The FYI project and I/S at No Right Turn have uncovered what appears to be massive abuse of expenses by Albert Brantley, the CEO of Genesis Energy, whom we pay $1.2m a year. It puts me in mind of Marie Antoinette, consuming extravagant meals worth a peasant’s whole year’s income. And we know what happened to her. Almost as shocking is the small stuff. Lucky Genesis is subject to the OIA, for now, so this guy could be found out.
“The full data is here. And the short version is that Brantley likes to spend Genesis’ money on big dinners. And I mean big – $1000, $2000, even a $3100 feast at Gusto Italiano in Auckland. Those that have detailed receipts show that he gets our company to pick up the tab for $95 Wagyu steaks, $90 crayfish, and $100+ bottles of wine.
He’s also a very generous tipper, throwing around $200+ at each of these meals, just to make himself look big.
Its a whole level of extravagance beyond that which saw Ministers crucified a few years ago.”
The typical Kiwi lives on $29,000 a year. By my count, in just 3 months, Brantley claimed over $32,000 of expenses – and that’s not flights and accommodation, it’s other stuff, mostly food and booze. Yes, he had company at some of the meals, but not enough to justify the outlandish costs.
It puts me in mind of Marie Antoinette, consuming extravagant meals worth a peasant’s whole year’s income. And we know what happened to her.
What’s almost as shocking is the small stuff. We’re paying for this guy’s coffee, his sushi, his snacks whenever he’s out of town. I’ve had jobs that involved a few day’s travel out of town here and there. I might claim the cost of dinner at some reasonable restaurant and accommodation because those are costs I wouldn’t usually face – but coffee, snacks, $2 for parking, topped off with a $95 steak and a couple of bottles of $80 wine? That’s just taking the piss.
It’s not just that he’s claiming things he oughtn’t be claiming because they’re either unreasonably expensive or trivial parts of every day life. What’s a guy that we’re paying $1.2m – $400 an hour on a 55 hour week, $7 a minute – doing spending his time filling out claims for trivial amounts. Isn’t that why we pay him a king’s ransom in the first place, so he never has to pay any mind to the small stuff like tiny personal expenses and can concentrate on the big picture?
At least we can still see that this guy is ripping us off and react accordingly. After Genesis is part-privatised this information will be hidden, no longer OIA-able under National’s ‘Mixed Ownership Model’ Bill.
Btw. Jenny Shipley gets $100K a year to chair Genesis’s board. We should be asking hard questions about her oversight of Brantley. What are we paying her for?