ORFU insolvent for some time

### ODT Online Wed, 29 Feb 2012
Opinion: Blog
Time to tear off ORFU’s cloak of commercial invisibility
By Rob Hamlin
With any luck, the unlamented Otago Rugby Football Union Inc. will go into liquidation on Friday. As usual the Devil is in the detail, and in this particular instance the detail is in the last three letters of the name of this organisation. If it was the ORFU Ltd. that was to be liquidated, then the ORFU board might well be looking forward to Friday with some considerable trepidation.

The DCC purchased Carisbrook last year for seven million dollars on the basis of a professional valuation. Given that the ORFU’s has ‘only’ lost some $800,000 in the 2011 period, these figures would suggest that the ORFU’s debt at that the point of Carisbrook’s sale was over eight million dollars (7.0+2.3-0.8 = 8.5). Thus, when Carisbrook was sold in 2011, it is possible to estimate that the ORFU’s debt exceeded Carisbrook’s market value by over a million dollars. These figures, combined with chronic losses, would suggest that a recognisable state of insolvency existed at that date.

Read more

NOTE: Rob Hamlin’s blog at ODT Online was removed. Therefore, the ODT link is no longer active. -Eds.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under DVML, Economics, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport, Stadiums

11 responses to “ORFU insolvent for some time

  1. Ro

    I see you’ve posted a link to this article here Elizabeth… perhaps my question (not yet published in oddity) to Rob Hamlin and his reply should be moved to this thread? I think many of us are still assuming the office holders of ORFU can be made liable for the debt…

    {We note the following comments posted at another thread. -Eds}

    Submitted on 2012/03/01 at 7:13 am
    I have posted the following question on oddity on-line directed to Rob Hamlin for his thoughts, and I’m posting it here too because I want to know the answer:

    In order to avoid being reponsible for any debts incurred by the newly formed ORFU, its officers will presumably have to apply to the registrar of incorporated societies for reregistration. Is he obliged to comply or has he to take into account objections? How does one object? Does one have to be a direct creditor of the previously formed society to have standing or can anyone, as a citizen of Dunedin and therefore corporately a creditor, object?

    Rob Hamlin
    Submitted on 2012/03/01 at 9:15 am
    I don’t know, but it would be well worth finding out, and quickly. I will look into as I hope will others. Many minds being better than one. If there is such a system – it should be used, and made public so that others can ‘feed in’.

    • Elizabeth

      I guess John had to turn up sometime, with something…

      ### ODT Online Thu, 1 Mar 2012
      OPINION: ORFU boards and volunteers owed a vote of thanks
      By John Cossens
      An Otago university academic, Rob Hamlin, has lamented the ORFU was not a ‘Ltd’ rather than an ‘Inc’ for if it had been people and boards could be held accountable and blame apportioned. From the comfort of a warm office in the ivory towers it seems easy to point the finger but the real truth is we owe the boards, directors, administrators and volunteers of the ORFU a vote of thanks. Now, I hear a collective groan of disbelief that such heresy could be spoken but we owe these people thanks for keeping the body of the ORFU alive for so many, many years under extremely difficult circumstances.
      Read more

  2. Anonymous

    Also from the Incorporated Societies Act:
    ” Society not to engage in operations involving pecuniary gain
    (1) No society shall do any act of such a nature that if the doing thereof were one of the objects for which the society was established the members of the society would be deemed to be associated for pecuniary gain within the meaning of sections 4 and 5 hereof.
    (2) Every society which does any such act shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $200.
    (3) Every member who aids, abets, procures, assists, or takes part in the doing of any such act by a society shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $40, and all such members shall be jointly and severally liable to any creditor of the society for all debts and obligations incurred by the society in or in consequence of the doing of that act.
    (4) Every member who derives any pecuniary gain from any act done by the society in breach of this section shall be deemed to have received the same to the use of the society, and the same may be recovered by the society accordingly.”

    According to Jim Harland, the ORFU sought to make a profit from the sale of Carisbrook…

  3. Russell Garbutt

    Cossens clearly is a troubled little soul. Why anyone would think that the Boards of the ORFU were competent goes unexplained.

    They clearly were totally incompetent, but they were worse. They chose to continue to receive goods and services knowing they couldn’t pay. In my book that is thieving and anyone that particpated in that process is a thief. Figure out who deserves the title.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Correct, Russell. Incompetent, or corrupt, or incompetent AND corrupt.

    No other options unless you believe in aliens that snuck into offices in the dead of night and forged signatures on deals, altered the accounts and otherwise made it look as if everything was going along just fine (despite the seating for games showing a decreasing number of attendees year by year) until suddenly – “OOOoooh! Look at this, who’d have foreseen this catastrophe? Not us!”

    Clap if you believe in aliens…….

  5. Lindsay

    At least we know now who won the race with the DCC to see who could run an organisation into bankruptcy first.
    I should be a bit more careful about what I say or I will feel pretty silly when our turn comes.

  6. Peter

    You can always rely on the apologists who make excuses for those who have done wrong. John Cossens is one of them. It isn’t a surprise that he works in the dark art of marketing.

  7. Rob Hamlin

    I know Dr John Cossens quite well. A bit’s missing off the bio at the end of the article – he used to be one of my colleagues in the Ivory Tower a.k.a. University of Otago, Department of Marketing – he left.

    Rugby is not my sport, but I am not ignorant of the unpaid sports volunteer thing as he claims. I have put thousands of unpaid hours into rowing since I arrived in this town in 1992, many as a coach in the very early morning (5.30-6.00 am) and in much more uncomfortable environments than the middle of Carisbrook. So I do know what it is like. Russell can confirm this.

    I have never been paid a cent for this contribution. In fact I pay subs for the privilege – I am not so sure about whether JC was similarly unpaid for all of his inputs to rugby – I presume ORFU marketing manager was a paid position, although I do seem to remember he was still employed by the University at the time.

    It all seemed a bit emotional to me.

  8. TFour

    The ODT’s web site seems to lose the odd article – can someone check with them about correcting their little accident? The “read more” link above does not work.

    {Rob Hamlin’s blog at ODT Online was removed. -Eds}

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