Again: Oh, Mr Curragh… [emails]

Subject: The ORFU scandal, missing trust monies and reported fraudulent activities
Date: Sun, 27 May 2012 21:39:11 +1200

Sunday 27th May 2012

Dear Jeremy

You have still not responded to my emails dated Sunday 20th May and Wednesday 23rd May 2012.
This is not a good look as I was expecting some reassurance from you, as the ORFU change manager, re perceived financial irregularities of ORFU.
To date, you have chosen not to name the trusts involved in the missing money, you have given no reassurance that the ORFU were not trading illegally while insolvent, you have offered no public apology to the amateur rugby clubs who have missed out on receiving the public money the ORFU applied for, you have offered no explanation how you see nothing illegal about spending public money on unauthorised purposes, you have offered no explanation why the ORFU did not pay their $25,352 DVML party/booze bill, pocketing $52,000 from the event then continuing to hock up other bills around town.

Now we have a report from the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website and ODT that “an elderly man who ripped off pokies community grants to the tune of $605,550 has been sentenced to community detention”. Judge Charles Blackie called the case a “very elaborate scam”. There appear to be a number of similarities in this case and the ORFU case.

I will outline the similarities as follows:

1. Counties Manukau Bowls (CMB)
The DIA found numerous fraudulent grant applications to gaming machine societies from Counties Manukau Bowls (CMB), an umbrella organisation for south Auckland bowling clubs. Noel Henry Gibbons implemented a scheme in which constituent clubs or CMB would invest indirectly in hotels where poker machines operated so that, in turn, those clubs could benefit from grants of pokies proceeds.
Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU)
In the SST it was recently reported that the ORFU had invested in three South Auckland bars and were siphoning money over a few years to the tune of $5m.

2. Counties Manukau Bowls (CMB)
Gibbons also applied for grants from gaming machine societies for bowling machine maintenance, using the money to illegally repay loans for the purchase of hotels.
Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU)
The ORFU have been spending monies from unnamed trusts for unauthorised purposes. This has occurred on many occasions and the money has gone ‘in the pot’.

3. Counties Manukau Bowls (CMB)
Judge Blackie said Gibbons knew he acted dishonestly each time he made a false application at the expense of the community.
Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU)
I do not have any information re false applications except that the ORFU continued to make applications to unnamed trusts and used this public money for unauthorised purposes.
The black-tie dinner also has similarities in that the ORFU deliberately ran off without paying their $25,352 DVML bill whilst pocketing $52,000 into their own pot.

Jeremy, you have not offered any assurances as outlined above and in my previous emails nor have you indicated whether you have reported the ORFU irregularities to the appropriate authorities.

Yours sincerely
Bev Butler

Related Posts and Comments:
26.5.12 DIA media release
23.5.12 Latest: Oh, Mr Curragh… [emails]
20.5.12 Update: Oh, Mr Curragh… [emails]
18.5.12 Oh, Mr Curragh… [emails]
11.5.12 Dunedin shootout: mafia bosses
2.5.12 Ratepayers pay for ORFU black tie dinner at stadium
1.5.12 ORFU’s draft constitution
29.4.12 Department of Internal Affairs, the gambling authority
22.4.12 DIA, OAG, TTCF and Otago Rugby swim below the line
31.3.12 Rob Hamlin: The ORFU’s small creditors: If I was one of them…
23.3.12 ORFU position
15.3.12 Message To ORFU Creditors, if you want to see your money
9.3.12 DCC considers writing off ORFU’s $400,000 debt
2.3.12 Demand a full independent forensic audit of ORFU

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, DVML, Economics, Events, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Sport, Stadiums

15 responses to “Again: Oh, Mr Curragh… [emails]

  1. Elizabeth

    Lee Vandervis says:
    “Curious that despite ORFU abuse of Dunedin’s ratepayers and Mayor, the DCC intention still seems to be bail-out and cover-up. Nuts!”

    [email correspondence]

  2. Peter

    I notice in today’s ODT there is a farewell article to Jeremy Curragh by Steve Hepburn- ‘Financial troubleshooter warns job not over’ where Curragh says ‘there is still a long row to hoe’. He’s not kidding. Of course the Otago Rugby/Farry Times glosses over these emails to JC as if they don’t know about them. (CC’d to key people, nevertheless)
    The ODT is building up quite an inventory of seriously unreported scandals to do with the stadium which will eventually warrant a mass complaint to the Press Council and embarrassingly CC’d to all other media. I’m fed up with them protecting rugby/stadium interests. They only do enough to appear to be ‘on the ball’. Doesn’t fool other media who mock the ODT for their efforts to protect the ratepayers of this city.

  3. Anonymous

    Agreed Peter, enough news tips ignored to inspire a parody site called the Otago Rugby Times or Otago Stadium Times and then some. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to register and do The Onion or just direct it at a particularly ridiculous rugby love-story on theirs.

  4. Anonymous

    Or direct it at a comment like this because sitting watching some guy run up a field with a ball is so much more, umm, yeah, something, than engaging in culture, history, life, …

    {Don’t worry, Max used to work at the Public Library by his own admission. Only goes to show he didn’t get beyond the kids’ alphabet books. -Eds}

  5. Mike

    Hmm …. check out Ian Taylor’s letter to the editor in today’s paper and Curragh’s non answer …

  6. Calvin Oaten

    “SHEESH”!! even Ian Taylor, the stadium’s most ardent supporter is feeling some chagrin at the ORFU’s treatment of its creditors. And by golly, he’s right. Since when did a shonky organisation such as the ORFU have the right to reset the rules of debt payment? If the debtor has a problem then the rule is that all creditors are totalled, divvied into the available funds and paid out equally. It may well be that all get just a portion of what they are owed, measured in cents per dollar (where there is a shortfall) not all for some and nothing for others. Ian Taylor is right to challenge this broken manner in which the ORFU has performed. Curragh’s explanation – long winded as it is – does nothing to add credibility to the whole fiasco. Why the DCC chose to get into bed with these reprobates is beyond comprehension.

  7. Anonymous

    If Ian Taylor is a creditor, then he knows what to do to fix this. Not make an agreement, rather pursue liquidation of the society. What ORFU has done is legal provided that they have the agreement of all creditors. It’s a small town. Nails that stick up above the boards get hammered.

  8. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; if all creditors came to an agreement then how come Ian Taylor didn’t know? Again, it all smacks of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is up to.

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    Parasites don’t have friends, they only have hosts.

  10. Mike

    I think the context is the wife of a rugby luminary possibly being paid in full for organising the party while the ratepayers were stiffed for the same event

  11. Hype O'Thermia

    I wondered about that.
    It would definitely be a reason to keep names and $numbers “commercially sensitive”.

    On the other hand the wife of a rugby luminary whose household had benefited so greatly over the years, might have decided to actually make a contribution now the ORFU is in trouble by doing the job free or materials-only. You’ve been banging on about the rugby community making efforts for themselves, Mike. Maybe at last someone did.

    Shaddup, stop laughing.

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