them have confirmed the so-called businessman and “council watcher” is indeed corrupt. Mr Johns is a very close friend and a long-term business associate of Clr Turland’s. Mr Johns is also a witness to the statement of claim in Clr Turland’s malicious defamation proceedings against me. In 2018, Charlie Johns conspired with local corrupt police officers to have me charged and convicted for stalking and intimidation. This occurred after I confronted Mr Johns with overwhelming proof of his long-term illegal activities. The dubious charge and conviction was based on a false and misleading statement that Mr Johns submitted to police and the court, including fabricated evidence, outright lies and an obvious conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. I’ve since had the conviction annulled, and when the matter appears before Moss Vale Court on 20 May, 2019, I will be providing evidence that Mr Johns has colluded with corrupt police to have me railroaded on trumped up charges in retaliation – after I confronted Mr Johns about his systemic corruption. Indeed, when I posted the evidence I have regarding Mr Johns’s corruption, he once again abused the court system by having a condition placed on a bogus AVO that forbade me from further exposure of Mr Johns’s corruption on social media. My questions to you are these – Deputy Mayor Turland has a close personal and business relationship with a known criminal. One of the cardinal rules of the council’s charter clearly states that a councillor must “Not at any time, do anything contrary to the interests of the Company or anything else which does or may bring Council into disrepute”. How is Clr Turland allowed to consort with a known criminal, especially now there’s evidence in the public domain that proves – without a doubt – that Mr Johns is guilty of long-term entrenched corruption? How can Charlie Johns be the sole selling agent for Clr Turland’s $20,000,000 Holland Park development, when it’s now been irrefutably proven that Mr Johns is a common criminal? When I confronted Mr Johns with evidence of his corruption, why didn’t he respond to my charges and instantly refute my allegations? It’s well known in the community that Mr Johns is a crook, how can Clr Turland be such a hypocrite in making complaints about other councillor’s code of conduct violations, when his closest business associate and long-term friend has been exposed as a common criminal? I wrote a 4 minute parody song about Clr Turland’s corruption and he sued me defamation. Don’t you find it extraordinary that one of the nominated witnesses in the defamation case has now been exposed as a common criminal? In mid 2018, I confronted Clr Turland about Mr Johns’s corruption in an email sent to his official WSC address. I also emailed Clr Turland’s wife, Heather, with similar concerns. Clr Turland then succeeded in having a majority of councillors and senior staff sign a statutory declaration that suppressed my allegations of corruption, which is in violation of the council’s charter and its zero tolerance to corruption policy? Don’t you find it extraordinary that when I accuse Clr Turland of corruption he’s mounts a malicious and vexatious court case against me, and when I accuse Charlie Johns of illegal activities he uses corrupt local police officers to have me convicted for stalking and intimidation?
During my investigation into Clr Turland’s corruption as part of my defence in the defamation matter, I uncovered undeniable evidence of corruption by former councillor Malcolm Murray. Mr Murray is Clr Turland’s solicitor in the defamation proceedings, and I’ve posted evidence of his corruption on my Facebook page, Defying Defamation. Indeed, my allegations of Mr Murray’s corruption are still on the Facebook page, and because the accusations are backed up by irrefutable evidence, Mr Murray is unable to have it taken down. My questions to you are these – How can Clr Turland be suing me for defamation for calling him corrupt, when the solicitor he’s using to sue me is corrupt in his own right? Don’t you find it extraordinary that two of the main protagonists in Clr Turland’s prosecution of me – Mr Murray and Mr Johns – are demonstrably corrupt, and have been for nearly 20 years? I was due in the Supreme Court regarding the defamation proceedings on 5 April, 2019, but couldn’t attend due to serious health issues that can be directly attributed to the court case. Isn’t Clr Turland bringing the council into disrepute by continuing to litigate against me when there’s now overwhelming evidence of his corruption, and that of his solicitor, and that of his closest business associate?
