Martin Legge responds to media stories on Murray Acklin, TTCF and DIA

● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference

Updated post July 16, 2012 · 3:14 pm

ODT reporter Hamish McNeilly had a story published on Saturday (14 July), ‘$425,000 fee not recovered’. He said: “The Department of Internal Affairs was “unable” to recover more than $400,000 paid to a Queenstown-based pokies’ trustee. In his role as “executive trustee with special responsibilities” Murray Acklin was paid $425,254 by The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF), between April 2006 and March 2009. He later resigned from the position, on the advice of the department, but remains a trustee. Following an investigation the department suspended the trust’s licence for two days as its expenditure, including that paid to Mr Acklin, was “considered to be excessive and not reasonable or necessary to the gambling operation”. That suspension was increased to five days after the trust took an appeal to the Gambling Commission.” Read more

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/07/15 at 12:01 pm

Re ODT article about Murray Acklin reported above re $425k

You’d be forgiven for thinking Acklin was responsible for raising $6.9 million for the community. Acklin did not raise one cent for the community but simply enticed the transfer of existing pokie bars over to TTCF so he and his fellow trustees could give most of it to racing and ORFU, that is what he was paid for.

Senior DIA Management held a meeting with TTCF Chairman, Malcolm McElrea of Balclutha in late 2009 following the results of a number of serious investigations into TTCF which included the unlawful payment of $1.2 million to a company associated with the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts, the $425k payment to Mr Acklin and the promise of pokie grants and TAB upgrades to secure pubs. At that meeting DIA expressed a strong desire that Acklin resign his position as Trustee.

So here is the question for Mr Quivooy and DIA. Why, in June 2010, only weeks after the Gambling Commission decision and 8 months after the above meeting and without even attempting to recover any of the $425k or $1.2 million, was DIA able to “sufficiently satisfy” itself (in accordance with its statutory obligations – yes, that is the wording of the legislation – “satisfy”), that they should grant a new gaming operators licence to TTCF Ltd allowing the same trustees (including Mr Acklin) to all become Directors effectively permitting them to continue to grant millions to racing and ORFU???

Gaming industry whistleblower Martin Legge is a former detective and police prosecutor, TTCF contractor, and DIA senior inspector gaming compliance. He continues to expose the system and the players.

NZ Herald reporter David Fisher has his story published the same day, ‘Watchdog: Pokie checks not up to mark’, lobbing attack at the Department of Internal Affairs for incomplete sloppy work, seemingly carried out to avoid prosecutions. He says: “The public servant charged with regulating the gambling industry has described his department’s capacity and capability as not being fully up to the mark. In an email to an informant, Maarten Quivooy of the Department of Internal Affairs also wrote that “our practice isn’t always as sharp as we would want it to be”. The comments were made in letters to former Otago Sport chairman Russell Garbutt, who spent years raising concerns about grants from a gaming trust which took money from pokie machines in the North Island and paid it out in the South Island. The complaints appeared to go nowhere until eight weeks ago when the department said it shared his concerns but had run out of time to do anything about it.” Read more

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/07/14 at 7:06 pm

Maarten Quivooy says DIA don’t have the capacity to regulate the gaming industry and blames it on the legislation. How can he blame the legislation when his department rarely tests it? How does he have the gall to say that they can’t do anything because the statute of limitations prevents action – when it is DIA’s own inaction that allows these crooked trusts to get off because DIA do absolutely nothing within the 2-year prosecutorial limit but not only that, they continue to re-licence them year in, year out. From my evidence from the last 5 years at least, the DIA senior management and past and present Internal Affairs Ministers have not only turned a blind eye to offences, but have interfered on behalf of pokie trusts who have lobbied them. Coal face inspectors (the ones who don’t kow-tow to their bosses) leave the DIA in frustration after doing thorough and enforceable investigations that get quashed. The silence of politicians other than the Greens and Flavell over the appalling state of the gaming sector is deafening. What Quivooy told Russell Garbutt is at odds with my own response from Quivooy that stated DIA “had conducted a robust and thorough enquiry” into my numerous complaints, many of which they now state publicly that they are “continuing to investigate, re-investigate, audit, re-audit” and I still haven’t been contacted! Thank goodness for the media. If Quivooy was a senior Police Officer and made that kind of admission to a member of the public or in the media, a national enquiry would be called for and the Police Complaints Authority would be all over him.

