Is there a conflict of interest?

### ODT Online Wed, 21 Sep 2011
Conflict of interest claim denied
By David Loughrey
Anti-stadium campaigner Bev Butler has again taken aim at the people who worked to build the Forsyth Barr Stadium, but this time she has got no backing from a former ally, now mayor, Dave Cull. Ms Butler’s latest target is Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) director Mike Coburn, who has also worked on the project delivery team that made sure the stadium was built. She claimed there was a conflict of interest in the role, and that two invoices she unearthed to Mr Coburn’s company Ruboc Holdings for “casual corporate suite rental” last year for the All Blacks v Wales game, showed about $6000 that should not have been paid for by ratepayers.
Read more


This morning, Bev Butler emailed the following notes and information to What if? Dunedin…

She says:
• Attached are 23 Ruboc Holdings invoices.
• Below is the covering note with [Mike] Coburn’s explanation.
• My overall comment: “The public will be shocked at the pure unadulterated greed.”
• My comment on the covering note by Coburn is “Pathetic”.

DCHL director Mike Coburn’s company, Ruboc Holdings Ltd, invoiced the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST), then paid for by DCC, for casual lease of a corporate box for the All Blacks vs Wales test game last year.

The invoice was for $4,429.69 (incl GST). This was approved by Malcolm Farry, CST chairman. Note also the invoice is dated 12 May 2010 and payment made a month in advance of the rugby All Blacks test.

Another invoice was for Additional Test tickets $2,409.69. From the invoices this was a day out for the Project Delivery Team and ……..

Total of all Ruboc invoices: $83,370.04 (incl GST)

Coburn started claiming fees from 9 March 2009. This is before the Hawkins contract was signed on 27 April 2009. He was right in there from the start.

Some invoices claim expenses for meals, taxis, phone, parking and accommodation. Not sure where the accommodation would fit in as Coburn lives in Dunedin and there are no claims for travel elsewhere.

Mike Coburn is the sole director and sole shareholder of Ruboc Holdings Ltd. He is the company.

Mike Coburn was being paid $1000 per day as Project Delivery Team member to push the stadium construction further while failing in his duty as a director of DCHL to inform DCC that DCHL was unable to supply dividends to pay off the stadium debt.

Mike Coburn invoiced the CST $4,429.69 for the one day casual hire of his corporate box so that the Project Delivery Team could watch the All Blacks vs Wales test match.

This invoice was approved by Malcolm Farry then sent to DCC for payment under the guise of construction cost.

Mike Coburn also invoiced CST $2,409.69 for extra Test tickets for the same All Blacks vs Wales game.

[Malcolm] Farry then claimed this as a construction cost of the stadium.

Did Coburn also claim $1000 payment for attending the test match day as well because he was ‘working’?

Who were the other tickets bought for?
Who are the members of the Project Delivery Team?
Are these members all being paid $1000 per day and did they all get paid $1000 to attend the rugby as well as their tickets paid for?
Do any of these other members also have conflicts of interest?

Covering note from DCC:
Dear Bev
As previously indicated, here is the covering note for the release of Ruboc invoice information.

“Please find attached the information requested regarding Ruboc Holdings Ltd invoices. All the invoices held by the Council have been released. The invoices, in the main, cover Ruboc Holding’s[sic] time in respect of the many meetings attended relevant to the delivery of the stadium project including those with the PDT, DCC committees, Council meetings, University, DVML and Hawkins.

“Two invoices relate to the rental of a suite at Carisbrook. The hosting of contractors at Carisbrook was an exercise by the PDT to strengthen the working relationship primarily between the main contractor Hawkins, subcontractors and Arrow International Ltd at a time when they were facing significant challenges to reduce costs to remain within budget. Initially there was only sufficient interest to fill part part the suite and Ruboc committed to the balance but as word got around, enthusiasm grew as did the numbers, and Ruboc had to forgo the balance, hence two invoices.

“I trust this answers your enquiry.”

