Failed mayoral candidate John Palino has flatly denied fresh claims from Len Brown's former mistress that he tried to use details of her affair to force the mayor into resigning after the election.
Palino last night admitted he had met Bevan Chuang in a car park in the Auckland suburb of Mission Bay the day after the election. But he said the meeting was to discuss threatening text messages the pair had received from an unknown party.
A mayoral candidate in last week's local body elections, Palino said he and Brown had "fought a clean campaign" based on integrity.
"Suggestions now that I, an entrepreneur, TV personality and political novice, am somehow orchestrating some grand right-wing conspiracy to unseat Len after the election are so wrong and so absurd they do not stand up to even the remotest test of common sense," Palino said.
Chuang claimed in a statement provided to Sunday Star-Times yesterday that at her meeting with Palino, he had asked her to help "get Len by the end of the week" - the earlier the better.
The idea was get him to step down due to "poor health", she said, adding: "Palino continues to remind me that it needs to be done in the beginning of the week."
Chuang said Palino had spoken about plans to build a fusion Chinese restaurant in Auckland "and will ask me for assistance". Palino indicated campaign team member Luigi Wewege could become his chief of staff "and asked what I would like to do".
Chuang said she spoke to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater later that night, who indicated that he would use her text messages to pressure Brown "to stand down".
But Slater said Chuang's allegations were "outrageous" and untrue.
He said he had been tipped off about Brown's affair by Wewege and tracked Chuang down. He said she was never placed under any pressure to go public with her story and she decided to go ahead only after he, Chuang and various National Party members received threatening text messages.
The texts, referring to Slater as "scum" were also sent to Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer and National cabinet minister Maurice Williamson.
The origin of the texts is unknown. The phone number has been disconnected.
Palino said he had "poured my heart and soul" into the Auckland election campaign and he was frustrated and upset about the allegations against him.
"I have no comment to make, nor have ever made any comment, on the personal life of the mayor.
"I have not once since I found out of their affair come out and sought to make political capital out of the mayor's misery.
"The first time I became aware that Bevan and Len were in a sexual relationship was last Tuesday following the release of the affidavit."
Palino said Chuang had never disclosed "the full nature" of her relationship with the mayor and only ever indicated she received persistent and unwanted propositions from the mayor.
"On the basis of this understanding, I advised her not to go public."
Chuang's new affidavit also includes messages she says were exchanged between her and Wewege on the evening of Sunday, October 13, about meeting journalist Stephen Cook to tell her story.
BC: "Can I talk / see u after I speak to Steve tonight? I'm really scared n I just need some assurance. Sorry to be needy"
Luigi W: "Sure baby . . . what time?"
BC: "I'm talking to him at 9 after my meeting in New Lynn"
LW: "Ok cool . . . thought he was calling Len at 9?"
BC: "Don't know but I cant meet him earlier I've git work. Sorry"
LW: "Honey please!!!!!!!!!!!!! We need this out ASAP! Can you not fit him in for a bit?"
BC: "I've got to be at New Lynn by 6.30. I maybe able to see him earlier if I finish earlier"
LW: "Baby please we have come this far..................."
BC: "I need to work. I need $$$"
LW: "You don't not after tomorrow! Please honey bunny..."
LW: "what about the affidavit?"
BC: "Don't knoe"
LW: "Please ask him?"
- © Fairfax NZ News
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