Ombudsman assists release of CST file information

Media Release 7 September 2012
By Bev Butler

Fourteen month fight to expose CST Marketing Contract Fiasco

New DVML CEO Darren Burden Signatory – raises question is he really best person for the job?

It has taken fourteen months but Malcolm Farry, chairman of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST), has finally released information to the Dunedin City Council (DCC) revealing further serious shortcomings in the competence of the CST and the last council. The release of these papers has been rigorously resisted by Malcolm Farry and he only agreed when it was made clear to him that under section 30 of the Ombudsmen Act he could be prosecuted for obstructing the release of official information.

The papers reveal the CST contracted an Auckland company, The Marketing Bureau Ltd (TMB) to raise private funds for the construction of the new rugby stadium. The CST agreed to pay:

● the Director/Manager and shareholder of TMB, Brian Meredith a $15,000 monthly retainer;
● another TMB employee a $5,000 monthly retainer;
● additional claims for “expenses” of approximately $5,000 per month;
● further claims of extra monthly work charged out at $350 per hour totalling an additional $5,000;
● a 2% commission on any private funding raised.

The amount paid out to The Marketing Bureau Ltd came close to half a million dollars.

However, the payments to The Marketing Bureau Ltd continued when the CST decided to terminate the contract thus opening up the CST to a termination payment of $222,187. This payment was approved by the CST Board and signed by Malcolm Farry, chairman, after legal advice for closing the deal was received from Farry and Co. Barristers and Solicitors.

The Marketing Bureau Ltd thus received a total of $652,809 and the question then arises just what have the DCC ratepayers received for this princely sum? It appears that “a few” reports were written suggesting uses for the new rugby stadium including papal visits, Royal Tours, major stock auctions, and Highland Tattoos as examples. Brian Meredith also reported that naming rights to the new stadium were worth “over $10m” when reality tells us all that Forsyth Barr not only paid a small fraction of this amount but only started making their first monthly payments in September 2011 after inferring in January 2009 that they had paid up front with a substantial amount.

But it is the failure of The Marketing Bureau Ltd in raising genuine private funding that reinforces the findings of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. DCC ratepayers were consistently told that $45m would be raised by the private sector for construction. This simply didn’t happen, and as the PwC report confirmed, advance money for services is nothing other than advance revenue and just over half a million was used for private construction.

Ratepayers were consistently told that they would be liable for $91.4m for construction, but sadly for Dunedin’s sake this figure was woefully inaccurate with ratepayers being liable for $170m.

The Carisbrook Stadium Trust was acting as an agent for the DCC in this project and ratepayers were told that the Board and its Chair in particular, were “sweating over every dollar spent”. However, it seems that the CST entered into a contract which ended up costing over $650,000 for little or no benefit, and equally it seemed that the previous CEO of the DCC, Jim Harland, approved these payments to The Marketing Bureau Ltd while being party at all times to their outputs.

Read in conjunction with the full PwC report on stadium construction, these papers reveal a sorry level of business competence from the person that signed off the contract, newly announced CEO of DVML Darren Burden, the Board of the CST, the previous CEO of the DCC, Jim Harland and those City Councillors of the last Council who were determined not to ask any questions.

Further information available on request:
1. Letter from DCC cc to Ombudsman
2. TMB contract signed by Darren Burden
3. Invoice from Anderson Lloyd
4. Invoice from Farry & Co Barristers and solicitors
5. Letter relating to the settlement paid to TMB and associated invoice
6. Original LGOIMA Request
7. Settlement invoice
8. Invoices from the TMB signed by Malcolm Farry
9. Spreadsheet summary of TMB invoices
10. TMB report dated Dec 2007

Note:
1. DVML – Dunedin Venues Management Ltd
2. CST trustees are: Malcolm Farry (Chair), Eion Edgar, Kereyn Smith, Ron Anderson, Bill Baylis, Stewart Barnett, John Ward

[ends]

TMB/CST contract which the CST board approved and Darren Burden signed (with no legal advice) leaving Dunedin ratepayers exposed to hefty payments. S042000033_1208221011000  
(PDF, 647 KB)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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77 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DVML, Economics, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

77 responses to “Ombudsman assists release of CST file information

  1. Elizabeth

    There’s no good time to raise the truth, may be the story with Mayor Cull.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 7 Sep 2012
    Timing of claims infuriates mayor
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has accused anti-stadium campaigner Bev Butler of “descending to personality attacks” while running a smear campaign against the next boss of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Ms Butler yesterday publicly questioned the “business competence” of Darren Burden, who was this week named as the next chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd. Her criticism was based on a contract he signed in 2007, when chief executive of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, with Auckland-based marketing company The Marketing Bureau.
    Read more

    [Bev Butler] confirmed she had the figures by June last year, but sought further information – including a copy of the company’s CST contract – before going public. That information was only released late last month, and took time to collate, and there was no connection between Mr Burden’s appointment and her revelations, she insisted.

