Donations – the quest for clarification

The following correspondence was received from Bev Butler today.

ODT 28/2/07 front page as follows:

Man offers $1 million donation
By Allison Rudd
One person has offered a $1 million donation towards a multipurpose stadium to replace Carisbrook, the chairman of Carisbrook Stadium Trust, Malcolm Farry, says.
He told a public meeting, attended by about 120 people last night, he had received “very significant news today about one huge donation and two others in the wings” which could help meet the $188 million cost.
After the meeting, he said the $1 million donation was from a man whom he could not yet name.
The man had indicated he had associates who were also prepared to talk to the trust about making similar sized donation.
Mr Farry said he was “very excited” about the level of support being offered for the proposal, particularly yesterday’s development.
“Let’s say it made my day.”

Letter to editor (published 22/02/10 Otago Daily Times). The italicised parts were abridged.

Friday 29th January 2010

Dear Editor

It is now nearly three years since it was reported in the ODT (28/2/07) that Malcolm Farry, Chair of Carisbrook Stadium Trust, told a public meeting he had received “very significant news about one huge donation ($1 million) and two others (similar size) in the wings”. Mr Farry said the $1 million donation was from a man whom he could not name yet. Mr Farry said he was “very excited” and it had “made my day”.
Maybe it is now time for Mr Farry to reveal the identities of these alleged donors and let us know if the money has been banked.
Maybe Mr Farry could also give us an update on all donations received for the stadium.

Yours sincerely
Bev Butler

Macolm Farry’s response in today’s ODT:
“As at February 2010, Carisbrook Stadium Trust has secured private-sector funding in excess of $30 million in memberships and sponsorship. The trust does not publish the names of its members, sponors [sic] or donors without their agreement. Last year, we announced the head naming rights sponsor, Forsyth Barr, and we will announce further sponsors in future when they elect to do so.”

National Business Review (3/03/07) by Mark Peart
“Two individuals had pledged about $1 million each to the project since learning of the release of the trust’s feasibility report and “master plan” on February 19.
Several other potential donors had also expressed interest in making major, but unspecified, contributions to the project, should the trust’s preferred option be accepted, Mr Farry said.”

From: bev butler []
Sent: Monday, 22 February 2010 11:19 a.m.
Cc: murray kirkness; david loughrey; chris morris; craig page; michelle sutton; Mike Houlahan (DSC); david williams; robert smith; nbreditor; nbrnewseditor; emma lancaster; katrina bennett; pete hodgson; clare curran; john key; rodney hide; bill english; metiria turei; michael woodhouse; mark hotton; darren burden
Subject: Dunedin Stadium alleged donors: Serious Questions left unanswered (Note change in Mr Farry’s email address)
Importance: High

{private address and phone number deleted -Eds}

Monday 22nd February 2010

Dear Mr Farry

Your response, after three weeks, to my ‘letter to the editor’ (copied below) is completely inadequate.
Firstly, you have avoided responding to the reasonable request for an update of donations. It was revealed in October 2008 (Sunday Star Times) that the donations total was $30. That was the last update we received – upon inquiry.

You have also avoided responding to my query as to whether the several $1 million alleged donations have been banked.
Remember we are not talking about ‘products or sponsors’, but ‘donors’. That is what my query was about and that is what you avoided responding to.

I believe the public have a right to know if the donors actually existed to begin with and if so, do their promised donations, which you so excitedly announced in March 2007 (ODT and NBR), still stand? And if so, why haven’t the donors been happy for their names to be made public now that the stadium is being built? Surely their excitement would be as great as yours and they would proudly want their names out there supporting the project and thereby assist the marketing programme for the stadium.

If these alleged donors have withdrawn their promised donations, why have the public not been informed?

I note in the DCC’s recent media release (19/02/10) the Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust’s (CSCT) responsibility is quite clear, namely:
“CSCT will continue to operate as a charitable trust to solicit and receive donations and distribute them in accordance with the purposes of its trust deed.”

Also would you please confirm or deny that these alleged donations were used to help secure the $15 million ‘gift’ from Central Government for the shortfall in private funding?

