UP IN FLAMES: Has Stephen Mayne finally met his match?

mayneburningSleazy local politician and retired reckless internet defamer and kindergarten administrator Stephen Mayne is persisting in his probably unlawful efforts to get ratepayers – and council insurers – to bail him out of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs after a local community nursing home has sued him for defamation.

PAYBACK
In a shocking development, Mayne appears to have publicly threatened the non-profit community nursing home with the withdrawal of council funding unless it withdraws its legal case against him.

In a newsletter he still sends out in a reasonably sad re-enactment of Crikey in the old days, he made a reasonably clear threat against the group, clearly linking their litigation with ongoing funding by the council of the old people’s home.

It’s not known what legal hot water he might get into for making such improper threats.

BROKE AND BOOTED
The stakes are high with Mayne potentially not being able to pay a substantial damages award – on top of legal costs – which could lead to his bankruptcy and removal from the council. It also places a cloud over whether Manningham ratepayers can continue to afford so reckless a person on their municipal authority, entrusted with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and annual revenue.

Mayne, who has a proven record of literally concocting things in his crazy days as an email newsletter crank and serial pest candidate for company boards , is seen by the Chinese community as a blunt instrument of anti-Chinese sentiment in the community which manifested itself in his attacks on a Chinese nursing home for daring to expand their number of beds to reflect growing demand from elderly Chinese people too frail to live at home.

The local councillor accused the not-for-profit nursing home of a number of things, which are false and not able to be repeated for legal reasons.

SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD
They apparently asked for a retraction and apology, which Mayne refused. He is now making hints about apologising but has so far failed to do so.

The nursing home community group issued Supreme Court proceedings in defamation after his repeated failure to apologise for lying about them, which Mayne insists he will defend although he seems intent on relying on ratepayers’ money to do so.

Local government experts say the Manningham council would do well to be very careful on the question of using public monies to fund the private defamation litigation expenses incurred by councillors making freelance statements, not authorised by the full council.

“It would require a bottomless pit to fund it all,” one said. “It seems very unlikely insurers would want to pick up the bill and if they did, it would definitely impact council premiums.”

This is obviously especially the case in the case of Mayne, who has been sued in defamation very regularly over the years for a steady stream of spectacular falsehoods from lies about people’s traffic accidents, homosexuality, honesty and too many other nasties to recall.

Insiders from Mayne’s reign of error at Crikey recall that he mostly fabricated material against people he didn’t like, often prompted by anonymous emails that he slightly edited and cobbled together as stories.

While amusing in an email newsletter, it doesn’t really work as a local political operation and it seems ratepayers could potentially pay a high price with vital council services like child-care, road maintenance and TimTams for the officers all at risk from Mayne’s loose lips.

GONE TO GROUND
Uncharacteristically, Mayne is keeping quiet about the fiasco, failing to respond to our provocative yet throughtful email inquiry (to which he is normally a rapid responder being the attention ho we know him to be):

We were surprised that Mayne didn’t respond and as it turned out that was because of a glitch in our email system. He responded and out of courtesy we publish his response to our email below in full:

Hi Stephen,

You know it must be trouble when VEXNEWS comes a calling.

Karma normally prevents us being too enthusiastic about defo litigation these days and we haven’t done much on the Chinese nursing home defamation situation you are in but the contents of your newsletter will almost certainly provoke a story by us on this.

Accordingly, I have a few questions:

1) The organisation suing you is a community nursing home, not really a developer, is that right? If so, why are you referring to them incorrectly in public statements? Isn’t this just sneaky spin by a manipulative politician of the kind you once decried?

2) If you intend to claim legal expenses from the council or the council’s insurers, what will be the financial implications for ratepayers?

3) Is it true they sought an apology for your statements, which you refused? Is it now too late?

4) Are you worried this legal action might bankrupt you and disqualify you from continuing on the council?

5) I refer you to these words of yours: “Not sure how suing councillors in the Victorian Supreme Court adds to anyone’s health and wellbeing or the ability to fund such programs”

Are you threatening to deprive this community nursing home of funds if they don’t stop their proceedings against you?