    • Elizabeth

      FYI, this is what the ODT omitted from the press release (in italics) – it’s the newspaper’s choice, however, and readers may draw their own conclusions.

      PRESS RELEASE

      FOURTEEN MONTH FIGHT TO EXPOSE CST MARKETING CONTRACT FIASCO

      NEW DVML CEO DARREN BURDEN SIGNATORY – raises question is he really best person for the job?

      It has taken fourteen months but Mr Malcolm Farry, Chair of CST, has finally released information to the DCC revealing further serious shortcomings in the competence of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust and the last Dunedin City Council. The release of these papers has been rigorously resisted by CST Chairman, Malcolm Farry and he only agreed when it was made clear to him that under section 30 of the Ombudsmen Act he could be prosecuted for obstructing the release of official information.

      The papers reveal The Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) contracted an Auckland company, The Marketing Bureau Ltd (TMB) to raise private funds for the construction of the new rugby stadium. The CST agreed to pay:

      ● the Director/Manager and shareholder of TMB, Brian Meredith a $15,000 monthly retainer;
      ● another TMB employee a $5,000 monthly retainer;
      ● additional claims for “expenses” of approximately $5,000 per month;
      ● further claims of extra monthly work charged out at $350 per hour totalling an additional $5,000;

      ● a 2% commission on any private funding raised.

      The amount paid out to The Marketing Bureau Ltd came close to half a million dollars.

      However the payments to The Marketing Bureau Ltd continued when the CST decided to terminate the contract thus opening up the CST to a termination payment of $222,187. This payment was approved by the CST Board and signed by Malcolm Farry, CST Chair, after legal advice for closing the deal was received from Farry and Co. Barristers and Solicitors.

      The Marketing Bureau Ltd thus received a total of $652,809 and the question then arises just what have the DCC ratepayers received for this princely sum? It appears that “a few” reports were written suggesting uses for the new rugby stadium including papal visits, Royal Tours, major stock auctions, and Highland Tattoos as examples. Brian Meredith also reported that naming rights to the new stadium were worth “over $10m” when reality tells us all that Forsyth Barr not only paid a small fraction of this amount but only started making their first monthly payments in September 2011 after inferring in January 2009 that they had paid up front with a substantial amount.

      But it is the failure of The Marketing Bureau Ltd in raising genuine private funding that reinforces the findings of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report. DCC ratepayers were consistently told that $45m would be raised by the private sector for construction. This simply didn’t happen, and as the PwC report confirmed, advance money for services is nothing other than advance revenue and just over half a million was used for private construction.

      Ratepayers were consistently told that they would be liable for $91.4m for construction, but sadly for Dunedin’s sake this figure was woefully inaccurate with ratepayers being liable for $170m.

      The Carisbrook Stadium Trust was acting as an agent for the DCC in this project and ratepayers were told that the Board and its Chair in particular, were “sweating over every dollar spent”. However it seems that the CST entered into a contract which ended up costing over $650,000 for little or no benefit, and equally it seemed that the previous CEO of the DCC, Jim Harland, approved these payments to The Marketing Bureau Ltd while being party at all times to their outputs.

      Read in conjunction with the full PwC report on stadium construction, these papers reveal a sorry level of business competence from the person that signed off the contract, newly announced CEO of DVML Darren Burden, the Board of the CST, the previous CEO of the DCC, Jim Harland and those City Councillors of the last Council who were determined not to ask any questions.

  2. ormk

    Thanks Bev for the commitment you have shown to this work. For now the people who have ripped our community off are soldiering on but their corruption is now as clear as the Emperor’s New Clothes.

  3. Peter

    The CST agreed to pay:

    ● the Director/Manager and shareholder of TMB, Brian Meredith a $15,000 monthly retainer;
    ● another TMB employee a $5,000 monthly retainer;
    ● additional claims for “expenses” of approximately $5,000 per month;
    ● further claims of extra monthly work charged out at $350 per hour totalling an additional $5,000;

    This is but one an example of the juice that the ODT ‘report’ squeezed out of the orange…oh, yes, in the in the context of ‘summarising’ the facts by just giving the total figure. Space, in a very thin paper, seems to be a problem for them. As if.
    A journalist/newspaper should treasure their credibility and report the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Once credibility dries up it is very difficult to restore. The ODT runs the real risk of substantial news sources drying up till they are only left with the pap. They can’t afford to do this now they have lost access to other generated news agencies like NZPA. At the moment, the paper looks to be on a downward spiral. We don’t get it anymore as it has become so scrappy. Just looking online, for now, till it picks up.

