1493204298782 - Canterbury DHB committee member whose company leases a building to the board resigns

Canterbury DHB committee member whose company leases a building to the board resigns

The managing director of a property firm that leases a building to the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) has quit her role on the health board’s facilities committee.

Silverfin Capital managing director Cheryl Macaulay was appointed to the CDHB’s facilities committee in 2015, when Murray Cleverley was chair of the board.

Cleverley became a director of Silverfin, a property investment company, in 2016.

Cleverley resigned as chairman of the health board earlier this month after a conflicts of interest investigation into his private business dealings while working for a Christchurch rebuild agency. The same investigation found he did not prudently manage his conflicts in relation to Silverfin while at the health board and he was criticised for risking “undermining trust and confidence” in the CDHB.

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Acting CDHB chair Mark Solomon said Macaulay emailed him last week to say she was “stepping down” from the facilities committee. 

Macaulay did not give a reason and he said he had not spoken to her since.

Cleverley was instrumental in establishing the facilities committee, which the CDHB approved. The committee’s role was to “monitor and review … planning, progress and direction of the board’s earthquake repairs and facilities programmes”.

It included approving expenditure for new building projects and overseeing “the management of all significant property transactions” according to the terms of reference. 

Michael Heron’s SSC inquiry reviewed Cleverley’s role as board chair and his company’s purchase of 32 Oxford Tce, which had earlier been leased to CDHB. 

From 2014, as chair, Cleverley was involved in the board’s lease of the building, which was then owned by Countrywide Properties. 

In May 2016 Cleverley was appointed director of Silverfin Capital and in August he advised the facilities committee the company was in the process of buying 32 Oxford Tce. He told the board it was not expected to pose a conflict of interest, but was important they were aware of it. 

Later that month he declared a “potential perceived conflict of interest” at a board meeting and on December 15 the sale of the property to TEA Custodians (Silverfin) was confirmed. 

The Ministry of Health and the SSC asked Cleverley to consider resigning from his Silverfin directorship, but he declined.

Heron concluded Cleverley had not acted illegally and was entitled to manage the conflict of interest as he had done, however resigning from Silverfin would have been “the prudent and cautious course of action here in order to avoid complaints or allegations such as these”.

“The choice of becoming a director in Silverfin, and continuing to hold that directorship, in light of both the situation relating to Oxford Tce and the involvement of Cheryl Macaulay in the facilities committee of the DHB are matters which give rise to questions of judgement.”

Solomon said no-one on the board or the facilities committee had raised concerns about Macaulay’s role with Silverfin and a conflict of interest.

Board member Jo Kane said it was the “ethical thing to do” for Macaulay to step down.

“My problem is the companies she is involved with are trawling around looking for business interests … and she’s got first-hand dibs into what the CDHB is doing, so it becomes an ethical problem.”

The CDHB was given an update on conflicts of interest by corporate solicitor Greg Brogden at a meeting last week. 

Brogden told the board it had to decide how to deal with conflicts of interest once they had been declared.

Board member Anna Crighton requested the workshop late last year after Cleverley’s “potential perceived” declaration.

At a meeting in November she told Cleverley her legal advice was that a perceived conflict of interest was the same as a conflict of interest. 

Cleverley replied his legal advice was the opposite, that a perceived conflict was not a conflict. 

Crighton said on Wednesday that she was pleased with Macaulay’s decision. 

“I think that is the appropriate thing to do because she is a director of Silverfin, she is a colleague of Murray’s and she’s in the business of developments and as a member of the facilities committee you get all the information of every building the hospital board has anything to do with – leasing, buying, whatever.”

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