Media Links:
25.6.12 http://itsabigfatlie.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/richard-boock-sunday-star-times-24612.html
2.6.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/211666/determined-clean-sector
2.6.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/211669/internal-affairs-investigate-orfu-pokies
2.6.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/211671/mps-query-sees-all-hell-break-loose
29.5.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/sport/rugby/211018/rugby-financial-troubleshooter-warns-job-not-over
23.5.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/210293/grants-meant-amateur-rugby-used-pay-orfu-creditors
3.5.12 http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/7038067/Stadium-plans-met-with-scorn
3.5.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/207787/dinner-profits-went-day-day-costs
2.5.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/207653/orfu-unpaid-bill-obscene
1.5.12 http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/207473/small-creditors-get-their-money-back-orfu
23.4.12 http://thestandard.org.nz/gaming-industry-whistleblower/
22.4.12 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/6785852/The-inside-man

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

33 Comments

Filed under Business, Economics, Media, Name, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport, Stadiums

33 responses to “Martin Legge responds to media stories on Murray Acklin, TTCF and DIA

    • Elizabeth

      Russell – care to comment on this at the end of David Fisher’s article: “On June 21, Mr Quivooy emailed to say new inquiries had led to money being recovered. He said the comments were written with the benefit of hindsight and the department had reviewed its inquiry and was satisfied with the steps it took.” ?

      DIA allows millions of dollars to be laundered through to ORFU, and that’s all he has to say. What would the Gambling Commission say, the same ? And the Minister, the same ? Mr John Key, the same ?

      DIA’s Maarten Quivooy should be put on the stand.
      Complicit ? Or sat upon by the establishment ?

  1. Calvin Oaten

    It all just reinforces what I have been saying. It goes too high up, and those up there will continue to shut any contra moves down. In the ORFU case, the best thing that could happen would be for the DCC to pull the plug and watch them scramble for their lives. The code would be the better for it after the drama, which would almost certainly cleanse the whole organisation. Will it happen? Never.

  2. Martin Legge

    DIA and Mr Quivooy are playing the community and possibly his own Minister, Chris Tremain, for fools.

    DIA want you all to believe that the money recently reported in the ODT as being misused by ORFU ($35k or so) has been returned and hope that you miss the elephant standing in the room.

    That elephant is – Why did TTCF, a Licensed Gaming Machine Operator grant $6-7 million generated from South Auckland bars to ORFU and Centre of Excellence in the first place?

    The answer to the question is “Ownership” – the ORFU had an “ownership and /or financial interest” in the 3 Jokers bars between 2004 and 2011 and to keep those high performing bars in their stable, the TTCF Trustees allowed ORFU preferential treatment over those community funds. It is TTCF (not ORFU) that hold the DIA Licence and have the liability and responsibility for acting within the law. It doesn’t get any simpler or more serious for TTCF.

    There exists substantial evidence should the department have the courage to look at it. There exist handwritten budgets, emails regarding ownership, instructions to fudge and alter applications between Centre of Excellence and TTCF and my own substantial testimony.

    DIA statements that the statute of limitations prevents action is just more utter nonsense, as is the fact that they can no longer go after Trustees because they changed entities. DIA have and always had, the right to “lift the corporate veil”; they just choose the easy way and issue excuses.

    Questions should be asked of DIA as to why they haven’t even put TTCF and this case before the Gambling Commission which requires a lesser standard of proof than the courts and has no time restrictions? Here’s some of the other things they could also do:

    Cancel or suspend TTCF Ltd Gaming Operators Licence invoking the “no right of appeal” because the grants were approved under the above circumstances and therefore fall outside being charitable or for authorised purposes.

    Declare current TTCF Directors unsuitable to be involved in Gambling.

    Recover the money paid to ORFU and Harness Racing from the Trustees.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Quorruption rulz OK

  4. Russell Garbutt

    Yes, I will comment, but perhaps the best way of doing so would be to make it clear just what was happening with the ORFU, the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport and The Trusts Charitable Foundation. Then it will be clear just what the problem is with the DIA.

    As we all have read, the ORFU had, through a variety of means made very clear by Martin Legge, established a means for getting very large sums of money from what has become known as the Three Jokers operation in Auckland. Mr Legge has clearly shown just how the pokie fund proceeds from these bars was channelled through TTCF into the coffers of the ORFU. The ORFU were not the only player in this market and Harness Racing was also heavily involved. We have seen published on this site evidence of how this large amount of money was divvied up. Mr Legge makes it very clear that what was being done at this time was illegal. He also describes with some clarity those involved in setting up other entities designed to obscure just what was going on.

    What is also abundantly clear from the evidence of people involved and formerly employed by the ORFU, that discussions were held and decisions made in Dunedin to set up another body which got called the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport. This body lists 3 Directors – just have a look at the Companies website to read all about them – and was set up in late 2004. Suffice to say that Mr Legge has evidence that shows that this body was making applications for grants to TTCF and that the person listed as the contact person for these grants was an ORFU employee who as it happens, now works indirectly for the DCC. Mr Legge also has evidence that shows that efforts were made to ensure that this connection was to be obscured. According to one of the former employees of the ORFU, three employees of the ORFU, still fully employed by the ORFU were then paid by the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport. The purpose of the applications from the Centre to TTCF was to pay wages for three people and it has been said that these three were supplying services to a wide range of elite athletes. It is clear however from what the former employee of the ORFU said, that it was the wages of the three ORFU employees that were being met via the Centre.