  4. Hype O'Thermia

    Funny the choices people make. When I fwd’d the story from here to some people I thought probably wouldn’t have been checking this site the part I chose to whet their interest in clicking and reading the whole story was “The release of these papers has been rigorously resisted by CST Chairman, Malcolm Farry and he only agreed when it was made clear to him that under section 30 of the Ombudsmen Act he could be prosecuted for obstructing the release of official information.”
    Because really, it’s so funny-peculiar & haha.
    I guess it’s oldfashioned yearning for the appearance of respectability, irrespective. Name in paper, news & social sections – good. Name in paper, court reports, prosecutions – bad. Post Bain, McDonald and so on even “not guilty” leaves the public with a whiff of skidmarks on the reputational undergarments.

  5. So does the $600ishK price include the 2% on $23m? $460,000 going by that paperwork.

  6. And was the $222,000 termination on top? That’s how it reads to me anyway.

  7. ormk

    Interesting one….wonder how the contract was worded. Does that mean some Auckland company gets 2% of ticket sales that some shifty guys down here passed off as private fundraising to a corrupt council?

  8. amanda

    Thank-you Bev. Thank-you for your gutsiness and determination. Mayor Cull? Please do us all a favour. Step down at next year’s election. You clearly have the back of the stakeholders and rugby fat cats in this town and are happy to turn your back on Dunedin people who do not have a direct line to ratefunds. Your attack on Bev for ‘personally’ attacking yourself and stadium benefactors is clearly attempting to deflect from your poor political performance and lack of holding stadium incompetents accountable for the economic disaster they have created.

  9. amanda

    It is obscene that Burden is able to benefit from his incompetence. He was pushing the poor business model for the stadium from the beginning and now he gets to swan into Davies’ position and take up a nice quarter of a million salary? He has shown he does not have a business mind. Newsflash, the stadium is not making any profit, it’s draining the city in fact, and this individual, Burden, is responsible for that. So someone who got the city in this financial nightmare is supposed to get us out? Burden is part of the problem, not the solution. Pathetic.

  10. amanda

    Just like Crs Hudson, Noone, Brown and mates, the original stadium supporters want us all to forget their hand in the present debt the city has. You can see why, it could make it awkward to take lucrative positions or be re-elected next year (for the councillors). They want to rewrite history. Soon Cr Noone, Hudson and Brown, and business geniuses like Farry, Burden and co, will tell us all they were always against the stadium build. They never wanted it, see? No-one can remember who it was that was for the build.

  11. amanda

    “…Ratepayers were consistently told that they would be liable for $91.4m for construction, but sadly for Dunedin’s sake this figure was woefully inaccurate with ratepayers being liable for $170m…” Heads must roll. Politicians (I’m looking at you Crs Acklin, Noone, Brown et al), ‘businessmen’, and stakeholders. Accountability is the only way forward for the city. Otherwise we will have the people who created the debt trying to get us out of it, and they simply are not capable.

    • Elizabeth

      The farce, in light of all revelations, remains the name:
      “Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust” (CST)

      aka Help Own Pockets Limited

  12. Russell Garbutt

    Interestingly I sent a post to the ODT consisting of one short sentence asking them to publish the press release. No smart comments, no sarcasm, nothing other than a request to do something on their online post. It has not been published – wonder why?

  13. Phil

    If you read the original CST proposal to Council, knowing now what we know today, you can see that CST always intended to use to pre-sale of seating as their Private Sector funding. It doesn’t come right out and say it, but there is a quote which is a bit vague until you realise that they are talking about the seating. Then the section makes sense. This plan was later confirmed directly by Malcolm himself in an ODT interview as always being the plan for private funding. In that respect, I don’t blame the marketing company for selling seats as part of their private sector funding contract, as that was specifically part of their brief from CST. This is primarily CST’s fault, and the fault of the Council of the day who either agreed with the proposal or signed off on something which they didn’t understand. Either way, they (and I’m looking directly at the “publicly outraged” Mayor Cull) can’t claim to be a victim.

  14. ormk

    I’d be interested in knowing what if anything was paid to the company in respect of the 2% commission. We know that there was no private fundraising whatsoever. Section 5.1.2 of the contract posted above includes only monies, “free and unencumbered of any contingent factors”. It is hard to imagine anything more contingent than the seat sale hogwash.

  15. Peter

    Russell. The simple answer is that Mr Farry, and his ilk, wouldn’t like it.
    Do you all remember the early ODT news story, following on from the Sunday Star Times story, on John Farry’s conflict of interest as Chairman of the Otago Community Trust where he didn’t initially declare his land parcel at the stadium site and had to do so afterwards. Headline next day? ‘Farry Hits Back at Critics’. Same with the Piss Off Story where Guy Hedderwick accidentally sent an email to his boss Ewan Soper, ‘At what point do I tell her to piss off’? ODT story, following on from SST story, had a different slant where Bev was portrayed as a nuisance instead of someone seeking answers to questions concerned about private funding not being for construction but for revenue. This of course has now been confirmed in the PwC report.
    Today’s story is of the same poor calibre. The ODT instantly seeks justification from those who have done wrong so as to try and clear them.

