By the numbers: B.C Speaker's report on alleged overspending
VICTORIA - A report by British Columbia legislature Speaker Darryl Plecas alleges spending misconduct by two top officials who have been suspended during an ongoing RCMP investigation. Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz and clerk Craig James deny any wrongdoing and say they will respond to the allegations in the 76-page report.
The report alleges:
- On a trip to England in August 2018 to attend an anti-terrorism exercise, James claimed $1,327.29 for a new charcoal-coloured suit he bought but said it was black to claim it as a work uniform expense.
- On the same U.K. trip, Lenz claimed $666.11 for mother-of-pearl cufflinks and a mother-of-pearl stud set, a wing-collared shirt and an onyx and silver stud set.
- James expensed more than $5,000 in digital and print magazines, including “Arizona Highways,” “Wired,” “Electric Bike Action” and “Popular Mechanics.”
- In June 2017, James was reimbursed $504.44 for the purchase of noise-cancelling headphones.
- The government paid James $658.45 for a waterproof camera in 2017, and months later paid out $515.18 for memory cards and then over $800 for a tripod.
- Reimbursement claims made by James for $2,135.87 was for luggage he purchased in Scotland, England and Hong Kong. It says James explained he was requested to buy the luggage by members of the legislature, who would use it.
- In 2018, a wood splitter worth $3,200.91 and a $10,029.60 trailer were allegedly purchased by the legislature and delivered to James's home. The report says both James and Lenz used the device to split wood. It says the Speaker inquired about the reason for buying the wood splitter and was told if a crisis occurred at the legislature there could be a need to split a tree for fire wood.