Yours sincerely
Bev Butler
Former President
Stop The Stadium Inc

Subject: RE: Dunedin Stadium alleged donors: Serious Questions left unanswered [Note change in Mr Farry’s email address]
Date: Mon, 1 Mar 2010 16:33:44 +1300

Good Afternoon Ms. Butler,

While you have a series of questions we have not, however, conducted the fundraising in the manner that your enquiries would suggest.

There is no difference between donations, sponsorships, sale of product and funds raised. All have a donations component included. Your wish to distinguish between donors, sponsors and purchasers of product indicates a misunderstanding on your part as to the manner of our fundraising

There are several amounts in excess of $1M. As stated in earlier communications, acknowledgements of the individuals and organisations will be made public on the agreement of the parties to so do.

Parties involved have been very supportive of and excited about the project and to have gathered in excess of $30M under the circumstances and in the time involved is quite remarkable. I am sure this has never been equalled in our region and perhaps not even in New Zealand.

It seems unfortunate that you consider it necessary to continue your onslaught against the project when, surely, it would be in the interests of Dunedin and Otago if you put your energies into ensuring the project is a success.

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Farry

NB The report of $30 being received was in error.
The claims that the Stadium would be paid for from private funds is incorrect and mischievous.

From: bev butler []
Sent: Friday, 5 March 2010 9:56 a.m.
To: malcolm farry
Subject: RE: Dunedin Stadium alleged donors: Serious Questions left unanswered

Friday 5th March 2010

Dear Mr Farry

You have stated in your reply the following:

“There is no difference between donations, sponsorships, sale of product and funds raised. All have a donations component included. Your wish to distinguish between donors, sponsors and purchasers of product indicates a misunderstanding on your part as to the manner of our fundraising.
There are several amounts in excess of $1M.”

I agree with you, Mr Farry, I do not understand the manner of your fundraising as outlined above. Would you please be so kind as to clarify what is the percentage of the donation component which you claim your products and sponsorships contain? A good definition of donation is as follows: A payment is a “donation” if the payer receives no direct benefit in return.

I would also appreciate a direct answer to my original questions as to whether the several amounts of $1m are in fact ‘donations’ and have these ‘donations’ been banked? This shouldn’t be difficult to answer directly. Quite simply: Are the several amounts of $1m actual ‘donations’? Yes or No. Have these donations been banked? Yes or No.

I also note that you have not responded to this question either: “Also would you please confirm or deny that these alleged (ie $1m) donations were used to help secure the $15 million ‘gift’ from Central Government for the shortfall in private funding?”

My continuing interest in the project is purely to keep everything as transparent as possible. Surely you have no objection to this? Surely this could not be perceived as ‘mischievous’ – a word you have used more than once when faced by close questioning by people of the CST/DCC’s affairs.

As for the $30 donation you now say is in error, Mr Hedderwick did confirm to me back in 2008 in an email that the $30 was not a mistake. Mr Hedderwick, Commercial Manager of CST, and Mr Ewan Soper, former CEO of CST, both acknowledged the $30 donation and it was reported in both the Sunday Star Times and then the ODT. The CST have also reported it to the Charities Commission in their Financial Statements.

Yours sincerely
Bev Butler

Subject: RE: Dunedin Stadium alleged donors: Serious Questions left unanswered
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 18:04:28 +1300

Good Afternoon Ms Butler,

I have provided you with the answers to your questions Any further elaboration would be unproductive.

Monies announced publicly are secured by legal contracts and payment protocols are a part of those agreements.

We have publicly documented the quantum of funds. They are in excess of $30 million at this stage These amounts have been verified. I fail to understand how we can be more transparent than that. Attempts to do that in the past have resulted in misunderstandings such as the thirty dollars you mention. I am sure that nobody could possibly believe that we have only raised this amount

For the record and as I have stated previously there are amounts contracted where the quantum is for $1M and greater

Yours sincerely,

Malcolm Farry

Subject: RE: Dunedin Stadium alleged donors: Serious Questions left unanswered
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 20:19:54 +1300

Dear Mr Farry

You have not answered my questions about the $1m donations you personally announced, very excitedly, through the media three years ago.
Your persistent avoidance in confirming whether the $1m donations exist is unproductive and can only lead me to one obvious conclusion that the donations do not exist and they probably never did.