In February, 2019, the council passed a motion to adopt the updated Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy. The policy included the Fraud and Corruption Risk Assessment, the Control Plan, the Incident Register, the application of Internal Controls, fraud and corruption awareness and ethical behaviour. As the general manager, how can you expect the community to have trust in such a comprehensive policy, when Clr Turland is constantly bringing the council into disrepute due to serious misconduct and systemic corruption? Part of the 2019 Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy includes – “Council routinely undertakes checks of activities, processes, controls and transactions. This monitoring and review process seeks to ensure that irregularities and warning signals are identified early and acted upon”. How have I been able to (easily) expose Clr Turland’s corruption, when for the last six years he’s been a councillor, not one person at council has been able to “identify irregularities”, including the manager of governance (and also the former manager of governance, Clr Peter Nelson)? Is the Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy simply a farce, and a way to pay lip service to the community on the pretence of maintaining council probity? The updated policy also states that the general manager must “Ensure that the investigation of suspected fraud and corruption adheres to relevant Council policies, and where appropriate is reported to the ICAC in accordance with
the ICAC Act”. Now that Clr Turland’s fraud and corruption has been exposed (with further exposure to come in the coming weeks), will you be initiating a full and impartial investigation into Clr Turland’s serious misconduct in his official capacity as as councillor and deputy mayor? After all, one of the general manager’s roles is to “Ensure that Council’s powers, duties and responsibilities are exercised in an open, fair and proper manner to the highest standards of probity”. Would the highest standard of probity entail a proper investigation into Clr Turland’s unlawful conduct, and especially his vexatious litigation against me for calling him out for being corrupt (when it now turns out, he is)? Do you believe Garry Turland has maintained probity as a councillor, by suing me in the Supreme Court and ruining me financially, and all because I called him out as corrupt? As part of Cl Turland’s reelection campaign in 2016, he made the following promises to the community – “Restore integrity and respect to council” while providing “(an) honest and transparent commitment to community concerns and expectations”. In the last six years, Clr Turland has shown utter contempt for the rules and regulations of the Wingecarribee Shire Council, and has brought the council into disrepute. How has he been able to get away with major violations of code of conduct requirements when the council openly promotes its zero tolerance to corruption policy?
At a council meeting on 8 October, 2014, and two years into his first term, Clr Turland declared a pecuniary interest for three developments before council, two in Bowral, and one in Moss Vale. Clr Turland nominated the conflicts as pecuniary and “refrained from voting thereon”. All three motions before council were major conflicts “as his family owns property within the same zoning”. My questions to you are these – How can Clr Turland declare a pecuniary interest regarding three non-commercial developments before council in 2014, when two years later, he declares a non-pecuniary interest regarding a $16,000,000 road upgrade (right outside his multi-million mall) and then proceeds to vote on the motions? Not forgetting – Clr Turland initially declared the Station Street Upgrade a pecuniary interest in the first place. How can Clr Turland get away with such flagrant abuse of power and other code of conduct violations? Indeed, at a council meeting in 2018, and in response to a question from Clr Scandrett about his major conflict of interest concerning the Station Street Upgrade, Clr Turland made this remarkable statement in open council – “that in accordance with the Code of Conduct Practise it is up to him whether he declares an interest or not”. This is absolutely not the case. In maintaining probity at council, it’s up to all councillors and staff to not only comply with the rules, but make sure their colleagues are complying with them as well. After all, it clearly states in the WSC Statement of Ethics that a conflict of interest includes – “If you, a family member, relative, friend, or associate has a financial interest in a matter you deal with or have the power to influence” and also (you must) “recognise and disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest”. With such clearly stated rules in place, how has Clr Turland been allowed to violate the council’s charter time and time again (while at the same time chastising other councillors for perceived breaches against the code of conduct requirements)?