  16. Phil

    Reading from TMB’s website, it seems clear that they were directly instructed to sell seating packages as Private Sector Funding as a part of their brief by their client, CST.
    “Working for the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, our work began well before the Public Sector Funding was committed by the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council and initially involved significant work in developing and submitting Objectives, Strategies and Plans to both the Trust and its Stakeholders. The assignment also included the design and development of membership, seating and corporate sponsorship products and the launching and marketing of those products to both regional and national target markets.”
    Speaking of TMB’s website, I was interested to note how the company shows up on Google search engine. Aside from the recent ODT link, the first 10 pages of Google Search refer directly to TMB’s website, and to articles of all shapes and sizes. Some relevant, others a little sketchy in their relevancy. Maybe not so unusual, but one would expect to see the company name appear on other weblinks as well, not just those linking directly to themselves. Clients, media reports, and the like. Hardly any of that appears. That interested me as I have seen this done before when people or a company are trying to hide unwanted online information about themselves. They load up masses of articles onto their server and link all those loaded pages to Google. They flood the search engine and the undesirable information on someone else’s website suddenly disappears to the bottom of the pile, 30 pages down the search engine list where no-one bothers to look. A little Conspiracy Theoryish maybe, but interesting none the less.

    http://themarketingbureau.co.nz/case-study/forsyth-barr-stadium-at-university-plaza

    {Links added. -Eds}

  17. Elizabeth

    What if? Dunedin… is experiencing high view numbers today. Thanks to all contributors across the threads, including those providing post material to stimulate discussion. Grateful :)

  18. Calvin Oaten

    The TMB ‘promo’ gives the lie of the matter in its third paragraph.

    “The existing facility at Carisbrook is beyond economic development and, notwithstanding this, would offer none of the potential of the new stadium, either to its’[sic] existing tenants and users or the wide range of potential tenants and users that can be attracted to Awatea Street.”

    The fact is that ‘Carisbrook’ was the property of the ORFU and the DCC had no other interest in it other than as a source of rates and a security for a debt of some $ 2million owed by the ORFU to the DCC. It was a purpose built rugby/cricket arena, fullstop. The fact that it had been served notice as being unsuitable for ‘A’ grade tests was again, rugby’s problem. It was not by any means an insurmountable task to bring it up to standard, and again, that was rugby’s problem. That the ORFU was ‘insolvent’ was no reason why the NZRFU should not have come to the party and underwritten the funding of an upgrade. After all, it was in their interests that this be done. Why the DCC in a irrational move got involved is the question which has never been satisfactorily explained. It was a hi-jack, plain and simple. The public have been lied to, deceived with false information, and details fundamentally incorrect, posted in successive Long Term Annual Plans. Mayor Dave Cull might well ponder on some of these aspects rather than castigate members of the public who expose some of these flagrant anomalies. In fact, by doing so he demonstrates a serious lack of appreciation of the true situation, which poses serious risks to the financial fortunes of the city of Dunedin. Why does he do this? Good question. Could it be that he fears the consequences of his and his fellow councillors being seen for the incompetent lot that they are. In a word, if you bully the opposition and pray for time, it might just all go away. Fat chance.

  19. Peter

    Calvin. I think the incompetence of the past council and the present one (barring a very small handful of capable people there) is already plain to see. Cull is flailing in his mayoralty. In the case of the defamation case, he showed some rare mettle in what he said only to now come out with the kind of comments he made on Bev’s Official Information requests on The Marketing Bureau. He deliberately deflected, from what was shockingly apparent there, into a tirade against the messenger. (Aided and abetted of course by the Tartan Mafia Mouthpiece.) Cull is showing signs of strain. He has no compass. He doesn’t know what way to turn with all the problems he and the council face with mounting stadium and other debt. I’d have more sympathy for him if he let the truth come out and didn’t try to bully those who want to set the culprits for this debacle, packing. He is now isolated from the larger community who don’t know what he stands for anymore.

  20. Lindsay

    “However, the situation changed after the Otago Daily Times began asking questions yesterday.” (Stadium dispute settled, ODT 8-9-12)

    Are we to take this as a new editorial policy?

    {Link added. -Eds}

  21. Anonymous

    It’s a story of David Davies and Guy Hedderwick trying to shaft their remaining loyal supporters over the wants of a rugby corporation (the supporters probably won’t see the irony in that). They hoped nobody would notice and quickly backed down when the media came knocking.

    But it would still have been a soft knock on the stadium door. Probably quietly ignored or relegated to Monday if Andrew Carmody and others hadn’t got involved.