If not, what did you mean?

I hope to put up a story on this by no later than midday tomorrow and would welcome your comments, which we’ll deal with in the same respectful way we have in the past. If you don’t comment, that will be noted in the usual way.

UPDATE: It surprised us when Cr. Mayne didn’t respond. We should have checked because he says he did respond quite quickly and we don’t doubt him and do have problems with the volume of emails we get. Here’s his spin – perfected in the House of Kennett and then cruelly used against him:

Hi Andrew, great to hear from you as always and would appreciate, in the interests of fair play, that you publish this Q&A in full.

Naturally, you’re obviously welcome to top and tail it as colourfully as ever. Would expect nothing less.

And please, again in the interests of fair play, include a link to my latest edition ( http://www.maynereport.com/articles/2010/08/17-1517-6695.html ) so your readers can appreciate the full context of what is being said.

Regards, Stephen Mayne

On 7/03/2011 8:11 PM, Andrew Landeryou wrote:

Hi Stephen,

You know it must be trouble when VEXNEWS comes a calling.

Karma normally prevents us being too enthusiastic about defo litigation these days and we haven’t done much on the Chinese nursing home defamation situation you are in but the contents of your newsletter will almost certainly provoke a story by us on this.

Accordingly, I have a few questions:

1) The organisation suing you is a community nursing home, not really a developer, is that right? If so, why are you referring to them incorrectly in public statements? Isn’t this just sneaky spin by a manipulative politician of the kind you once decried?

Stephen Mayne: The organisation is the applicant for a major redevelopment in the Green Wedge, where nursing homes are expressly prohibited. It is a much larger organisation than just a community run nursing home and has a paid board. The state government is currently deliberating on the applicant’s “development plan”, so I believe it is an accurate description. [VEXNEWS: He’s on pretty shaky ground there I think, they’re not Bruno Grollo, whatever they are]

2) If you intend to claim legal expenses from the council or the council’s insurers, what will be the financial implications for ratepayers?

Stephen Mayne: This issue is still to be resolved. If the insurer pays, there is obviously less impact on ratepayers. Another option is to defend the case myself. The one thing I can say for sure is that this claim ( http://www.vexnews.com/news/11783/stephen-mayne-ex-liberal-staffercouncillor-attempting-to-get-ratepayers-to-cough-up-200k-for-his-private-legal-expenses-could-be-elected-to-legco-on-greens-preferences/ ) published by you on November 28 last year is false: “he has reportedly asked the municipality to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on his private legal expenses”. When you published that claim, there had been no legal costs incurred and no request made so it would be interesting to know precisely where this claim was “reportedly” made. [VEXNEWS: That’d be telling…]

In relation to expenses, I provided the following statement to The Manningham Leader, which still stands and is not yet finally resolved:

“I’m yet to submit an expense claim of any sort to council, but am now being sued for my personal assets over comments which supported a council decision and quoted directly from an officer report. Therefore, I’ve asked the CEO to provide advice as to what would be the appropriate course of action. It is noteworthy that council is also exposed to the legal costs of all parties in the VCAT appeal against the Councillor Conduct Panel findings lodged by Fred Chuah, but I’m very concerned to try and minimise costs incurred by ratepayers and would much prefer to try and settle all outstanding issues.”

3) Is it true they sought an apology for your statements, which you refused? Is it now too late?

Stephen Mayne: An apology was requested but as I was quoting from officer reports which were unanimously endorsed by council and simply standing up for Manningham’s planning scheme, I didn’t feel it was appropriate, especially after a Councillor Conduct Panel inquiry into our former deputy mayor and the President of the applicant recorded 3 misconduct findings ( http://www.maynereport.com/images/2010/12/07-15JWY6W6M00.pdf ) against him. [VEXNEWS: Which are all being appealed currently]

4) Are you worried this legal action might bankrupt you and disqualify you from continuing on the council?

Stephen Mayne: I’ve endured three Supreme Court defamation cases before and, unlike some, have never been bankrupt. [VEXNEWS: We have never been sued in defamation, successfully or otherwise because we are proud to be right] In my opinion, the prospect of such a scenario based on the known facts is remote.