The editor of the Southern Highland News, Jackie Meyers, is a very close friend of Clr Turland. In fact, they’ve known each other their whole lives, having gone to school together. I’ve done extensive research of SHN articles dating back 10 years, and I’ve never seen the paper report on Clr Turland using proper investigative journalism. Indeed, the SHN coverage of the Station Street Upgrade and the Holland Park development constantly spoke in favourable terms when it came to Clr Turland’s private business as a developer. And it’s well known in the community (including former councillors and other major stakeholders) that Jackie Meyers is a corrupt editor, and in all likelihood, she’s received inducements over the years to turn a blind eye to Clr Turland’s corruption. In 2016, I entered the SHN offices with the hope of interviewing Ms Meyers about her failure to properly inform the community that the shire council was riddled with corruption. Allegedly under duress, the first thing Ms Meyers did was call Clr Turland and ask his advice on what to do (because she was supposably in fear of her safety). Clr Turland told Ms Meyers to call the police. The police were contacted and I was summons to court on trumped up charges of stalking and intimidation. I ended up beating the malicious charge, because the police had absolutely no evidence that I committed a crime. My questions to you are these – Why would Ms Meyers call a councillor when she was in such fear of her safety, as opposed to immediately calling the police? Don’t you think it a remarkable coincidence that I accuse two people for corrupt conduct (Meyers and Johns), and they BOTH have me charged with stalking and intimidation? Don’t you think it extraordinary that these same two people are associated with Deputy Mayor Garry Turland, the councillor who’s been suing me in the Supreme Court for 2 years, thereby ruining me financially and destroying my life? Isn’t such a close relationship with the editor of the local paper a major conflict of interest for Clr Turland, and shouldn’t it be declared accordingly? The most extraordinary aspect of Clr Turland’s malicious and vexatious court case against me is the fact the SHN has never ONCE reported on the Supreme Court action. At all. Ever. As the general manager on a 5 year contract worth $1.6 million, and based on your knowledge and experience of local government, don’t you find it staggering that the local paper has not ONCE reported on my case, even though I’ve lost my house, my career, my small business, most of my assets, and practically everything I own?
When I was working for Jane King at LattéLife, I overheard dozens of calls between her and Graeme Day of 2ST. Mr Day would usually be drunk during the discussions, and most of the conversations lasted more than an hour. One overriding theme in all the conversations was the unbridled corruption of Clr Turland. Indeed, a lot of the negative LattéLife articles about Clr Turland over the years involved information Graeme Day leaked to Jane King. Mr Day was by no means a fan of Clr Turland and would rail against his corruption as a developer and a councillor, while also naming and shaming his corrupt associates – including Charlie Johns and Nick Campbell-Jones. My questions to you are these – Don’t you find it extraordinary that Graeme Day has interviewed Clr Turland numerous times on air about the Station Street Upgrade, when Clr Turland had no right to speak in the public domain about the $16,000,000 development, having already declared the upgrade a pecuniary interest? Don’t you find it extraordinary that while Graeme Day is happy to have Garry Turland on air as a regular guest, he hasn’t ONCE asked him about Clr Turland’s malicious and vexatious defamation case against me? Indeed, Graeme Day has NEVER ONCE mentioned the malicious prosecution on air in over two years of litigation. During my time with LattéLife, Mr Day was vehement about his absolute disgust regarding Clr Turland’s corruption, but instead of confronting Clr Turland about his disreputable conduct 9on behalf of the community), Mr Day invites the councillor on air. and asks him all these softball questions (as if there’s some sort of pre-arranged agreement). As the general manager of a council that has a zero tolerance to corruption policy, don’t you find this extraordinary?
The reason you’re paid $330,000 per annum as the GM is because you’re responsible for a community of 50,000 people. As the general manager, you have to have years of experience to call upon, a remarkable knowledge of local government rules and regulations, and integrity, transparency and accountability that is beyond reproach. The Wingecarribee Shire has entrusted you to always represent the community first and foremost, and as it’s repeated constantly throughout the various policies of the shire council – you must never bring the council into disrepute. Based on what I’ve just stated, and encompassing everything I written in this document, I ask the following questions – Will you attempt to suppress this email of my serious grievances concerning Clr Turland? Will you ignore my grievances? Will you attempt to smear my name by saying I’m a nutcase, and somebody who’s stark raving mad and just having a rant? Will you initiate an investigation into my complaints against Clr Turland, promptly and impartially? Will you be asking Clr Turland to stand down as a councillor based on overwhelming evidence of his corruption (until a full investigation of his conduct has concluded)? Based on the extent of Clr Turland’s malfeasance and fraud, will you report Clr Turland to ICAC, as you’re obligated to do insofar as the council’s charter is concerned, and as part of your role in maintaining council probity at all times? Will you be asking Clr Turland to suspend his malicious and vexatious court case against me in lieu of an investigation bt council into his conduct and behaviour? Would you be willing to have a meeting with me to discuss further details of Clr Turland’s corruption? Will you be asking me for more information?
Ms Prendergast, on behalf of the community of the Wingecarribee Shire, I call upon you to do your job properly, fairly and in the best interests of ALL people in the Southern Highlands. At present, the council is considered one of the most corrupt councils in NSW, and something needs to be done immediately to correct the problem
A thorough investigation into the conduct of Clr Turland would be a good start.
Please contact me anytime on 0409 871 763.