Your description of the original $1m ‘donations’ has transformed to ‘amounts’ then to ‘quantums’.
I find this latest description quite apt considering that in Quantum Physics a “quantum is the minimum unit of any physical entity involved in an interaction” (Wikipedia) ie virtually non-existent in the physical world. Note that donations are physical gifts involving the transfer of actual money from one or several sources to another.

Now that you have confirmed that the several $1m donations are not donations, you must realise you are now in a moral quandary.

Your plea below for me to put my “energies into ensuring the project is a success” is curious. You have always asserted that the stadium will be an unqualified success.
I take it that even you now have doubts.

Yours sincerely
Bev Butler

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, CST, Design, Economics, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Stadiums

34 responses to “Donations – the quest for clarification

    • Elizabeth

      So if a registered charitable trust takes in operational revenue (which is not a ‘donation’) for a period of time – in other words, it’s “selling commercial product” (seating packages, sponsorships, etc) – what is the Charities Commission New Zealand to do? What are the separations? Have the CST’s independently audited financial statements submitted to the Registrar been accurate? And are they consistent with what the CST chairman asserts?

  1. RE

    Well done, Beverley. You have caught Malcolm on the horns of a dilemma – either to reveal that the CST’s accounts are not as transparent as is necessary to ensure no corruption could have taken place or to admit that there have been no donations. I’m amazed that he has elected the former horn! It must be because we all accept that he’s a blowhard, we don’t haul him before the magistrates.

  2. Pingback: Can’t Wait for The RWC to Start | Rugby in New Zealand

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Must say I enjoy the way Bev plays cat and mouse – she the cat gently prodding a mouse to make it move so she can pounce on it again. Well done that woman.

  4. Lindsay

    “Your wish to distinguish between donors, sponsors and purchasers of product indicates a misunderstanding on your part as to the manner of our fundraising.”

    Good God! Is this guy actually serious?

  5. Anonymous

    “The claims that the Stadium would be paid for from private funds is incorrect and mischievous.” — M. Farry, 2010

    “I’m not prepared to put that burden on ratepayers.” — M. Farry, 2006

    “Mr Farry conceded the decision would ultimately hinge on the availability of funding.

    While that had yet to be secured, Mr Farry said sources would include the university, naming rights sponsors, ground members, the Community Trust of Otago, corporate sponsors, shares, bonds, plus contributions from the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council.

    Mr Farry was adamant any council funding for the project should come from existing capital expenditure and a re-evaluation of existing projects, rather than raising rates.”

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Picky, picky, pick. Next thing malcontents will be expecting to find out the difference between lies, truth, fibs, memory lapses, wishful thinking, and fraud.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    Quick quiz:
    1. Name one person who can’t tell a donation from a hole in his artichoke.
    2. Name a city whose ratepayers can.

  8. Amanda kennedy

    ….”…and fraud…” …something about that word rings true. And this corporate sponsoring Farry mentions? When will ODT owner Mr Julian Smith front up with millions to show he is not prepared to let Dunedin people foot the bill for the stadium he has supported ?

  9. RE

    Did Julian Smith support the stadium? I believe his brother Nick Smith did – but when did Julian reveal his support?

  10. Amanda kennedy

    Prior to the last election the ODT did not bother to remind voters that Crs Acklin, Noone, Bezett et al were stadium debt supporters, though funnily enough, after the election there was an article about how stadium voting councillors were returned to council. And now, whenever there is an article about the massive debt this city is struggling under, the ODT always (always!) neglects to remind readers of the councillors who are responsible for this debt. It seems to be not overly bothered about who is accountable for this debt. This is mighty odd for a media outlet which usually thrives on controversy, and massive debt creation is pretty controversal I think. There also seems to be a cosy relationshiop if Smith’s ODT gets to have the stadium for free of charge.

    {Allied Press Ltd is celebrating ODT’s 150th anniversary this year. -Eds}

  11. RE

    Both Smith brothers are involved in the ODT’s running. How much editorial say they have is hotly disputed by the editors – though, Amanda, you may well say, they would dispute it. Nick Smith’s kingdom is the marketing of the paper, I think, and it’s been speculated that the editorial bias towards the stadium was influenced by the advertising department rather than the Julian Smith part of the empire just as it was (supposedly) under N Smith’s auspices that the ODT’s banner was included in the supporters’ advert. However this is just speculation.