    When I happened to notice a public notice of these grants by TTCF in 2008, these matters were put before the DIA for investigation.

    I think it wide public knowledge that the investigation by the DIA was in my view at best, pathetic. Some have suggested that the DIA could have been, by their degree of ineptness, complicit in what was going on. I have no means of knowing whether this would be true – personally I don’t believe it. But there were very very large sums of money at stake here and those running the ORFU who were the end benefactors had an enormous amount to protect. As we have all seen, the ORFU had ended up in the position that they were consistently spending much more than they were earning, and every cent they could extract from pokies was worth fighting for. In fact, they relied on huge amounts of pokie money to just survive – but even then they were losing money on an annual basis. I think it true that many of those involved in running the ORFU either in governance or management had all the knowledge that they needed to know that their business was heavily reliant on the income from pokie funds and that this was, as pointed out by their own auditors, a recipe for disaster. And so it proved to be, with once again the ratepayers of this City picking up more than its fair share of their unpaid debts. I leave it to others to form the view whether Mayor Dave Cull’s views on the performance of the ORFU were warranted, and I’m sure that the forthcoming court action will be more than interesting.

    And so to the DIA.

    I have been told that the DIA have closed things down on their investigation into the activities of the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport. Mainly because of the statute of limitations and also because the Centre got struck off in late 2011 and so the entity has vanished. What I say to that is that I have absolutely no evidence to show that the DIA undertook any serious investigation of the Centre, its association with the ORFU and its income from TTCF other than to conclude that the whole lot “smelled, it lacked probity and probably legality”, and that “they got away with it”. If that is not a shocking position, then I don’t know what is. I have said exactly that to the DIA when I went to Wellington, and I haven’t changed my view. I think it amazing that the DIA still have not to my certain knowledge, sat down with Mr Legge who is the holder of all of the original or copies of documentation that shows exactly what was going on with the ORFU, the Centre and TTCF. Just why this is so has never been explained to anyone to my knowledge.

    I don’t think it at all healthy that the situation exists whereby if a member of the public has genuine well-founded reasons for believing that major rorts and frauds have happened and writes to the appropriate Minister to make him or her aware of those concerns, that a Department that has failed in its duties and obligations in ensuring compliance with the appropriate legislation is in the position to form the Minister’s response to those concerns. That, it seems to me, is a basic failing in process, and does nothing to expose shortcomings in a Department’s performance or ability to perform.

    Above all, I think that the current system – and I mean the whole system of pokie money, its production, distribution and compliance is basically and inherently faulty, and is, as described by Francis Wevers riddled with rorts, frauds and worse. Endemic in that system is the production and distribution of very large amounts of money and whenever large amounts of money are at stake we will find both criminal activity and associated activity of concealment, payoffs and a few people riding comfortably on the gravy train. Many of those people are well known and portray themselves as pillars of society. I think it is fair and proper to say that in my view, Mr Maarten Quivooy of the DIA (who is new to the position) and I have no difference of opinion whatsoever that fraud and rorts are not desirable – he tends to come from the angle of compliance and the activities of the pokie trusts and I tend to come from the angle of those that are the recipients of these grants. But they are simply different angles to the same issues.

    Lastly, the “new” information that I gave to the DIA involved the emails to and from Jeremy Curragh of the ORFU who admitted that monies given to the ORFU were not used for the purposes for which they were applied for. Those emails were first published on this site by Bev Butler who has been diligent in pursuing the dealings of the ORFU, but were also published in the ODT and it seems strange to me that the DIA were oblivious of the press stories involving something that they were supposedly investigating. I also made it known to them, the information given to me by a former employee of the ORFU. I would further suggest that the ORFU, by being forced to repay some of this pokie largesse, have not learned a thing by events of the last decade and that the NZRU have no imperative or reasons to really reveal all that much in their dealings with the ORFU. Why should they expose their own inadequacies after all?

    I really don’t see too many differences between the days of prohibition in the States and those of the pokie machine industry here in New Zealand today. The one thing that was sure in both sets of circumstances was that a few people got very very rich out of something that inherently caused misery amongst those that could ill afford it.

