Subject: Breach of trust and corruption of process.
On the 25th of November 2013, Councillor Cordelia Troy forwarded an email message to a director of Jenlaw Pty Limited: <http://mountbaker.boxall.id.au/rave/#troy%20email>. In its history and distribution list, the message held details of confidential discussions between residents, their identities and email addresses. Councillor Troy had the privilege of access to that message in her capacity as Councillor for Ward A.
Jenlaw Pty Limited is the developer of Cedars Mount View. The message that Councillor Troy forwarded to a director of Jenlaw Pty Limited relates to a development at Cedars Mount View. While a director of Jenlaw Pty Limited may have an interest in the content of that message, they have no right to it. The public interest will not be served until the probity and legality of Councillor Troy's behaviour are investigated.
At the same time, Councillor Troy forwarded the message to <████████████@gmail.com>. Diverting privileged information to a personal account is in itself an offence, I believe; unethical, if not illegal. The public interest will not be served until the probity and legality of Councillor Troy's behaviour are investigated.
On the 26th of November 2013, a director of Paved Way Pty Ltd emailed. With the exception of the addresses of Councillor Troy herself and that of another director, their message is addressed to precisely the same list as the one Councillor Troy forwarded to her gmail account, including the order of the addresses and peculiar capitalisation of one. On balance of probabilities, Paved Way Pty Ltd was working from a message identical to the one forwarded by Councillor Troy to her personal gmail address. Paved Way Pty Ltd is the applicant for the development that is the subject of the message in question.
On the 5th of December 2013, a director of Paved Way Pty Ltd said that the message that was forwarded to them came from a gmail address “created for the purpose”. If those words are to be taken at face value, then whoever sent the message to Paved Way Pty Ltd felt a need to conceal their identity. In my view, the premeditation involved approaches criminality.
To the address list of their 26th of November message, Paved Way Pty Ltd added <Cordelia.Troy@cessnock.nsw.gov.au>. Does this indicate a pre-existing relationship between Councillor Troy and Paved Way Pty Ltd? Does it indicate that the author believed that the message sent to them, betraying local residents, came directly from Councillor Troy?
The public interest will be served if those responsible for diverting the message to Paved Way Pty Ltd are brought to account. Investigation will require access beyond that available to Council. Matters have been referred to ICAC and the Information and Privacy Commission; those bodies might assist.
At the Council meeting on the 7th of May 2014, Councillor Olsen referred to an issue that had generated some comment in the community; the outlandish behaviour of Councillor Troy <http://mountbaker.boxall.id.au/rave/20140507.html#lobbying>. If there was push-polling or suggestive questioning, with selected responses exploited to influence voting, then the approval process has been corrupted.
Before he was shouted down, Councillor Olsen evidently had more to say. The fact that Councillor Troy's bullying behaviour was allowed raises questions about the administration of the process.
The validity of the development approval is therefore in question on more than one level. While issues with its approval remain, allowing the development to proceed does not serve the public interest.
For background, see <http://mountbaker.boxall.id.au/rave/>.
Detail of Cordelia Troy's personal gmail address elided. Despite her treachery, I have no excuse to violate the Councillor's privacy.
This work by David Boxall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License