  22. Hype O'Thermia

    My guess is that the ORTimes found itself caught between 2 opposing “good friends”, one side being shafted by the others and asking forcefully for media investigation. Advertising revenue isn’t what it used to be. It’s not a good time to ignore smaller fry in the business community.

  23. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, I, like you wonder what has brought about the obvious change of stance of Mayor Dave Cull. When I revisit his remarks to the media in response to Bev’s revelations (they are just that) about the strange manipulations of the CST’s (read ratepayers) finances, one wonders why.

    His vitriolic attack claiming it was “a descent into personality attacks”, then saying “it was a convenient way of trying to smear the the new CEO of DVML”. This all smacks of an arrogance unbecoming of him. First, he didn’t address the contents of the article nor the morality of it. No, a shoot from the hip, no thought, no hesitation.

    I think he has been seduced by the trappings of office, and surrounded by sycophants who feed his ego. When asked for a comment (they always do) he puts his mouth into gear (they always do) and says what first comes into his head. No deliberation, no thought, just “rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb”. It is all a transformation from the plain, serious Dave Cull of yesteryear. I well remember him on the stage at the Town Hall speaking to the “Stop the Stadium” protesters. He was 100% in support then and articulated very well his opinions about the whole project. What has changed? Why does he now dismiss these people as “the anti stadium brigade” when he himself was once a staunch advocate for their cause? Could it be that he has been advised that attack is the best form of defense and the trick is to deflect from the real message? It certainly looks like it as the whole article in the ODT downplayed the importance of the possibly embarrassing revelations. To dismiss it as “old news” is wrong, as this is information which Bev fought for over fourteen months to get. In fact, were it not for the insistence of the office of the “Ombudsmen” it is doubtful it would be there even yet.

    CST chairman Malcolm Farry accuses Bev of using “innuendo, imagination and misinterpretation” to draw “false conclusions”. He goes on, claiming various aspects of her claims were “wrong”, but declined to elaborate.

    Unfortunately, the ODT did not draw attention to the contents of the information release, but rather dwelt on the sensational. It surely erred on the side of the commentators, leaving the messenger in limbo so to speak. A thoroughly poor commentary on what should be considered a serious matter. Namely, the possible defrauding of the citizens treasure.

    In conclusion, I would ask if the real Dave Cull would please stand up?

    • Elizabeth

      No reason to be surprised about mayor Cull’s reaction to Bev Butler’s press release. This is just more of the same, from someone who wasn’t suited to the city’s ‘lead job’ in the first place. Loses the plot when under pressure.

      “Make the stadium work, Dave.” See how far you get.

  24. Hype O'Thermia

    He’s sticking by his pre-election pledge, to spend just enough to make the stadium work. It’s not working so he’s still spending.
    Doing the same thing and expecting a different result, the mark of a genius money-savvy historically-aware statesman, OR ________________. (for 5 points)

  25. Pick me pick me, Miss!!
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    OR a (some sort of) wit.

  26. Anonymous

    How does a legal opinion from Farry & Co to the CST (Malcom Farry, Trustee) represent independent legal advice? Some care needs to be taken there, as any suggestion of a conflict of interest in that precise sense is a major no-no. There must be formal letters of engagement and these letters must note any conflicts of interest.

  27. amanda

    So the ODT only published that Macolm Farry’s cousin [John Farry] owned land where the stadium is now AFTER the Sunday Star Times published this information? That’s interesting isn’t it? Our local newspaper that lauds itself as the ‘voice of the south’ only wants certain voices to be heard and if it annoys The Great and the Good, well then, it is all hush hush. Farry is indeed a smart man to have invested in that land, and Lo! he made many millions on it. That’s what I call doing business.

  28. Hype O'Thermia

    wirehunt – You get the 5 points but I wonder, did you know the correct answer or were you guessing?

  29. Peter

    Calvin. Spot on comments there. This was an appalling piece of grubby ‘journalism’ by Morris, as you say, going for sensationalism instead of cutting to the core of TMB information and asking real questions of those involved with that debacle. He has basically collated the agreed to response by Meredith, Farry, Cull and Burden which are all ‘coincidentally’ saying the same thing about ‘timing’, thereby trying to distract from the Official Information provided by Bev.
    When Morris rang Bev I was in the room. She gave her response about Cull’s comments being ‘strange’ and that he seemed to have ‘made the comments on the run’. Morris reported that bit of her response, but not the part where she pointed out the main issue was TMB information. Morris totally agreed but of course, as we see, he still went ahead giving prominence to the ‘timing’ of the release. As if the timing would ever have been appropriate for them! News stories work on the inverted pyramid where they drop the least important information off the bottom of the story if they need more space for other stories coming in. (Fifth Form English classes are taught this) If you look at Morris’ story the timing issue and responses are evenly spaced and he puts the barest of information out there about TMB instead of putting the focus on it. His choice… and his choice is revealing of where he comes from. This of course is not the first time he has tried this kind of caper. The ODT did actually have some of TMB and other information from Bev months ago and did nothing. The pattern seems to be that they only report when something is in press release form and they know it is being sent to other media.
    Bev has had to deal with a lot of different media over the last number of years and has never had a problem with any of them… except with the ODT. Why? Because the other media sources have been totally professional and trustworthy.

