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British Columbia 'Ethical, honest, fiscally responsible.’ B.C. Legislature officers respond to explosive allegations of misspending

Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz, left, and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly Craig James make a statement to media in Vancouver, B.C., on Nov. 26, 2018. The men were suspended with pay and escorted from the legislative buildings by police last November.

BEN NELMS/The Canadian Press

The two B.C. Legislature officers alleged to have misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds on items including lavish holidays, alcohol and a wood splitter have filed responses to those allegations and deny they have done anything wrong.

Clerk of the House Craig James and Sergeant-At-Arms Gary Lenz issued statements on Thursday saying they have responded as fully as they could to the allegations in a report written by Speaker Darryl Plecas.

The responses have been sent to the all-party committee of the Legislature that oversees the precinct, and both said on Thursday evening they hope their responses will be made public.

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“I have responded to each and every allegation contained in this report,” Mr. Lenz said in a written statement. "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. The negative impact this has had on me and my family is immeasurable.”

Mr. Lenz said his service over the past 13 years has been “ethical, honest, fiscally responsible, trustworthy and non-partisan," and that he has not acted in a manner unbecoming to the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

In his statement, Mr. James said he had responded as well as he could to the concerns raised about his behaviour, given the short time provided and “in the absence of access to records and staff.”

“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,” Mr. James said in his statement.

“I am depending on the [Legislative Assembly Management Committee] and the members of the House to review the information that I have provided carefully, and treat me fairly,” he added.

The men were suspended with pay and escorted from the legislative buildings by police last November. Mr. Plecas released his report on Jan. 21, alleging flagrant spending and other abuses of taxpayer money.

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