Sandy [Graham]
[DCC governance manager]

The invoices:
Ruboc Holdings – 00000041 – $900
Ruboc Holdings – 00000047 – $2,025
Ruboc Holdings – 00000053 – $900
Ruboc Holdings – 00000065 – $1,800

Ruboc Holdings – 00000069 – $1,487.50
Ruboc Holdings – 00000075- $5,580
Ruboc Holdings – 00000112 – $2,180.50
Ruboc Holdings – 00000125 – $2,197.50

Ruboc Holdings – 00000130- $2,120
Ruboc Holdings – 00000133 – $3,937.50
Ruboc Holdings – 00000138 – $3,583.50
Ruboc Holdings – 00000148 – $2,141.95

Ruboc Holdings – 00000150 – $4,459.25
Ruboc Holdings – 00000167 – $3,240
Ruboc Holdings – 00000180 – $3,330
Ruboc Holdings – 00000190 – $4,680

Ruboc Holdings – 00000198 – $4,950
Ruboc Holdings – 00000213 – $4,275
Ruboc Holdings – 00000221 – $2,475
Ruboc Holdings – 00000234 – $4,725

Ruboc Holdings – 00000246 – $5,625
Ruboc Holdings – 00000253 – $2,700
Ruboc Holdings – 00000261 – $4,050

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Site, Sport, Stadiums

15 responses to “Is there a conflict of interest?

  1. Anonymous

    Absolutely gobsmacked. Ratepayers need to read about and see these expenses for themselves to believe it. The ODT could have gone to town on the thousand dollars per day alone. And yet – they did not. This is now public information thanks to a concerned citizen so why is it so hard to get that information to the wider public?

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous – feel free to forward the link to Bev’s information, the more people who see it the better, they can make up their own minds – if they haven’t already #notlookinggoodatCityHall

  2. Amanda kennedy

    I didn’t realise that till you pointed it out. $1000 a day. Why should I be surprised? It totally follows how they began. That is just obscene. Obscene.

  3. Amanda kennedy

    “…and yet they did not…” No, Anonymous. Dunedin people are in a very vulnerable position indeed.

  4. Anonymous

    Do we need to remind anyone of the role that Ruboc Holdings played in the Jacks Point purchases? While Ruboc himself was a Director of Delta and Newtons?

  5. Peter

    I agree, Anonymous. It’s when you see the invoices for yourself, in black and white, that you can’t help but recognise what a greedy person Coburn is.
    Farry’s comment that he probably worked over 40 hours a week for the PDT (which he shouldn’t have been on) is so pathetic in its attempt to justify an injustice. Coburn must be a very busy man to attend to all his other myriad directorships on DCHL and elsewhere. As if the guy wasn’t already getting enough.
    People like Coburn – and his supporters like Farry and Cull – deserve all the contempt that is heaped on them from this revelation and their response to it. Metaphorically they should know that good, decent people out there just spit on their faces.

  6. Anonymous

    Also noting from the invoices that GSM, the accounting firm, is G S McLauchlan, of which Stuart McLauchlan is principal.

  7. There was no mention of Jacks Point in the DCHL press release. I wonder how many of the 100 sections have been sold? What are the holding costs? Have they been marked down to current market value in the accounts?
    Dunedin ratepayers were on the wrong end of this deal.

    • Elizabeth

      Highest number of Clicks (on links) at this site being recorded for the invoices…
      People want to know, people want information, people want transparency, people want good governance, they want it now.

      Read: message for Dunedin City Council.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    The interesting part of all those invoices is the paucity of information justifying the charges. Very amateurish and unprofessional. The accounts officer wants shot for approving for payment, and the manager wants shot also for authorising payment.

  9. Calvin Oaten

    Assume receipts and time sheets it if you like Elizabeth, but has anybody seen them?

  10. Peter

    Not if they don’t exist! Who would be surprised?

  11. Elizabeth

    I’m saying these could be requested.

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