    • Elizabeth

      Editorial can slice through what the news reporter has drafted as his story. I would take a broader view of those responsible for the printed word.

  30. Hype O'Thermia

    Sadsack Dave’s whimper about timing is so lame. If his medium-term memory was still working he’d recall “transparency” (pre-election) and as Mayor being able to seek out information way more easily than Bev Butler can. So who could have released the information at a “better” time?
    Mirror mirror on the wall, Dave!
    Make that 2 on opposite walls for checking both faces.

  31. Peter

    Yes, Elizabeth, this was clearly a team effort. The ODT continually plead their editorial independence, but look at the big boys whom they NEVER criticise… or even mildly challenge. They know there is a lot of information out there which they have no control over to filter and skew through their paper. Thank God for the internet and social media.
    I have come to the conclusion that they are keen to know what information people like Bev and Co have collected so they can run to their masters and mount a defence. Yesterday’s little effort was a cack-handed example of this. The ODT is increasingly isolating itself in the community. It has lost respect because its ethics are not always adhered to.
    They can’t even hold their own Birthday party without a handout from the ratepayers. Makes yesterday’s editorial, finishing on a cautionary note of financial prudence for the council, a sick joke. This is a day after whitewashing a story illustrating the financial imprudence of the CST and the waste of ratepayers’ money.

  32. Peter

    Bev sent ODT the following information (along with other information) on 14 May 2012, nearly 4 months ago. They never contacted her. Strange how they have focused on ‘timing’ when she had already sent the information 4 months ago.

    (a) Check whether the fees paid by the CST to The Marketing Bureau were appropriate for the fees normally commanded by the marketplace. Brian Meredith, manager/director/shareholder was paid a monthly retainer of $15,000, plus a monthly retainer for his offsider of $5000, plus approximately $5000 monthly in expenses, plus some months claims of $350/per hour. Over a period of less than two years The Marketing Bureau was paid $652,809 (incl GST) which included a $222,187.50 (incl GST) final payout in August 2009. The law firm contracted to do the legals was Farry & Co. Note: Richard Farry, senior partner in this law firm is the brother of Malcolm Farry. I have the invoices and have prepared a spreadsheet summarising all the money paid out. (Available upon request).

    (b) Check all the invoices and receipts produced by The Marketing Bureau.

    (c) Check The Marketing Bureau contract? Mr Malcolm Farry has been most reluctant to hand over this information. Who drew up the contract? What law firm was involved? Check for conflicts of interest involved. Mr Malcolm Farry, Chair of the CST is the brother of Mr Richard Farry, senior partner of the law firm Farry & Co.

    (d) I understand Mr Malcolm Farry wanted to take The Marketing Bureau to court but his CST board prevented him from doing so. The other trustees of the CST are Sir Eion Edgar, Mr Ron Anderson, Mr Bill Baylis, Mr John Ward and Ms Kereyn Smith and Mr Stewart Barnett. Why did Mr Malcolm Farry want to take The Marketing Bureau to court? The Marketing Bureau was responsible for securing the Private Sector Funding portion ($45 million + $10 million interest – DCC were guarantor) for the construction of the stadium.

  33. Calvin Oaten

    Copy of letter to the Otago Daily Times which has been rejected for publication. Say no more!!

    OH DEAR, Mayor Dave Cull is infuriated. He accused anti-stadium campaigner Bev Butler of “descending to personality attacks” while running a smear campaign against the next boss of the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Mayor Cull was particularly scathing in his response, saying that the information was released to her by council staff last year and was “old news”. What? The news she released was neither “old” nor released by council. In fact council was unaware of it.

    So what is this news? Ms Butler became concerned over a year ago with information regarding the association between the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) and The Marketing Bureau (TMB) from Auckland. In this she became aware of considerable sums of money being spent by the CST with TMB. She therefore sought through the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) details of this spending. In what was normally a requirement of responding within twenty working days she should have received the information sought. CST chairman Malcolm Farry stated that various aspects of her claims were “wrong”, but he failed to elaborate. Perhaps he should have said that the inordinate period of fourteen months to respond was only expedited by the intervention of the ‘Ombudsmens’ office instructing the CST to release the information. But for that intervention, it is probable that the information sought would not yet have seen the light of day.

