FORMER Newcastle councillor Bob Cook was not sure what the problem was. Since finding out that notorious letter writer Scott Neylon targeted him twice in submissions to the Newcastle Herald, he's been determined to find out why. Both letters to the editor relate to an unresolved dispute between Mr Cook, as president of Newcastle Maritime Museum Society, and City of Newcastle over the long-term future of the museum's collection. Mr Cook has never met Mr Neylon, who is a close friend of council boss Jeremy Bath and has lived in Japan for decades. Mr Neylon has also never been involved with the maritime museum, or shown any interest before in its collection. In July, after the Newcastle Herald revealed the misleading Scott Neylon letter-writing campaign, which spans 13 years and appears to follow Mr Bath's career progression, attacking his critics and supporting his employers, Mr Cook challenged Mr Neylon with a few letters of his own. But his emails, offering to answer the concerns Mr Neylon raised in his letters about the maritime museum, have been met with deathly silence. Now, Mr Cook has publicly thrown his weight behind Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery, who last week used parliamentary privilege to accuse Mr Bath of writing the "derogatory" letters using his close friend Mr Neylon's name. Ms Hornery has called for Mr Bath to be sacked, declaring the council boss authored the letters and "shamefully abused" his $550,000 a year job funded by Newcastle ratepayers. "It's undeniable that Mr Jeremy Bath, City of Newcastle CEO, is the author of the letters and arranged for Mr Neylon to take the fall for him," she said. Mr Cook argues Mr Bath is the only person with motive enough to write the two letters directed at him. He believes Mr Bath is "not worthy to hold this important civic position and must go". "I believe these were both written by Jeremy Bath," Mr Cook said. "I can demonstrate that only Jeremy Bath had an interest or reason to write the August 2019 letter. "I entirely support the words of Sonia Hornery and agree with her claims." Mr Bath has denied any involvement in the nasty letter-writing campaign, which twists the truth and distorts reality, attacking residents, community groups and Hunter-based Labor MPs. He said on Friday that he was unable to comment due to the ongoing independent investigation, which council voted to support in July, the results of which will remain confidential. Mr Cook said he immediately began to speculate about the author of the letters when he found out through the Herald in July about the dozens of other Scott Neylon letters, including a second one directed at him that was never published. Since early 2019, Mr Cook has been at odds with Mr Bath, in protracted and ultimately unsuccessful negotiations, over the future of the maritime museum's collection. The Newcastle Maritime Museum, which was based at Honeysuckle's A Shed since 2007, folded in May 2018 under the weight of significant debts. Council has stored the collection at ratepayers' cost since. Mr Cook, who worked at the BHP for 36 years and was awarded the OAM for his work as president of the Newcastle Industrial Heritage Association, became involved in the controversy after the museum closed. He is convinced the timing of the letters is too coincidental, a lot of things just don't add up, and he wants to know why Mr Neylon, from all the way in Japan, would be interested. At the time the first letter arrived at the Herald, it was just hours after Mr Bath met with Mr Cook and other maritime museum committee members, where council gave the group a seven-day ultimatum to hand over the collection. "Let me get this straight. The Maritime Museum went bust, has nowhere to exhibit its collection, nowhere to store its 7500 items, no money to employ professional staff, no money to market the exhibition, and no way of paying off the debts racked up by the old committee?" the letter reads. "And yet Bob Cook says he's not happy with Council? If I was a part of this group I'd be over at the Council Chambers today with a bunch of flowers, a box of chocolates and the world's biggest thank you card. Bob, take the deal while it's on the table." Mr Cook says he finds it hard to believe that Mr Neylon, an English teacher who according to work records has lived in Japan since 1998, read a Newcastle Herald story about the meeting that was published online at 5.30pm, and submitted the letter to the editor five hours later. He also questions why Mr Neylon would spell council with a capital C, as both he and Mr Bath do following their long involvement in local government. The letter also falsely claims that Mr Neylon was living in Mayfield at the time. Another glaring inconsistency was that it was submitted providing a mobile phone number given several months later in another pro-council letter - this time attacking Cr John Church and defending Supercars - under the name Jason Sivo, of Waratah. The Newcastle Herald has previously reported that searches have found no record of Mr Sivo living in the region. The same Optus mobile number was used to submit three letters to the editor between August 2019 and January 2000. The first letter was directed at Mr Cook, and a second was submitted under the name Scott Neylon, which arrived in October criticising resident John Beach, while defending the council and lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes. The third letter was submitted under the name Jason Sivo and arrived in January attacking Cr John Church. According to Optus and the Australian Communications and Media Authority, telcos hold disused mobile phone numbers in quarantine for at least six months after they are disconnected, some are held for up to 12 months. This means the phone number could not have been passed from Mr Neylon to Mr Sivo in the less than four months between their letter submissions. With so many discrepancies and questions surrounding the letters, Mr Cook says it makes no sense that "Scott Neylon from Mayfield" authored them. He said the first letter directed at him was submitted hours after his meeting with Mr Bath, at a time when "dialogue had intensified" between the pair about the museum collection. "No person on the planet was more interested in that subject at the time than Jeremy," he said. The second letter directed at Mr Cook arrived at the Herald earlier this year, on Tuesday, July 11, at 10.10pm. In this letter Mr Neylon misspells his surname as Neylan and falsely claims to be living in Stockton. "It's been six years since the Newcastle Maritime Museum went bust," it reads. "A few years ago former Councillor Bob Cook was in the Herald promising to save it. Since then nothing seems to have happened. Can the Herald ask some questions and find out what Bob's plans are?" In another timely coincidence, it was written just days after Mr Cook sent an email on July 5 to Mr Bath and councillors informing them he had made a complaint to the Local Government Minister about their handling of council's inland pools. It also came at a time when Mr Cook says he had stopped communicating months before with Mr Bath about the museum collection. He believes the letter was Mr Bath's attempt to find out what was going on, and says he doesn't believe the issue suddenly appeared out of the blue on Mr Neylon's radar in Japan. Despite initially agreeing to speak with the Herald, Mr Neylon only communicates via email and regularly side-steps questions he doesn't want to answer. He said Mr Bath, who he has been friends with since before university, never asked him to write letters. His extended masquerade over almost a decade has seen the 48-year-old regularly misspell his surname as Neylan and claim to be everything from a pensioner to a grandfather to having lived in five different suburbs throughout the Hunter in the past nine years, and all the while he's been living overseas.