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SHAM SCAM, THANK YOU MA’AM: Casey’s “independent investigation” of sex harassment complaints conducted by expert at knocking them off

RossjacksonThe man engaged by the notorious Victorian municipal council the City of Casey to conduct what they describe as an “independent investigation” into allegations that CEO Mike Tyler engaged in a campaign of sexual harassment and stalking against a former female staffer boasts on his corporate website of his expertise in defending councils against such claims.

Mr Ross Jackson, a partner at law firm Maddocks, and alpha male sports-car racing enthusiast is a specialist in employment and discrimination law and boasts on Maddocks website that he is:

Continuing to provide HR/IR services (including discrimination claims advice, defence and representation) to the majority of Victoria’s Councils, including politically delicate matters such as sexual harassment claims and executive terminations.


Advises clients generally on employment-related issues including misconduct, out of hours conduct, selection grievances and workplace injury and stress claims, and defending unfair dismissal and general protections claims.

Any sex predator local government CEO’s out there should surely have Ross Jackson in their speed-dial.

No doubt Jackson is a good lawyer and accurately describes himself. If those complaining about sexual harassment in a workplace have lawyers, it’s only to be expected those defending the claims will also be represented. There’s nothing wrong with Jackson’s line of work and he certainly appears to be among the best at it.

But given his boasted credentials, was he an appropriate person to be engaged to conduct an “independent investigation” at the Casey councillors’ request? With no respect to the bloke, who like every lawyer, does what their clients ask within reason and the law, Jackson seems like an inappropriate choice.

It’s a comparable arrangement to a drug lord asking his long-time criminal defence lawyer to engage in an “independent investigation of whether he’d really intended to bring cocaine in those tasteful Aztec statues with the hidden compartments.

A well-known player in providing legal services to councils across Victoria, and elsewhere, Maddocks has been a long-standing service provider to Victoria’s most populous municipality and those familiar with the relationship tell VEXNEWS that Casey – and Tyler – would be regarded by the firm as a key client, not just in the employment area but across the firm.

Other sources tell VEXNEWS that Jackson – a legal practitioner enjoying considerable standing around town – performed what his client later described as an “independent investigation” where he did not:

■ Interview witnesses of Tyler’s predatory behaviour, including the complainant;

■ Provide detailed findings, with some sources saying that his report ran no longer than a page;

■ Address the procedural failings in Tyler’s or then Mayor Wreford’s (now a state MP) secretive handling of the matter, that the powerful CEO essentially admitted at Casey’s last scandalous council meeting where VEXNEWS witnessed an unprecedented level of politicisation of council officers, who engaged in blatant displays of Dorothy Dixer questions that targeted journalists and even councillors who’d spoken the truth about Tyler, directed Police to remove anti-Tyler demonstrators (while allowing c-word-using councillors to remain) and so on.

Not since Queensland’s Sir Joh era when the Police used to proudly display National Party corflutes on their Police vehicles, has there been such an institutionalised political corruption of a bureaucracy. It’s not been seen in Victoria at a municipal level since the City of Richmond. The Ombudsman investigation could be explosive and then some, if Brouwer’s office follows its previous and often sanctimonious form. If Tyler is deposed, it could be reasonably expected his henchmen, including Steve Dalton and Greg Wood would quickly follow. Their behaviour, which we witnessed, was extraordinary. We’ve attended countless, usually deathly dull, council meetings and never seen anything like it.

Sources say Casey council has paid Maddocks multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years. In our view, the firm was hopelessly commercially compromised in the task of conducting an “independent investigation.”

With the council voting to request an Ombudsman’s investigation, it will be more than just council boss-cocky Mike Tyler sweating like a pig on the result. Maddocks – usually a highly regarded law firm in Melbourne – and one of its highest income-producing partners – allowing themselves to be grossly misrepresented by Tyler as having conducted a thorough and “independent investigation” into what is alleged to be an ugly abuse of power against a female employee, it could be a profoundly embarrassing debacle for the firm and its alpha male partner, Ross Jackson, if it is revealed they did no such thing.


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  1. Another loquacious non-story Andrew.

    Enroll in Swinburne’s journalism course and readers will ever thank you!

    Posted by Pukeboy | April 6, 2012, 23:40
  2. Come on down and get your Sammy Kebab with my own ‘special’ garlic home made sauce at my Heidelberg Kebab Caravan.

    Posted by Halal Kebab | April 6, 2012, 23:56
  3. That’s the typical “investigation” a predator needs.

    Write the outcomes first your client wants and then go do a report.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 7, 2012, 12:05
  4. ***but given his boasted credentials, was he an appropriate person to be engaged to conduct an “independent investigation” at the Casey councillors’ request?***

    Too right he was. From Maurice Blackburn’s website:

    +++We are specialist Compensation Lawyers who act for people who have been injured or badly treated through the actions or inactions of others+++

    This company has refined ambulance chasing to an art and my guess is the partners there would micturate with excitement, at the sound of a passing siren. All you need to prove that is to read the farcically theatrical claim document you posted previously. Half the fretting whiners say their concern is the amount of money spent by Casey Council on this matter. Can you imagine how much Casey would have spent, if they hadn’t retained the best in defending the claim? Fellow Vexers, please – let’s all make an effort to cut down the gross illogicality the website’s been flaunting, recently. Someone might stop by, read a thread or two, and get totally the wrong impression of our happy and welladjusted family.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | April 7, 2012, 14:23
  5. Nothing wrong with defending a claim Byron, the issue is Tyler broke council rules by keeping it secret and used tens of thousands of ratepayers dollars in paying her hush money so he could avoid public scrutiny.