    • Elizabeth

      [public domain] Source: New Zealand Companies Office

      CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR AMATEUR SPORT LIMITED (1574877)
      Incorporation Date: 05 Nov 2004
      Company Status: Struck off
      Registered from 05 Nov 2004 to 27 Oct 2011
      Entity type: NZ Limited Company
      Company Addresses:
      Registered Office – 40 Logan Park Drive, Dunedin, New Zealand
      Address for service – 40 Logan Park Drive, Dunedin, New Zealand

      Directors Showing 3 of 3 directors

      Phillip John HANDCOCK
      Residential Address: 20 Hunt Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin 9013, New Zealand
      Appointment Date: 05 Nov 2004

      Kereyn Maree SMITH
      Residential Address: 48 Doctors Point Road, Waitati, Dunedin
      Appointment Date: 05 Nov 2004

      John James SPICER
      Residential Address: 5 Brown Street, Waikouaiti 9510, New Zealand
      Appointment Date: 05 Nov 2004

      Total Number of Shares: 100
      Extensive Shareholding: No
      Shareholders in Allocation:

      Allocation 1:
      100 shares – THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR AMATEUR SPORT CHARITABLE TRUST
      Old Art Gallery Building, 36 Logan Park Drive, Dunedin

      [public domain] Source: New Zealand Companies Office (Societies and Trusts Online)

      Number: 1534874
      Name: THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE FOR AMATEUR SPORT CHARITABLE TRUST
      Incorporated: 12-JUL-2004
      Current Status: REGISTERED
      Organisation Type: Charitable Trust
      Address Details:
      Registered Office – Old Art Gallery Building, 36 Logan Park Drive, Dunedin
      Officers/Trustees: Details of officers/trustees have not been provided. This information is optional.

  5. Martin Legge

    We have not heard the last of TTCF from DIA. Watch for the final stage.

    The first stage was “we’re happy with ORFU and will not get involved”, then the second stage following intense media scrutiny “we will take a fresh look at TTCF and ORFU”. Then the third stage (the excuse) “we don’t have the capacity or capability and there needs to be law change”.

    Here’s my prediction for the fourth and final stage:

    DIA will “announce” that they have completed yet another fresh and thorough audit of TTCF. There may be the odd resignation (Murray Acklin, I suspect). The DIA will make the usual statements claiming “this is an excellent example of what DIA can achieve by working with a pokie trust to achieve compliance”, irrespective of the huge amount of misspent public money that has occurred.

    Shame for the Dunedin Mongrel Mob when the Police didn’t work with them in the same fashion when $20k of misappropriated funds from a trust was discovered.

    • Elizabeth

      So given the normal vehicles attaching to gambling non compliance – at what point, Martin, does natural justice kick in at a court sitting or three. The South Manukau community lost out to a bunch of white collar thugs from the south, by millions of dollars. Serious fraud.

      • Elizabeth

        4.8.10
        One of my earlier comments (link), resubmitted here:

        TTCF Grants (The Trusts Charitable Foundation)

        Approved Applications – 1 April 2007 to 30 September 2007
        Otago Rugby Football Union $100,000.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union $200,000.00

        Approved Applications – 1 October 2007 to 31 March 2008
        Otago Rugby Football Union $258,865.84

        Grants Approved – 1 April 2008 to September 2008
        Otago Rugby Football Union $29,067.48
        Otago Rugby Football Union $60,244.66
        Otago Rugby Football Union $119,443.35
        Otago Rugby Football Union $168,706.76
        Otago Rugby Football Union $200,000.00

        Less Refunded:
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$307.00

        Grants Approved – 1 October 2008 to 31 March 2009
        Otago Rugby Football Union $12,133.33
        Otago Rugby Football Union $22,862.19
        Otago Rugby Football Union $28,583.56
        Otago Rugby Football Union $32,843.18
        Otago Rugby Football Union $50,000.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union $60,375.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union $104,999.98

        Less Refunded:
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$375.00

        Grants Approved – 1 April 2009 to 30 September 2009
        Otago Rugby Football Union $107,321.30
        Otago Rugby Football Union $121,358.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union $174,844.68

        Less Refunded:
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$26,779.61
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$4,899.05
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$1,056.14
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$226.67

        Grants Approved – 1 October 2009 – 31 March 2010
        Otago Rugby Football Union $140,980.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union $53,169.00

        Less Refunded:
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$1,294.69
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$1,874.31
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$2,598.00
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$3,661.30
        Otago Rugby Football Union -$19,048.68

        ———————————————————————————

        29.4.12
        Another comment (link):

        ### ODT Online Sun, 29 Apr 2012
        Trust audit may involve ORFU
        By Hamish McNeilly
        The relationship between the financially troubled Otago Rugby Football Union and Auckland bars may be revealed as part of an “in-depth audit”. The Department of Internal Affairs has confirmed it is in the “process of completing an in-depth audit” of The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF). The trust was responsible for more than half of the $5.1 million in pokie grants given to the ORFU between 2005 and 2010.

