The alleged interference and attempted manipulation in the evaluation of six bids for the unfinished bridges on the Foreshore have been laid bare in a city legal report.
Transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead is now facing suspension and disciplinary charges over her alleged attempts to influence the outcome.
In a top-secret report discussed by councillors last week, it’s alleged that when presented with the claims of partiality and political interference, Mayor Patricia de Lille was of the view that it was not necessary to report the matter to council.
What was meant to be an iconic project to repurpose the city’s unfinished bridges after more than 40 years and to provide inner city social housing, the Foreshore Freeway Project has now been mired in controversy.
In a confidential report by Moore Stephens, they raise concerns of objectivity, impartiality and the lack of consistency by transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead while she served on the evaluation committee.
It says she was partial in her scoring of a particular proposal and that she unduly tried to influence other members of the committee who reported to her, in the way they scored the bids.
A city official also told legal firm Bowman Gilfillan that Whitehead allegedly admitted to discussing some of the bids with Mayor Patricia de Lille, deputy mayor Ian Neilson and mayco member Brett Herron.
Bowman Gilfillan says that De Lille was obliged to report the matter to council and that Whitehead should be investigated for possible links to the bid she favoured.