Brown, Chuang and the job reference

Debate continues about the reference Len Brown gave Bevan Chuang that helped her get a job earlier in their relationship.

Brown helped Chuang get a job

Auckland Mayor Len Brown provided his eventual mistress with help to get a job with an Auckland Council subsidiary, at the same time as she says he was trying to establish a sexual relationship with her.

Bevan Chuang, who had an affair with Brown for two years, used the mayor as a reference on her CV in an application for a job at the Auckland Art Gallery.

On 4 July 2011 Brown’s office was contacted by the gallery, a subsidiary of the Auckland Council, and asked if the mayor could provide a reference for her application, according to the mayor’s office.

The mayor’s diary officer was asked to provide a short response to say that the mayor highly recommended Chuang.

Chuang was given the position at the art gallery.

The reference was provided before the sexual relationship had started but Brown had already begun sexual advances towards Chuang, according to an affidavit she had published on the affair.

He first met Chuang in May 2011 after which Brown began regularly contacting her, texting her twice a day and calling her up to five times a week, according to Chuang.

The pair began having closed door meetings and it was during one of those meetings in June that Brown kissed Chuang, she said.

His office provided the reference in July and his advances continued until a sexual relationship began shortly after her birthday in August.

NZ Herald:

“The Mayor’s office was contacted by email by the Auckland Art Gallery on July 4, 2011 and asked to provide a reference in relation to the application.

“On July 5, at the Mayor’s request, the mayor’s diary manager responded by email to say that the Mayor highly recommended Bevan.

“The diary manager also asked in the email that the person call her to discuss. As the staff member left some time ago we’re not sure whether the call was returned and whether she discussed the reference further,” the statement said.

Brown provided Chuang a written reference and “highly recommended” Chuang in a phone reference.

Chuang has said that frequent contact and kissing had occurred by then. In this week’s interview she confirmed she was in a “romantic” relationship but didn’t confirm or deny it was a sexual relationship at that stage.

In her affidavit she said that kissing started in June, masturbating followed and that intercourse first occurred shortly after Chuang’s birthday in August.

A reporter asked why he wrote a letter of recommendation for Bevan Chaung for a job at Auckland Art Gallery and “Why did you abuse your position of power?”

“No I did not abuse my position of power,” he replied. “There will be many, many people around Auckland who have received similar letters of recommendation and support.”

Reporter: “But they’re not your mistress.”

Len Brown: “Yeah. And at that point in time this was very, very early in the relationship that I had with her. And so I wrote as I do for as I say many people across Auckland. And that is just a normal letter of support and reflection of what I knew of her at that time.”

It cannot be viewed as a “normal letter of support” when he was actively trying to seduce Chuang at the time.

Unless it was normal for Brown to write letters of support and highly recommend people he was trying to bonk.

The NZ Herald online poll:

Should Len Brown stand down as mayor?

  • Yes 54%
  • No 42%
  • Not sure 4%
(67100–67150 votes)

Chuang’s reference at “the very early stages of knowing each other”

Len Brown has now said that he wrote a reference for Chuang at “the very early stages of knowing each other”. He obviously wasn’t aware of Chuang’s work record.

Brown explained that “I have provided many references in supports of lots and lots of friends and people that I know” and “it was, for me, a fairly typical reference done at a time when, quite frankly, we hadn’t known each other all that long”.

Why has Brown handed out “lots and lots” references for people he doesn’t know very well? A Mayoral reference would often be seen to have quite a bit of weight on a CV – and it’s known that with the Art Gallery job a verbal reference was also given.

If Brown gives references to people he hardly knows has he made it clear how limited his knowledge is?

It seems that a Brown Mayoral reference is not something that can be taken very seriously when evaluating suitability for employment.

Reference from NZ Herald:

Was it an abuse of power to provide a reference for Bevan Chuang?

It was the very early stages of us knowing each other. I have provided many references in supports of lots and lots of friends and people that I know. The letter of support I wrote was a reasonable letter. I tend to be quite positive in my writing for the many people I write references for. It wasn’t a reference that was requested or provided for that was out of the norm. It was, for me, a fairly typical reference done at a time when, quite frankly, we hadn’t known each other all that long.

Brown says similar in a Fairfax/Stuff at just after the 13 minutes in this interview.

Len Brown’s reference for Bevan Chuang is one of the subjects of the council inquiry into their affair.