    The burden of Ms Butler’s concern is the fact that the CST spent in excess of $652,000 with TMB in return for which it is claimed that $23 million of Private Funding (PF) was raised. But nowhere is it disclosed where this sum actually is, nor indeed if it exists. The PwC report states quite definitely that no PF was used in the construction of the stadium, nor could it be, as it would only be at best advance revenue against operations of the venue. This is the lie of the whole exercise, as it was always portrayed by the CST that the PF was a component of the construction budget.

    The timing of this announcement and the appointment of Mr Darren Burden to the DVML CEO position is purely coincidental, due primarily to the recalcitrant response to the request for the details in the first place. It was simply based on a concern that all was not as it seems, and the financials of the CST might be described as rather loose to say the least.

    I think on reflection, that Mayor Cull might well have acquainted himself with the true facts of the matter before leaping to condemn Ms Butler for her concerns.

    Calvin Oaten
    Pine Hill

    • Elizabeth

      The Marketing Bureau (TMB) contract

      Let’s take another look at the ODT news item published Fri, 7 Sept 2012
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/224852/marketing-work-defended

      It says “The then-chief executive of the CST, Darren Burden, said he had no further involvement after signing the contract, as he became Dunedin Venues Management Ltd’s development director.”

      Yet look at the LinkedIn entry for Darren Burden
      http://nz.linkedin.com/pub/darren-burden/2a/581/21a

      It says Darren Burden was “CEO of Carisbrook Stadium Trust, January 2007 – January 2010 (3 years 1 month)”

      Darren Burden signed the TMB contract on 13 September 2007.
      Talk about a whitewash!

      Let’s refer to another ODT item published Wed, 17 Sept 2008
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/22672/new-stadium-project-appointments

      This was a year after Darren Burden signed the TMB contract, it says “Ewan Soper has been appointed chief executive of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, succeeding Darren Burden, who has become development director.”

      Oh dear.

      [screenshot, detail 10.9.12]

      • Elizabeth

        ### D Scene 12 Sep 2012
        Stadium opponent at odds with Farry
        By Wilma McCorkindale
        Dunedin stadium opponent Bev Butler’s long-running battle with Carisbrook Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry shows no sign of abating. The two are now duelling over a $650,000 marketing contract Butler contends was of “little or no benefit”. Butler had released documents obtained under the Official Information Act detailing what CST paid Auckland company, The Marketing Bureau Ltd. The firm was contracted to raise private funds for the construction of the new rugby stadium.

        Butler questions the value for money from TMB and said an investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed it failed to raise genuine private funding. “DCC ratepayers were consistently told that $45m would be raised by the private sector for construction. This simply didn’t happen.”

        {continues} #bookmark

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sat, 15 Sep 2012
        Burden reiterates he did not work on contract after signing
        By Chris Morris
        Darren Burden, the next man to run the Forsyth Barr Stadium, has again defended his role in a controversial contract. Stadium critic Bev Butler last week released information showing Mr Burden signed a contract with The Marketing Bureau in September 2007, when chief executive of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust.

        Ms Butler claimed the company produced little of value, and Mr Burden’s role in it raised questions about his suitability for the DVML job.

        Read more

  34. Peter

    I think they will want to try and shut the whole thing down asap, Calvin.
    In other societies people die for freedom – including freedom of the press – where the ultimate truth, behind things that are clearly wrong and unjust, is able to see the light of day by the efforts of a free press.
    In societies which have suffered far more than ours-like South Africa and Cambodia – they have set up ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commissions’ to investigate the recent past and for justice to be finally served. On a less dramatic scale (but, nevertheless, the principle remains the same) we can’t even do that in Dunedin/Otago. People like Dave Cull, and his cohorts, are more interested in burying the truth and ensure there is no possibility of a community healing to take place. They use cliches like ‘moving on’ etc for reasons known to them… and now clear to us by their words and (in)actions. His group, Greater Dunedin, promised us transparency. We have been fooled and sold short.
    It is the ultimate shame where our local daily is part of this cover up and has voided its responsibilty to look after the citizens it serves. Instead the paper serves itself and its stakeholders.

  35. Anonymous

    And Ewan Soper’s previous position was? Chief Financial Officer of the District Health Board, at the time of the Swann scandal. A scandal which now looks extremely tame.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/32451/odhb-boss-039never-saw039-17m-contracts

  36. amanda

    The stadium stakeholders and councillors are not finished with Dunedin. The stadium debt will create at some time in the future a local ‘economic crisis’ that will be the perfect opportunity for stakeholders to reach down and take the real prizes; the city’s assets (water for example). Greater Dunedin, the stadium cabal on council, and the local media will tell us that the city’s debt (created by nobody and that just fell out of the sky), necessitates the selling of these assets. There will be much hand-wringing and sad faces from Debt architects Hudson, Brown and Noone, but they will with tell us that we have no choice, circumstances demand it. Classic tactic, create a crisis and say ‘so sorry’ but you must sacrifice some more. Puppet Cull obviously won’t stand in their way.