        Last month, the Otago Daily Times reported the cash-strapped union was involved in the purchase of three Auckland bars, known collectively as the Jokers group, which had poker machines aligned to TTCF. The bars were bought by a third party company with strong links to the ORFU, resulting in a large increase in grants going from TTCF to the union.

        Read more

  6. Russell Garbutt

    One document that has not been referred to is the final audit by DIA into TTCF. This document reveals just how TTCF treats its own Directors and is particularly illuminating I feel.

    http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/GamblingComplianceAuditReports2008-2009/$file/GamblingComplianceAuditReport_2008-2009_TheTrustsCharitableFoundationInc.pdf

    (PDF, 930K) Audit Period: 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007

    • Elizabeth

      Good point, Russell. The link was posted here on another thread this year but like so many contributions it got lost in the pile.

      Limitations of the WordPress template make searches futile at times via the righthand menu search box.

      Site moderators have access to a powerful search tool at their dashboards. If anyone wants a specific search done we’re happy to oblige but it may not be same day service.

  7. Martin Legge

    The SFO can become involved when a case meets criteria ie; the matter involves over a million dollars or is suffciently complex to justify their involvement. DIA have occasionally in the past referred cases to SFO which have gone to the criminal courts (Brent Todd Affair/Auckland Helicopter Trust, etc)

    The Gambling Act 2003 has a statute of limitations of 2 years which essentially means that anything that has not been acted on by the regulator (DIA) within that time frame cannot be taken to the criiminal courts. For SFO to get involved in this it would require evidence of crimes committed against the Crimes Act which generally carry no time limitations. Falsifyiing grant applications or using any document with intent to deceive are Crimes Act Offences.

    I repeat, there was and still is nothing stopping DIA taking this issue to the Gambling Commission or reviewing the trusts suitability (“reformed” or not) to administer millions of dollars of community funds. There are no time limits on either of these options – only the limit of DIA’s will to do anything.

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Martin, I know you’ve stated as much in the past via this site and media comment – sorry to make you repeat.

      However, it’s always coming up as a question from lay people in first reaction to hearing about the gambling rorts and who’s involved (not having followed the story so far), as they contemplate how anyone could get on top of it, by whichever means.

      Mock powerlessness (for want of a better expression) at DIA level is clearly seen for what it is via your commentary. That mist over DIA is lifting, with each press story despite the care being exercised by each newspaper’s legal advisers.

      • Elizabeth

        [public domain] Source: New Zealand Companies Office (Societies and Trusts Online)

        Number: 445237
        Name: THE TRUSTS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION INCORPORATED
        Incorporated: 15-AUG-1989
        Current Status: REGISTERED
        Organisation Type: Charitable Trust
        Previous Names:
        COMMUNITY GRANTS FOUNDATION INCORPORATED – 06-JUL-2004 (Date Changed)
        THE LICENSING TRUSTS CHARITABLE FOUNDATION – 07-MAR-2000 (Date Changed)
        Address Details:
        Registered Office – 25 Traford Street, Gore
        Address for Communication – PO BOX 43, Gore 9740
        Officers/Trustees: Details of officers/trustees have not been provided. This information is optional.

        —-

        [public domain] Source: New Zealand Companies Office

        THE TRUSTS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION LIMITED (2338151)
        Incorporation Date: 16 Oct 2009
        Company Status: Registered
        Entity type: NZ Limited Company
        Company Addresses:
        Registered Office – Izard Weston, Level 13, 89 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand
        Address for service – Izard Weston, Level 13, 89 The Terrace, Wellington, New Zealand

        Directors: Showing 5 of 5 directors

        Murray ACKLIN
        Residential Address: 28 Evergreen Place, Sunshine Bay, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 16 Oct 2009

        Ross Ian CLOW
        Residential Address: 376 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Waitakere 0604, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 22 Oct 2009

        Warren William FLAUNTY
        Residential Address: 86 Red Hills Road, Rd 2, Henderson 0782, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 22 Oct 2009

        Malcolm MCELREA
        Residential Address: 70 Scott Road, Rd 1, Milton 9291, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 16 Oct 2009

        Ronald James TURNER
        Residential Address: 14 Angell Street, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 16 Oct 2009

        Total Number of Shares: 60
        Extensive Shareholding: No
        Shareholders in Allocation:

        Allocation 1:
        12 shares – Murray ACKLIN
        Evergreen Lodge, 28 Evergreen Place, Sunshine Bay, Queenstown

        Allocation 2:
        12 shares – Ronald James TURNER
        14 Angell Street, Johnsonville, Wellington

        Allocation 3:
        12 shares – Malcolm MCELREA
        Sunnyside, 70 Scott Road, Milton