5) I refer you to these words of yours: “Not sure how suing
councillors in the Victorian Supreme Court adds to anyone’s health and wellbeing or the ability to fund such programs”

Are you threatening to deprive this community nursing home of funds if they don’t stop their proceedings against you? If not, what did you mean?

Stephen Mayne: I’m simply expressing concern that hiring QCs at $8000 a day and embarking on an expensive high-risk litigation strategy might drain scarce resources away from government-funded community programs. For instance, Manningham ratepayers are spending a six figure sum so the applicant can occupy part of our new $37 million Civic Precinct building in Doncaster. The applicant is expected to contribute a five figure sum to the furniture and fit out and I just hope they have the capacity to pay if they finish up with a large legal bill. Given the commencement of litigation triggered a conflict of interest for me in relation to the applicant courtesy of the Local Government Act, it is unlikely I would be in a position to meaningfully influence the ongoing flow of ratepayer funds to the applicant. However, it should be noted that almost 12 months ago I was the councillor who most strongly supported the proposed $20,000 additional funding for the “Health and Wellbeing” program being launched by the Applicant later this week.

ends

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “UP IN FLAMES: Has Stephen Mayne finally met his match?

  1. Anonymous

    have you 2 little boys stopped your squabbling…

  2. kermit

    Steven should get some people power to help him.Oops I forgot he burnt their arse also

  3. No Chance

    Read the writ against Mayne. Absolutely no chance of it succeeding.

    VERY difficult for an incorporated association to prove defamation and what Mayne said is hardly outlandish.

    Destined to fail miserable this “case”.

  4. Corrupt Privilege

    The City Council is not allowed to pickup the costs of Councillors private liability. It would be wrong for them to do so. Had the City Council decided to fund the defence of Steven Mayne it would have be come the subject of interest of the new Corruption body that is yet to be formed.

    local Government unlike the State parliament does not hold privilege.

  5. Anonymous

    Local Government councillors in Victoria are covered by what is called “limited privilege”.

    Whether or not Mayne is covered by this limited privilege is debatable but the answer is probably.

  6. earnest Ernie

    Mayne replied at one point “….and, unlike some i have never been bankrupt…..” what did he mean by that comment? Vex News responded with the fact they had never been sued for liable. What is the bankrupt angle in this tete to tete?

  7. Ramsgate Hotel

    What was that snide little remark about never having been bankrupted about? That Mayne certainly ducks and dives.

  8. SA Correspondent

    Mayne as a Councillor is covered by limited privilege as already commented.

    In my experiece of both SA and Vic defamation case law in LG, and after reading Mayne’s report on this as well as the Council planning report, I believe that Mayne could use the defence (and he is) that he is simply quoting the Council line (and as long as he is not being malicious, he could paraphrase it a bit).

    This means not only is he covered by Council for proceedings (as he should be), it also means he cannot vote on any matter to do with the applicant in the Council Chambers, and would also have to be careful what he did say about them as a case is before the courts.

    Stopping Mayne from voting and speaking may or may not be the real reason for the suit.

    If someone really wants to get rid of him (in a legal political way), a lot of money donated to his opponents at the next Council election should do the trick.

  9. The Truth

    Councils are not local governments under the Commonwealth Constitution – the States are. Councils are not a form of government. Have a good look at the 1988 referendum.

  10. Anonymous

    is it true that a direct mail letter for Craig Langdon’s tilt at Banyule Council came out of Colin Brook’s electorate office? Libs belive that they have dirt on Brooks to deny him preselection next time around. Murphy believed to be pushing investigation of Brooks.

  11. Banyule observer

    Good luck on blaming Brooks for bar coded direct mail letters.

    The guy could not even run out direct mail item for his own election last November.

    Some one wanted Langdon up and helped him and it was not Liberal or Greens MPs – I doubt he paid for commercial mailing.

    Look a bit harder…aside from local state member only upper house members and senators have database access….that narrows the field a bit….