    Does the ODT have a free box at the stadium? I wouldn’t doubt for a minute, Elizabeth, that J Smith had a corporate suite – and N Smith, though I suppose they might be joint holders of one. But why would their suite be free? Or why, to be more specific, would the ODT get a free one as Amanda has suggested? Or have I misunderstood?

  12. Amanda kennedy

    What I was refering to RE was the upcoming ODT [150th] Party that is being held at the stadium. The DCC has given $70,000 (ratefunds) for [Allied Press Ltd] to hold the party and apparently the tickets to the stadium are for free (free!). That, frankly, make my lip curl. As I have said elsewhere, the heart of the injustice of the stadium is that it has (and will) only benefit the ‘private’ interests, while the debt? Oh you better believe the debt [is] all on the shoulders of the public. No doubt the ODT/Smith would bleat the usual line ‘The ODT is a community asset’ (heard that before referring to another so called ‘asset’?). Smith is a millionaire many times over, yet still the public is expected to pay for this so-called ‘free’ (ratefunded) event.

  13. Amanda kennedy

    And as far as whether the ‘bias’ of the ODT is intentional (on the part of Julian Smith, or the marketing department at the ODT), I don’t really care which it is; the end result is a media not interested in holding local politician / debt creators accountable. It is like the fiscal incompetence of the stadium councillors; I don’t care whether they are corrupt and looking out for business ‘stakeholders’ or just incredibly incompetent. The end result is the same; a city mired in massive debt.

    • Elizabeth

      I can’t comment on what the current partnership arrangements are between DCC and Allied Press Ltd for the community concert.

      However, I do suppose that Allied Press Ltd is kicking in a substantial amount of resources to make the evening a successful celebration for Dunedin citizens! I have no doubt about that, and good on them.

      We’re all surrounded by millionaires, it doesn’t mean much these days, and do they broadcast it, not usually – although NBR might take an annual stab. A lot of so-called millionaires are good, hard working entrepreneurial people, they’ve earned their wealth many times over. They also tend not to advertise the ways they get other people started or supported in business, or charitable works they do, which can be considerable if not mind-blowing in the sense of public good. Our economy needs them. So they didn’t invest in a stadium – aren’t they wise business people! Maybe they bought a seating package or a corporate suite. So what.

      Whatever we may think of DCC’s long and valued relationship with Allied Press Ltd (company owners and staff), I would hesitate to say it’s all bad. It simply is not. Across the 150 years, good has come of it and at regularly fruitful intervals – for citizens. Successful companies have that effect.

      • Elizabeth

        Very few news media in New Zealand have the budgets to sustain investigative journalism. It’s not the sole province of the Otago Daily Times. Frustrating, for them and us.

  14. Peter

    I’m reasonably sure the editors of the ODT are not directly told what to say, but they’d have a pretty good idea what their bosses would, or would not, want to see printed in their paper. The paper’s owners would employ, and promote, people who implicitly understand this. In a small place like Dunedin business interests and connections are close and that’s the problem we have down here and one reason why Dunedin staggers along. It’s all very cosy.

  15. Amanda kennedy

    Yes, Peter. I am sure that is true. This idea around the media is the reason why our local democracy has proved flawed. This is why we have the same old faces on council election after election. If the local media does not hold local politicians to account we are doomed to have the same old faces returned again next election; another three years of Ackin’s hair cut, Hudson’s face in the newspapers, and endless articles about how Cr Collins interviewed the Beatles (or was it the Rolling Stones?) in the newspapers. I am so over it all. If the media does not want to ask hard questions, then social networking will step in because people want those responsible for the debt to be held accountable, otherwise we get another three years of them calling the shots and deciding where our ratefunds go.

  16. Amanda kennedy

    You can say that again Elizabeth! (the frustrating part!)… “I do suppose that Allied Press Ltd is kicking in a substantial amount of resources to make the evening a successful celebration for Dunedin citizens!..” Yes, I would certainly hope so too.