        Allocation 4:
        12 shares – Ross Ian CLOW
        376 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, New Zealand

        Allocation 5:
        12 shares – Warren William FLAUNTY
        86 Red Hills Road, Rd 2, Henderson, New Zealand

        THE STERLING FOUNDATION LIMITED (2257234)
        Previous Names:
        THE TRUSTS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION LIMITED (07 Oct 2009)
        THE STERLING FOUNDATION LIMITED (07 Sep 2009)
        Incorporation Date: 11 Jun 2009
        Company Status: Struck off
        Registered from 11 Jun 2009 to 21 Jun 2010
        Company Addresses:
        Registered Office – Mataura Licensing Trust, 25 Trafford Street, Gore 9710, New Zealand
        Address for service – Mataura Licensing Trust, 25 Trafford Street, Gore 9710, New Zealand

        Directors: Showing 3 of 3 directors

        Murray ACKLIN
        Residential Address: Evergreen Lodge, 28 Evergreen Place, Sunshine Bay, Queenstown
        Appointment Date: 11 Jun 2009

        Malcolm MCELREA
        Residential Address: Sunnyside, 70 Scott Road, Milton
        Appointment Date: 11 Jun 2009

        Ronald James TURNER
        Residential Address: 14 Angell Street, Johnsonville, Wellington 6037, New Zealand
        Appointment Date: 11 Jun 2009

        Total Number of Shares: 60
        Extensive Shareholding: No
        Shareholders in Allocation:

        Allocation 1:
        20 shares – Ronald James TURNER
        14 Angell Street, Johnsonville, Wellington

        Allocation 2:
        20 shares – Murray ACKLIN
        Evergreen Lodge, 28 Evergreen Place, Sunshine Bay, Queenstown

        Allocation 3:
        20 shares – Malcolm MCELREA
        Sunnyside, 70 Scott Road, Milton

  8. Russell Garbutt

    Certainly that little DIA document throws up some very interesting facts – just who for instance was this person that ran up a bill charged to TTCF that included the infamous $19.95 bill for videos at Sky City. Wasn’t that something that Shane Jones got caught for? Booze and porn movies? All coming out of pokie machines. No doubt about it, there are some people that should be hanging their heads in shame but these people are made of the same stuff that see no issues in white collar crime. Roll on the day when they are inside looking out.

  9. ormk

    This all makes shocking reading. Have there been any comments from community representatives in South Auckland?

  10. Calvin Oaten

    The revealed 2009 audit report confirms again the ‘awful culture of entitlement’ that exists with these people who manage to get themselves onto all of these ‘gravy trains’. Interesting to note that it appears nothing has changed in the nearly 3 years since. There is no shame with these evil people, and the fact that our DCC is getting into bed with the ORFU (which is equally complicit) irks me. It ought to have people shouting from the rooftops if they only knew the state of affairs. In a word, “Disgusting”.

  11. ormk

    South Auckland is a low decile area and also has a disproportionately high Maori population. It is these people’s money that appears to have been defrauded. This money should have been spent on charitably supporting the community. Consequently I wonder if the DIA’s failure to investigate and the DCC’s collusion with the ORFU constitute a failure in their Treaty obligations.

    • Elizabeth

      DIA gutless wonders to the fore…. More stuff under the rug….

      “The successful end to negotiations shows the Department is prepared to be flexible in order to maximise benefits for the community.” -Debbie Despard

      ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 19:41 17/07/2012
      Pokies operator failed to pay $561,482
      By Stacey Kirk
      A gaming machine operator has been ordered to turn off its pokies after an audit revealed it had not handed out enough of it profits to charity. The Department of Internal Affairs has ordered Grassroots Trust, which operates in 21 pubs across the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Auckland, to shut down its machines for 16 days after it failed to distribute more than half a million dollars to charity. Internal Affairs gambling compliance director Debbie Despard said Grassroots was sanctioned for breaches from the financial year ending March 2010. Those were failing to distribute a minimum of 37.12 per cent of gaming machine proceeds to “authorised purposes” – a shortfall of $561,482, and overpaying venue expenses by $79,359. It is the harshest penalty ever placed on a gambling trust, but Internal Affairs said it could have been worse.
      Read more

      http://www.grassrootstrust.co.nz/ [read the suspension notice]