  12. Anonymous

    Colin Brooks owes everything to his lord and master langdon. No need to look any further as to who misused state taxpayers money and illegally accessed confidential electoral records.

  13. House of cards

    I nice diversion on Brooks.
    But the anoni-mouse who has sqeak this accusation must know who really bankrolled langdon’s council comeback.

    They say the election mail was bar coded – this costs about a dollar a letter – so unless langdon can show reciepts for this then can we assume it is a secret gift from a sitting MP?

    Looks like pay back to the socialist left from taliban forces.

    when will labor’s factions get out of local government?

  14. Clean up banyule

    Banyule needs cleaning up.
    But libs call the shots in Ivanhoe town hall and will turn blind eye. They won’t investigate Brooks for fear of eyes looking at liberal mp’s office role in a range of campaigns in banyule.

  15. Anonymous

    Can’t wait until Victoria’s ICAC is up an running this year, langdon will make weekly appearances.

  16. Brooks innocent

    Brooks is innocent…where is your proof?

  17. Anonymous

    Brooks – owes langdon for his cushy seat.

  18. Anonymous

    Jake…..oh where are you jake…..

  19. Anonymous

    The Libs are just waiting for ICAC. The code on the letter is a great fingerprint.

  20. Pissy Chryne

    I’ve always been rather partial to Brooks’ cushy ‘seat’.

  21. D'Oh Ted

    It’s very busy being Premier. I’m off to sleep now.

  22. Anonymous

    Sweet dreams Brooks

  23. Feds are untouchable

    The bar coding of langdon’s mail points to commercial mailhouse of federal office.

    Which Taliban federal MP has provided directmail for northern and western suburbs councillors?

    Free felafal for correct guesses.

    Not much of a prize but not hard to guess. Gee let’s through in a free sandwich too.

    However, baillieu’s hayseed version of ICAC will find federal MP’s mail accounts out of reach.

  24. Anonymous

    Brooks innocent March 11, 2011, 14:05 What were the boxes being loaded into the utility one weekend about 3 weeks ago from the back of Brook’s office? The video is quite compelling footage. Should make some excellent footage for ICAC.

  25. Charity charlie

    I am told boxes full of cookies for the boy scouts.

  26. Brooks innocent

    Brooks is innocent. If footage is so compelling, then put on you tube.

  27. Anonymous

    It can wait until ICAC. Utility followed and travelled down Greensborough Hwy towards Heidelberg.

  28. Anonymous

    Can’t wait for ICAC. Going to be so much fun !

  29. Banyule party hack

    Accusations on this site by liberal party losers are
    All hotair. Bunyule liberals also will be rich pickings for failyou’s icac.

  30. Anonymous

    Poor Brooks. ICAC awaits.

  31. supply chain observer

    It is possible that an office nearby to greensborough hwy was used to store langdon material but was is not plausible is that that office generated bar coded material.
    Only two state mps can generate such material in the northern suburbs. Only one is Taliban controlled. Federal offices are more likely places of support.
    Lower house federal mps are unlikely to have given support. Need to look to empire building senators who gain from chaos.

    But a state-based ICAC style investigation will not have the power to investigate senators or soon to be former senators.
    it could however refer matters to AFP and Commonwealth ombudsman…so some interesting times ahead for many.
    Brooks may turnout to be the weak link in the supply chain of shame that has inflicted langdon on the banyule community but the real backers and the controllers of the factional slush funds involved will be untouchable in the federal arena.

  32. I know nothing

    Langdon’s first declaration of donations will make interesting reading.

  33. Mystery ute watcher

    Yes ute went down banksia street we hear.

  34. Giuseppe De Simone

    All the evidence I have seen points unequivocally to Stephen Mayne being very tall indeed. At his great height, the air is much thinner than at ground level so this explains any ill-advised comments that he may make from time to time – it is merely the result of insufficient oxygen to the brain caused by altitude sickness. This is easily cured by having a nice long lie down and taking a good deep breath before speaking.

  35. Giuseppe De Simone

    How very droll that ALP factional brawling has overtaken this story. It doesn’t matter how many ex-Liberal staffers are offered up as potential sacrificial lambs, the ALP would prefer to slaughter its own.

