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B.C. legislature officials deny wrongdoing in reply to Speaker's allegations

Last Updated Feb 7, 2019 at 8:34 pm PDT

FILE PHOTO: Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz (centre left) and Clerk Craig James (centre right) speak to reporters in Vancouver on Nov. 26, 2018. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz have responded to allegations of inappropriate spending

Both top legislative officials were suspended and being investigated by police

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Two top legislative officials accused of “flagrant overspending” by Speaker Darryl Plecas are denying they did anything wrong.

Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz, who have both been suspended and are currently being investigated by the RCMP, broke their silence Thursday. Plecas’ report alleges the two officials were engaged in overspending, submitted questionable expenses and took inappropriate cash payouts.

Both men had until today to submit responses to a special committee, the Legislative Assembly Management Committee, that is investigating the allegations described in a 76-page report released by Plecas.

Both men said they have responded to the committee as best they could without access to their records and staff.

In a press release, James says he hasn’t done anything wrong.

“I maintain, as I have all along, that I have not done anything wrong which justifies the actions that have been taken against me, or the unfair and prejudicial manner in which those actions have been taken,” James wrote in a statement. “I am depending on the LAMC and the Members of the House to review the information that I have provided carefully and treat me fairly.”

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Lenz also reiterated that he was innocent of the allegations against him, adding that the impact the situation has had on his him and his family have been “immeasurable.”

“I have maintained from the day when I was publicly removed from my position and the Legislative buildings under police escort that I have committed no wrongdoing,” Lenz writes in a press release. “Over the past 13 years of service to the people of British Columbia, I have been ethical, honest, fiscally responsible, trustworthy and non-partisan. I have not acted in a manner unbecoming to the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms.”

He also adds that he hopes he can be reinstated in the Legislature.

Plecas’ report says the two expensed luxury overseas trips and recieved hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash payouts in lieu of vacation time.

– With files from the Canadian Press