      ****

      ### stuff.co.nz Last updated 13:00 12/07/2012
      Licences pulled, pokies remain
      By Bill Moore – Nelson Mail
      Two gaming trusts are continuing to operate poker machines in Nelson despite cancelled licences, raising the ire of the anti-pokie Nelson Gambling Policy Taskforce. The Trillian Trust has nine pokies in Brewers Bar at Victory Square. Last year the taskforce went to the High Court and won a ruling that the Nelson City Council erred in the way it changed its gambling policy to allow the machines back into the square, and on November 30 the Department of Internal Affairs cancelled the licence for Brewers Bar. The trust lodged an appeal, and the Department of Internal Affairs confirmed yesterday that the appeal process was still incomplete, allowing the trust to keep the machines running. Now Internal Affairs has cancelled the licence of Blenheim-based Bluegrass Trust, which has 18 pokies in Nelson’s Hardy’s Bar, housed in a building in Hardy St in which Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio has an ownership interest. Bluegrass has a total of 117 machines around the country. The department’s secretary, Colin MacDonald, said he cancelled the licence because he could not be satisfied that the gaming machine society was meeting its obligations under the Gambling Act.
      Read more

      ****

      National Business Review (NBR) has a pay-to-view story by Blair Cunningham – Tuesday July 17, 2012
      Stiassny’s Racing Board faces damages claim in ‘pokie pub fraud’ case (link)

      • Elizabeth

        By now, visitors to What if? Dunedin… will be fairly clear about the scale of the problem that exists around DCC and ORFU – and the amount of dodgy money involved.

        The DCC bailout of ORFU involves that dodgy money – then too, the bailout draws attention to substantial ratepayer funds, assorted council services and other resources that for many years DCC has made over to ORFU (professional rugby), seemingly without end.

        More than one colleague has said that [to paraphrase] defamation is a common tactic used by ‘white collar criminals’ to take attention away from the books of those organisations that are involved in covert dealings and gaming rorts. The actions of Mains and Graham then are a continuation of the nationwide pattern. Hell, it’s a small country – use the (rugby) formula that works, nudge.

        Where Mayor Cull decides to sit in regards to ‘negotiated settlement’ with the two former ORFU boardsmen will be the mark of his own obsequiousness and the distance he strays from public good. He will be massaged to a joint statement, the lid of confidentiality screwed hard down, to protect both ORFU and DCC. The lawyers and the DCC’s new $5m communications unit (the spooks) will see to it. Toitu.

        The rent and rate paying public (those unfamiliar with local government activity and politics) will snooze like sheep under a macrocarpa, not long for the works – benignly betrayed. Notwithstanding, they’ll each pay for their last glass of Dunedin water and a stadium, before they snuff it.

        Wake up your friends and families.

      • Elizabeth

        Updated comment
        This story (see link) was published in the ODT print edition on Saturday 28 July; it didn’t appear at ODT Online until the next day.

        ### ODT Online Sun, 29 Jul 2012
        Southern racing clubs got Bluegrass cash
        By Hamish McNeilly
        A pokies trust recently stripped of its gambling licence has pumped more than $2 million into southern racing clubs over a two-year period despite having no gambling venues in Otago or Southland. Of the $30 million in pokie grants distributed in Otago/Southland between April 2010 and March 2012, $5.3 million (18%) was granted to the southern racing industry. This was followed by grants for sport stadiums $3.3 million (11%), and community groups $3.16 million (10%), the figures from the Problem Gambling Foundation show. The biggest gaming funder of the southern racing industry was the Bluegrass Trust, which despite having no pokie venues in Otago and Southland granted $2.167 million to local racing clubs.

        Earlier this month, the trust’s gambling operator licence was cancelled by Internal Affairs, as the department’s secretary was not satisfied it could meet its obligations under the Gambling Act (2003). An Internal Affairs spokesman said the decision to cancel the trusts’s licence came after it was found it supplied false or misleading information about three trotting club loans used to establish the trust. A key person involved in the trust was also found to be “unsuitable because of his previous poor compliance with the Gambling Act”. The person involved, Mike O’Brien, is expected to appear in court next month. The trust was also found to have received funds, with conditions attached, from grant recipients.

        The department declined to provide further details.
        Read more

  12. Martin Legge

    Debbie Despard, Gambling Compliance Manager of DIA, reckons she has negotiated a great outcome for the community by dropping all action against Grassroots Trust of Hamilton on the condition it now returns a minimum of 40% of its profits to the community, a measly 2.88% above the minimum requirement of 37.12%. No doubt this will be done by dropping its costs, including the overpayments to the pubs, service providers, trustees and lawyers.

    Well done Ms Despard, you and your team have successfully negotiated for the Grassroots Trust and its trustees to do exactly what they already have a legal and fiduciary obligation to do – maximise the returns to the community by minimising costs. The only difference here is that they had to be dragged kicking and screaming through the courts before they would succumb to such an onerous task.

    The deal for the community gets even better because based on Grassroots current grants (approx $1.2 million per annum) it will take about 16 years for the community to recover the $561,000 shortfall which of course excludes interest or penalty payments.

