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EXCLUSIVE: Former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz says he’s done ‘nothing wrong’

Former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz breaks his silence, rebutting the findings of an independent investigation into the legislature spending scandal. Lenz is adamant about clearing his name. Richard Zussman has the exclusive interview.

Former B.C. sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz says he has done “nothing wrong” and never lied to former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Beverly McLachlin or former Vancouver deputy police chief Doug LePard.

Lenz, speaking exclusively to Global News for the first time since his retirement, says he never believed liquor was being stolen from the B.C. legislature.

“I disagree strongly with Doug LePard’s report. His conclusions are wrong. I did not lie to Doug LePard. I did not lie to Bev McLachlin,” Lenz said. “Under no circumstances did I ever believe the removal of the liquor was a theft.

“You need to look at what occurred at the time. Not what we know now. I made decisions in 2013 based on what I knew at the time.”

Extended interview with Gary Lenz
Extended interview with Gary Lenz

LePard’s report found Lenz committed an “egregious breach of public trust” concluding the former sergeant-at-arms (SAA) lied about what he knew of a 2013 incident where publicly paid-for alcohol was loaded in former clerk Craig James’ car.

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“SAA Lenz’s statement that he believed the liquor was being returned is demonstrably false, based on the totality of the evidence I gathered,” the report reads.

“SAA Lenz’s untruthful oral statements and written submissions to Justice McLachlin regarding the 2013 liquor incident – including with respect to his conversations with Speaker Plecas and Mr. Mullen in 2018 – constitute an egregious breach of public trust.”

READ MORE: B.C. sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz resigns days before Police Act investigation to be released

Lenz resigned as sergent-at-arms on Oct. 1 a week before LePard’s report was released to the public.

“I resigned after reading the LePard report because I knew my dream of returning to the job I loved would not be possible,” Lenz said. “I feel that the current work environment is too toxic, and I would not be able to serve the House, as I had in the past.”

Legislature sergeant-at-arms resigns
Legislature sergeant-at-arms resigns

The B.C. legislature has been under an intense microscope since Speaker Darryl Plecas released a report in January that accused James and Lenz of misspending public funds.

James retired after McLachlin reviewed the allegations and found he committed administrative misconduct. The same report cleared Lenz of misconduct.

LePard spoke to multiple witnesses for his own report, which found there was no way Lenz didn’t know the alcohol leaving the legislature was not going to be returned.

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READ MORE: B.C. legislature clerk Craig James retires, found to have committed ‘administrative misconduct’

“It is not believable and defies logic that SAA Lenz would not ask any questions about where the liquor was going,” the report reads.

“SAA Lenz failed to take even minimal, reasonable steps to determine what happened with the liquor he directed to be loaded into Mr. James’ truck on April 22, 2013, and to ensure it was properly accounted for. He therefore failed in his sworn duty as special provincial constable and the sergeant-at-arms, the top law enforcement official at the legislature.”

New investigation of suspended B.C. legislature Sergeant-at-Arms
New investigation of suspended B.C. legislature Sergeant-at-Arms

The RCMP are still investigating the allegations against Lenz and James. Lenz says he spoke to investigators a while ago and expects to be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

“I spoke the truth and I know what I said to the police. I know what I have put forward to police and I am very confident that I will clear my name,” Lenz said.

There is no timeline on when the RCMP investigation may wrap up.

Lenz also says he hasn’t decided yet on whether he will pursue legal action.

READ MORE: B.C.’s former sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz accused of ‘egregious breach of trust’

“I haven’t made a decision yet on what I will do on this matter,” he said. “No money can fix what has happened to my reputation. I need to take time. I need to be with my family.”

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Plecas has said repeatedly he believes people will be going to jail over the allegations. The legislature is in the midst of overhauling rules and procedures connected with legislature staff spending public money.

The legislature has also been criticized for not having a clear chain of command. Lenz says one of the misconceptions is that the sergeant-at-arms is in charge of security and because of that, he should have investigated the concerns over the liquor placed in James’ car.

Auditor general releases report into B.C. legislature misspending
Auditor general releases report into B.C. legislature misspending

Instead, Lenz insists the security of the building is the responsibility of the Speaker.

“Doug LePard looked at this report out of the aspect of a police officer. He did not look at it from a parliamentary perspective. If you look under common law, it states the Speaker is responsible for security,” Lenz said.

“I put my hand on his (Plecas’) desk and said, ‘This rests with you. You are one that is in charge of the security of Parliament.”