Masterton District Council (MDC) chief executive Kath Ross has been caught on CCTV ripping down a publicity poster for tomorrow's 'Hands Around The Town Hall' protest.
Photos provided anonymously to the Wairarapa Times-Age showed Ross tearing down one of the promotions.
In a statement, the council's top boss admitted to taking down a pair of printouts, and said she "reacted poorly".
Bosch Property manager Gary Stewart is one of the nine members of Masterton Action Group, which is against MDC's proposals for a new civic centre in the town.
Bosch Property manages the car park and other nearby buildings.
In a non-emergency report to police filed yesterday, Stewart alleged Ross tore down a promotion for tomorrow's protest in the car park of the Farmers department store on Chapel St.
Stewart said Ross caused "wilful damage of public interest posters on private property placed there by property manager".
"The message contained on the poster is contrary to the development proposal of circa $30million that Kathryn Ross has been urging Masterton district councillors to support."
Stewart said the company would "reserve our rights to trespass the above-mentioned person".
Warwick Delmonte, another action group member and owner of nearby Paper Plus, called the action "bizarre".
"We expected some of the posters to go missing and some of them to disappear. But she is the last person I would have thought would do this.
"We're not after getting anyone locked up, but we do want some answers and accountability for bizarre behaviour."
A police spokesperson said it was too early to comment on a non-emergency complaint.
Ross said she had "called into town" and saw "some posters that I felt called into question our council and the decisions made around the development of a new civic facility".
"In a week where I had seen deliberate misinformation published in local newspapers - information that was factually inaccurate and that called into question the integrity of my staff, our council and our processes - I reacted poorly.
"While I will always defend the integrity of my staff and their work, my actions were not the right thing to do.
"I freely admit that, and I apologise to those whose two posters I removed."
In 2017, Bosch and Masterton Trust Lands Trust, another major landlord in Masterton's central business district, called for six-month bans for anyone found vandalising property.
Under the law, trespass notices can be issued by any property owner for any reason.
The "Hands Around The Town Hall" is scheduled for midday Wednesday. Councillors meet to debate and approve the proposals later that afternoon.
Waiata House will be open for the meeting at 3pm, but social distancing will be employed if the Wellington region stays at Covid-19 alert level 2.
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