A complaint by the developer of Kings Forest and Cobaki to the employer of a person who wrote letters to local newspapers criticising the property developer’s recent attack on Tweed shire’s planning staff has been slammed as an attempt to silence his criticism.
The Leda company, owned by billionaire Bob Ell, wrote to the Gold Coast City Council to complain that one of its employees, Tweed resident Nigel Greenup, had sent the letters.
Mr Greenup says the letter to his boss could be seen as an attempt to muzzle him.
‘The letters I have written have been very clearly submitted by me as a private individual residing in Tweed Shire,’ said Mr Greenup, a former NSW National Parks and Wildlife area manager who now works as the Gold Coast Council’s co-ordinator of the natural areas management unit.
‘I have not seen the letter but the general thrust is that I was using my position as a Gold Coast City Council employee to attempt to discredit Leda.
‘The letter also apparently complains that there was a recent story in the press referring to me as “a former NPWS officer”.’ Leda alleges that this reference in some way is also being used to discredit them.
‘It appears to me that Leda is attempting to intimidate me into silence.
‘My discussions with my director were positive and supportive and she assured the CEO that I was a very experienced officer that understands the code of conduct and conflict of issues guidelines very well and that my personal life in another shire, and another state, are purely my business.
‘Leda does have some developments on the Gold Coast, but I am not in a position where I could influence council’s attitudes on those developments.’
Mr Greenup said any suggestion he had a conflict of interest would be wrong.
‘I wrote the letters purely as a Tweed Shire ratepayer. If I did work for the Tweed Council I would not have written letters questioning their behaviour.
‘Obviously no code of conduct would prevent me from commenting on an issue in another state.’