    Indeed, Maddocks is an entirely reasonable choice of firm to defend the claim, our point is that using them to conduct what Tyler advertised as an independent probe might make it seem like a sham, at least to those prone to cynical thoughts. Are we wrong?

    Posted by VEXNEWS | April 7, 2012, 15:35
  6. Andrew you should be employed by Swinburne as an associated lecturer. Someone who can set an example of what investigative journalism is all about. Hard hitting, fearless, make them accountable for their crimes approach.

    Posted by Capture Couragous | April 7, 2012, 17:04
  7. Byron could you please visit me in my exclusive executive outhouse, I am going to endeavor to correct your same sex preference. One glimpse of my thighs and you will be a red blooded male from this point forward.

    Posted by [deleted - impersonation] | April 7, 2012, 17:29
  8. It surprises me to see the council agenda 2 apologies Cfrs. Smith and Hallsal. The meeting sarted late, and who was the main playder Cr. Halsal. Thus ensuing CEO retained his polition. Cr, Hallsel had no right bringing jup the alledged “C”word, as this was supposed to have been said to his wife when she was Mayor, thus making this aconflict of interest, he should not have been in the chamber when and if it was discussed. Another conflict of interest, Mike Tyler should not have been in chamber when all of this was going on, as it concerned him. Strange that security just happened to be near Paul Richardson, when he responded to äny questions” And they open the meeting with Prayer for guidence. How hypocritical can yhou get. Who will be the next Mayor? I Wonder?!

    Posted by Irene | April 7, 2012, 18:03
  9. Too right vexnews

    Posted by Jeremiah | April 7, 2012, 18:20
  10. Casey obviously doesnt like Blackfella’s asking questions that is why Paul got the boot. Go Discrimination brother!

    Posted by lawsuit | April 7, 2012, 23:55
  11. Ross Jackson sounds like the man to “investigate” and clear me from my current troubles.

    Posted by Craig Thomson | April 8, 2012, 1:45
  12. Might be a few other CEO’s and Mayors around who might like to talk to Jackson.

    Posted by Insider | April 8, 2012, 11:34
  13. Whats the cost in getting a written report to clear yourself?

    Posted by Anonymous | April 8, 2012, 12:46
  14. Casey Counciil are amateurs in this kind of stuff.

    They need to look at the Victorian AWU for a “how to” guide in covering up a culture of rapacious victimisation and sexual harassment of female employees.

    Posted by Great Cesar's Toast | April 10, 2012, 3:45
  15. Maddocks represented Casey in the Brooklands Green fiasco and was paid many millions for the job. “Hundreds of thousands” does not come even close to how much they have got out of Casey using their services.

    Posted by And the rest | April 10, 2012, 11:04
  16. Since when has a lawyer got the power to “clear” anyone?

    Lawyers are like prostitutes, you get what you pay for.

    Posted by Anonymous | April 10, 2012, 18:14
  17. A red-herring me thinks. Maddocks and Jackson have an exemplary record. They act for Council’s all over the state on a range of matters and they act for Government Departments both now and during the whole time of Labor Government.

    The point is they act for who hires them and by all accounts they do an expert professional job.

    What is problematic about their role in Casey isn’t what they did but how they were depicted by the Casey – Tyler spin machine in claiming the work done by Jackson and his associates was an “independent investigation” that “cleared” Mr Tyler.

    Undoubtedly the lawyers would have sought background information to the case and discussed the matter with any members of the Council team they were told were relevant to the case. In short they would have been given information and answers to their questions from the accused and his colleagues and only examine evidence made available to them by the Council.

    All of this work is standard for lawyers advising their client and recommending a strategy. We don’t know what was actually said nor details of the information provided by Tyler and co to Maddocks – it is privledged between lawyer and client unless the client releases it. But Maddocks themselves would not and could not purport that they conducted an “independent investigation” since they were not ‘independent’ but rather a paid legal agent for one of the parties to the matter. Further, they could not and would not purport to ‘clear’ Mr Tyler for the same reasons.

    What we do know is:
    1.that the claimant had a sufficient case against Mr Tyler, including witnesses, texts, etc to obtain a substantial settlement (was this made on Maddock’s advice after their review of available evidence?);
    2. this whole matter was conducted in secret, away from the elected representatives of the people of Casey;
    3. that the matter and use of residents’ and ratepayers’ money was subject to coverup by senior officers of Council and at least two Mayors including one who is now a Baillieu Government MP – a Government holding power by one seat;
    4. Liberal/conservative / anti-Labor Councillors are trying to obfuscate on this state of affairs by abuse (including swearing in Council) and attacks on one of the Councillors demanding the truth as well as journalists who dare question the actions and conduct of Casey Council’s CEO, other senior officers and at least two Mayors.

    That this matter is to apparently be the subject of Ombudsman and Auditor-General Inquiry is a good thing. The new IBAC should surely also take a role for completness. But fundamentally the inquiries should be open and transparent so that the real owners of Casey Council, the residents and ratepayers, can know what has been going on with their Council and the administration of their community assets.

    Posted by Council decision making must be in public | April 11, 2012, 2:10
  18. Well that’s torn it. Now if Tyler needs a lawyer to defend himself over his perky actions, then he can’t engage Maddocks.

    Posted by Right Said Fred | April 12, 2012, 6:53


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