  36. Narsnee

    How did Nancy go??

  37. Anonymous

    Anyone seen Jake Della-Vevoda lately? Living in NSW I hear.

  38. Banyule liberal fan club

    Banyule liberals are happy to have Brooks in bundoora.
    Mathew guy’s staffer brar is waiting to take seat in 2014. Labor vote is in free fall and local libs believe that hermit-like Brooks will be beaten in 2014.
    Brooks is held in place by central ALP deals and will be removed by voters not half-asleep state labor.

    Eltham, Ivanhoe and bundoora will all be liberal in 2014.

    Labor party hacks do not need to remove Brooks – the liberal party will rid the community of him.

  39. Bundoora switcher

    Labor will still lose Bundoora with Murphy there.

  40. ALP factional split

    Libs will only win Ivanhoe due to deal done by Langdon and Ziebell to defeat Langdon’s arch enemy Carbines. After Langdon is expelled by ALP he will run as independent in 2014, preferencing the Libs. Watch this space.

  41. Jamie - The Other Max

    The Libs will only win Ivanhoe if Max Power is the candidate.

  42. Bret

    I doubt Craig will run considering the skeletons barely hidden in the closet.

  43. Liberal Spin is alive and well

    To ALP factional split: You really no nothing mate, Langdon’s supposed power base in Ivanhoe does not exist, apart from a handful of housing commission residents who know no better. Outside 3081 everybody knows what Craig Langdon is really about.

    Love it now that the Liberals are in government that the local libs are up and commenting on vex, probably all staff from Matthew Guy’s Office aka Goldy Brar are all required to spin lies on vex, well he wouldn’t have much to do in the office after he has finished the daily stacking for Lord Guy in his aspirations for the top job.

    Any informed political activist would know that Brooks would never help Langdon. Brooks is shadow parliamentary to Daniel Andrews you don’t get that position through allegedly helping a disloyal washed up evil man.

    Brooks will retain in 2014 and Carbines will hold on, you just can’t neglect the Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre – the same mistake that the Libs made in 1996.

  44. Banyule insider

    Brooks and direct mail….. Ha ha….. Good spin on Murphy put in mix by Alison.

    Word is Nazih was helping langdon… Why? Who knows what crazy notion donuhue dreamt up…

    Probably a bad idea that came out of a good bottle of red…

  45. Anonymous

    Must be a good story here somewhere, Andrew. Story about a Manningham spat turns into 95% comments on the Labor split in the northern suburbs. Don’t hold your breath. Better to have a story about Les Thirtyman attending a political rally?

  46. Anonymous

    Colin Brooks political history.
    1. Left NSW for Victoria after being found guilty of drink driving.
    2. Moved to Banyule and became close to Craig Langdon.
    3. Began working at Craig Langdon’s office and went to Haermeyer’s later.
    4. Elected to Banyule Council after Langdon did a deal with the Socialist Left that meant they wouldn’t run in Bakewell Ward.
    5. Preselected with Langdon’s support (his family and some of his supporters lived in the seat).

    Colin Brooks might be many bad things but he is not suicidal. He knows that to refuse Langdon’s request for assistance would be to create a whole host of problems he didn’t need. Better to just help Craig “on the quiet”.

  47. Anonymous

    ALP Factional Split March 18th 2011 14:02
    Fascinating to hear the Libs doing deals with Langdon. The only way they could get the Somali vote in West Heidelberg.

  48. Clueless in Chelsea, Wenchy and Blankety Blanks from Bentleigh

    Dirty Donna likes to be the centre of attention but this airhead is totally out of her depth .Wenchy likes the meat market but is bone lazy. Miss Blankety Blanks from Bentleigh – the light is on but is anyone home?

    Boofa and Inga Binga have a lot to answer for giving us a Frankston line of Lib bimbos.

  49. Wenchy

    I don’t deny it I love me meat. Pity Geoffrey is so inadequate in that department.

  50. Tim

    Vex and Stephen should get a room.

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