  17. Amanda kennedy

    What I am curious to observe is with a vacuum of an ‘accountability’ culture regarding the city’s debt, who will be ‘blamed’ for the debt? What will the story be in the future when the media reflect on this? I suspect the new story will be that the Dunedin people pushed for the stadium and its debt, demanded it, and the councillors of the time, though all uneasy about the debt resulting from the stadium, in a nod to democracy, relented. So when we start jumping up and down about future asset sales, the local politicians can say to us all, ‘people, you wanted your foolish stadium, now you have to pay for it’.

  18. Peter

    Allied Press may be kicking in a substantial amount for the ‘Community’ concert, but it is their birthday party, not ours. It is not as if AP is short of cash. Given our financial state, it could have totally been their ‘shout’. I don’t see the ODT as our ‘community’ paper, which we somehow collectively own. There is more than one media source/paper in town. AP is a business, pure and simple.

    • Elizabeth

      We’re some of the people (social history) whose activities made the news that made the newspapers, the community papers, the private tv channels, and so forth. I consider all local-based news media to be my ‘community’ media. Why wouldn’t I? I’m a devout fan of local media, love it hate it on any one day – it’s great <3

      (and heck, everyone seems to have a ‘pen-name’ who writes to ODT / ODT Online daily if not weekly…. thanks writers, for your considered but recognisable thoughts, as well as your idiosyncratic spelling and grammar)

  19. Ro

    I’ve been looking for the source of the city’s provision of $70,000 for the ODT’s big night in at the stadium. D-Scene doesn’t get delivered to us – was it in there? It hasn’t popped out of the DCC’s reports on a search of any likely words.

    I did hear that Malcolm Farry was enormously put out that the opening event for the stadium wasn’t a self-congratulatory party for the CST courtesy of the rate-payer. It’s probably the case that the city would have found putting on some kind of opening event unavoidable. So on the whole I have no quarrel with that event’s being the ODT’s 150th – especially since we can assume that Allied Press is sharing the cost. I’m just sorry that yet another few tens of thousands of public money are going down the stadium gurgler.

  20. Peter

    The stadium also doesn’t get a hiring fee for the event. It’s ‘free’ for the ODT. The concert is ‘free’ for concert goers, except of course they pay for it in their rates to cover the costs of hiring it out for ‘free’. Another cost… to us. Stadium gurgler or stadium vacuum cleaner?!

  21. Mike

    I see that CST’s 2011 return is available from the charities commission – seems they took in $80,000 in donations (hooray!) and spent $81,194 on ‘administration’ (boo!!) – so none of their donations went to pay for the stadium at all

  22. Bev Butler

    Mike, there appears to be no record of Sir Eion Edgar’s promised $1m donation. Maybe the media could ask Edgar when he intends keeping his $1m donation promise which was reported in the media mid 2008.

  23. Hype O'Thermia

    Bev, are you sure it wasn’t shuffled around from one entity to another, broken into (a la John Banks – Dotcom donations) into quarter-millions, recombined, re-shaped as random numbers totalling a million? After which it (or portions thereof) could have ended up “anywhere” – the anywhere that has done so well out of ratepayers in the last few years.
    There was another donation I heard about that never seemed to turn up in recognisable form, from someone who wasn’t going to make tactless waves among the GOBs but couldn’t help wondering. This was some time ago, not sure if he has found out what happened since then. He was one of several whose donations went >pfft!< invisible.

  24. Anonymous

    Hype O’Thermia, you seem to have a grasp on the intricacies of managing funding but according to the Critic a representative of Allied Press believes a man would be more successful. Of course if that is representative of the wider company then Bev’s concern is unlikely to garner much interest from the paper since a) there’s a man involved and b) it’s Eion.

    While introducing Susie Staley, who is the iD Committee Chairperson, Paul Dwyer of the ODT had a dig at the event’s lack of a major sponsor, suggesting that “maybe it’s about time we got a man on the board to quicken things up.” At the conclusion of his ramble one attendant exclaimed, “what the fuck was that?”

    ### Critic Online Posted 5:43pm Sunday 17th March 2013
    Fashion Angers The Patriarchy
    By Zane Pocock.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s