“People have not been shy about what is going on. It is the trusts that are doing the dicey stuff.” -Te Ururoa Flavell
### nzherald.co.nz 5:30 AM Tuesday Jul 24, 2012
MP keeps heat on pokie trusts
By David Fisher
Pokie trusts are lining up to return greater cash payments to the community as proposed new gaming legislation puts the entire industry under threat. Cuts are anticipated to the trustee payments with the amount spent on administration also expected to drop. The trusts have to return a minimum 37.12 per cent of their income to the community, with a handful providing as much as 63 per cent. But Department of Internal Affairs figures show many fail to rise much above the legal minimum return.
Select committee hearings are expected this year on proposed legislation put forward by Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell. His proposed bill would dismantle gaming trusts, put councils in charge of distributing grants and require 80 per cent of money to go back to the community.
Mr Flavell said the publicity around the proposed bill had led to a great deal of information about their operation being sent to him. He said there were trusts distributing pokie proceeds which observed the rules but others “would hang themselves on how they operate”.
(this one should be hurting DIA and Martin Quivooy)
14.7.12 NZ Herald – Watchdog: Pokie checks not up to mark
15.7.12 Martin Legge responds to media stories on Murray Acklin, TTCF and DIA
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
One response to “Mention in NZ Herald dispatches: TTCF and friends ORFU”
The full article has TTCF Chairman, Ross Clow claiming the new TTCF structure has reduced costs. What he has failed to tell readers is that the former structure returned in excess of 50% to the community for many years. That was in the time before TTCF began paying $600k per annum to a private company (TTCF West Auckland Ltd), a company purposely set up by the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts, and of which Mr Clow and Warren Flaunty were Directors.
Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts are TTCF’s biggest and most powerful pub operators and despite already receiving $$millions per annum for hosting TTCF pokie machines at those bars, they demanded more from TTCF. This company was simply a means by which the licensing trusts transferred a large proportion of its own commercial staff and office costs off the balance sheet of their liquor business on to the balance sheet of a pokie trust (TTCF) who would use community funds to make the payments. It made the bottom line of a liquor business look better than it was.
In 2006 DIA warned TTCF against the costs but TTCF went ahead and did it anyway. After waiting 2.5 years before acting, DIA launched a 6 month long investigation into TTCF and the outcome was that just as they had warned, the costs associated with the Company were not actual, reasonable or necessary, and simply a duplication of services and a means to mislead the West Auckland Community into believing the grants were all coming from the licensing trusts.
TTCF stopped the payments and had the company and its services removed but not before the company issued the threat of legal action against TTCF for the loss. In another twist, Mr Clow and Mr Flaunty were also trustees of TTCF so you one can see the potential for conflicts of interest that existed over this period. The Company has been liquidated.
What’s also intriguing here is that the then Chairman of TTCF, Mr Malcolm McElrea was engaging with DIA Investigators, enlisting their assistance to act against Mr Clow and Mr Flaunty and the demands placed on them by the powerful Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts. He and two other members of the TTCF Board had been pressured to make these payments and did not know what TTCF was getting for the money, but felt powerless to stop it or disagree with it. They were hoping DIA would do their dirty work.
Even TTCF’s current CEO, Warwick Hodder, is quoted as saying the West Auckland office was adding no value to TTCF but was simply a means of offsetting the Licensing Trusts own commercial wage bill and that TTCF had had a gun held to its head by its biggest pub operator.
What has DIA done regarding this matter – NOTHING !!! – no prosecution, no gambling commission action, no licensing action and no recovery of the money from the owners or directors of the company (the licensing trusts). To the contrary, months later DIA rewarded them all by licensing the same individuals into a new pokie trust (TTCF Ltd) – no questions asked.
Mr Clow and other Licensing Trusts throughout NZ now all want the community and Politicians to believe that because they are publicly elected to run the liquor business in an area, that they are fit to run a fair and transparent pokie trust model. Ask yourself !!.