    Your “good news” story also fails to tell the community whether DIA have or intend recovery of any money because the trustees all look like they could afford it.

    You are completely out of touch with the current mood and continue to be the whipping boys for pokie trusts!!!!

  13. Amanda

    Yes, Elizabeth. It is interesting how many seem to be awake to the threat to our national assets but not aware that local stakeholders are eying up local assets with glee. We got to pay for the stadium stakeholders wanted, somehow right? Why not let these individuals have their full glut of the city and buy up our assets? Cull and Greater Dunedin are asleep and seemingly couldn’t care less, and the stadium councillors knew this was the end game all along and this is how they were always going to pay the stadium debt; with water. Are people really going to sit by as they sell our assets to pay for Farry’s stadium debt?

  14. Martin Legge

    The $561,000 loss of community funds just got bigger because I didn’t factor in the affect of the 16 day suspension that DIA are heralding as a serious warning to the industry.

    Ms Despard also doesn’t tell the community that by switching off the pokie machines for 16 days, the only people being punished are the community.

    During this period no community funds will be generated but the huge costs associated with running the trust, including payments to trustees, contractors, lawyers and possibly even the pub owners will continue to be drawn from the coffers. The DIA deal assures there is little or no financial consequence for those responsible.

    But never fear – the community are in good hands because (Sunday Star Times article dated 20.5.12 “Greens see red at pokies swerve”) revealed that DIA spent $30,000 sending three of its Senior Managers to a course in Australia described as “leading edge professional development”, a course designed to enhance investigation and negotiation skills of Government Regulators. Ms Debbie Despard was one of those that attended.

  15. Russell Garbutt

    I thought it ironic that in today’s Oddity that first picture in the regular photographic roundup of local events – a cheap way of filling a whole page – was a smiling picture of Murray Acklin at some racing event in Cromwell. This coot – described on racing webpages very accurately, has been using his luxury Qtown lodge as the financial vehicle by which he travels the country signing up venues to TTCF at a basic cost of something approaching half a million extracted from pokie funds. What a lovely character. What a shining example to our community. What a wonderful asset to the Qtown community of like-minded people. We can do with more people like him dedicated to the well-being of so many people. I really do think that we should be convincing those in Government that someone like him – and similar community minded souls like St Farry of St Clair – should be elevated to higher honours and maybe be delivered from the burden of stupid things like taxes so they can contribute to the trickle down effect that their wealth no doubt generates. Unless I’ve got it wrong of course.

  16. Calvin Oaten

    I bet if you looked at his thumbnail, you would find it seriously stained with plum juice

  17. Martin Legge

    Let’s not forget there were at least 4 other prominent trustees on the TTCF Board and a General Manager, Warwick Hodder, who knew the deal between TTCF, ORFU and the Jokers pubs. It’s contained in my 9000 word statement supported by documents and the more than obvious flow of money from South Auckland pubs to Otago. It’s not rocket science for anyone except DIA.

    Mr Acklin was not legally permitted to be the sole decision maker behind the $6-7 million in grants approved to ORFU and Racing interests but he was the contact between the groups and the trustee who controlled the Jokers budgets. He was also part of the grants committee whose decisions still required full TTCF board sign-off.

    When new trustees were elected to the TTCF Board, they would inevitably question the abnormal flow of money from South Auckland to Otago and it was always the eloquent and persuasive Mr Acklin, ably supported by other longstanding Trustees that would talk them around. One particular Trustee did not feel comfortable with this situation (although not uncomfortable enough to report it to DIA or resign) and voted against the grants, knowing that they would still go through but that he had covered his role. Mr Acklin’s spiel was always that if TTCF trustees didn’t approve grants in accordance with the wishes of ORFU and racing interests then TTCF would lose those bars to another pokie trust.

    Sadly, that is how the whole industry has worked since day one, the reason why the Gambling Act 2003 was introduced and why DIA were given wide powers, plenty of resources and a statutory obligation to act decisively and “satisfy” itself when issuing licenses – although since the Act, very little has changed and trusts have just got more “lawyered up” and clever with how they dupe DIA and the community.

  18. Elizabeth

    ### nzherald.co.nz Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:00
    Pubs take knock in Grassroots penalty
    Gaming machines operated by Grassroots Trust in 21 Waikato and Bay of Plenty pubs will shut down for 16 days after the society failed to comply with gambling laws. The penalty is the most severe suspension a class 4 gambling society has faced. Internal Affairs’ gambling compliance director Debbie Despard says Grassroots was sanctioned for breaches in the financial year ending March 2010 – failing to distribute a minimum of 37.12 per cent of gaming machine proceeds to authorised purposes, a shortfall of $561,482 and overpaying venue expenses by $79,359.
    Read more

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