  37. Peter

    The more I think of it the appointment of Darren Burden was, in one sense, a strange choice. Given the desperation ‘to make the stadium work’, I would have thought they would have shopped around for someone new and with wider experience from overseas. Someone, with fresh ideas and wide contacts, who could have set hopes alight, again, that the stadium could be made a goer.
    Instead, they appointed someone who has been there since the beginning and who hasn’t exactly come up with, with the rest of the team, a winning formula to get the stadium out of its financial predicament.
    Is his appointment an admission by the DVML Board that the stadium now just has to be wet-nursed along by a safe pair of hands? By someone who knows where the stadium skeletons lie and keeps them under lock and key. (Or tries to.) A newbie could quite innocently expose some home truths and upset the uneasy equilibrium that currently exists. A newbie wouldn’t have all the history of what’s gone on before and could fall into some embarrassing traps that upset the apple cart.
    No. The appointment of Darren Burden makes perfect sense. For them.

  38. Hype O'Thermia

    The interesting part will be when we find out what we’re paying him. Will it be “commensurate with [the most unrealistic] overseas salaries because we are in a world-wide market for people with these skills, or will it reflect the likelihood that he has some hitherto unrevealed can’t-lose arrangements that just have to be signed off, for 52 weeks a year of high-profile sports and other performers?
    Was he a victim of naysaying by David Davies up till now? Did Davies let personal musical taste and girly caution get in the way of signing up these big earners? Yeah… that’ll be it… RiiiIGHT………!

  39. Peter

    We’ll be able to get a viewing on September 24 when the ODT reports on him formally taking over the hot seat. A photo opportunity of DB with wide smile….possibly with hands outstretched (modelling today’s photo)….brimming with promises to come. Watch for the headline. It’ll be a pearler.

  40. amanda

    Cull, the stadium cabal and stakeholders around council know the stadium won’t work. They are in damage control.The objective is to wait enough time until we all forget who are responsible for the blackhole stadium, so they get re-elected next year and continue to get high salary positions (Burden and his $250,000 salary from the stadium) and then slowly let it fall apart. We built the stadium for a few people to make millions, land owners and a construction firm primarily, and also to construct a crisis so the stakeholders can buy up nice cheap assets. It is no longer necessary for it ‘to work’ in a financial sense just so long as ‘it works’ to fool the majority of people that everything is fine and dandy and any debt crisis is caused by the spaghetti monster not the individuals sitting around council or their crony stakeholders.

  41. amanda

    i think you are right Peter. They want to keep the stadium and skeletons in house with a good ‘ole boy who knows the rules and will not tittle tattle about any negligence because this will implicate himself too.

  42. Hype O'Thermia

    The big article above that, ‘ “Eyes wide open” about challenges for stadium’ on the same page is not online which is a pity because it contains this cute-as-a-bug statement:
    “At present, DVML was required to pay rent to Dunedin Venues Ltd – the separate company which owned the stadium – to cover the loan costs, which meant a $3.8 million bill in the 2011-12 financial year.
    Without that rent burden, DVML would likely run a small operational profit in the next financial year he [Darren Burden] said.”

    I know what he means. If I weren’t paying the stadium component on my DCC and ORC rates bills I wouldn’t be wondering how much I can cut back on insurance. If people on the minimum wage weren’t paying rent they’d be able to buy better quality food, and get their kids vaccinated against meningococcal disease. If wishes were horses….. but of course they aren’t unless you’re professional rugby which gets a free ride for the asking.

    • Elizabeth

      The newspaper is probably holding this over until Sunday – check tomorrow’s ODT Online.

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Sun, 16 Sep 2011
        ‘Eyes wide open’ about challenges for stadium
        By Chris Morris
        The size of the challenge ahead is not lost on Darren Burden as he prepares to become the next man to run the Forsyth Barr Stadium. Mr Burden (40) is about to step into the glare of public scrutiny as the next chief executive of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd – the company running the stadium – later this month. He will succeed departing chief executive David Davies on September 24 inheriting a laundry list of worries and the withering criticism that sometimes comes with the post.

        Mr Burden had his first taste of what was to come last week, just days after his appointment was announced, when stadium critic Bev Butler contacted media to question his credentials.

        Her views prompted Mayor Dave Cull to accuse her of “smear campaign” tactics, but Mr Burden found himself in the eye of a stadium storm before his feet were even under the desk.
        Read more

  43. amanda

    Check out the ODT today. Look at the front page. They are in convulsions of joy and excitement over the one game that the stadium can have, in great hope that their foaming at the mouth excitement will be transferred to us and we will all forget the abysmal fiscal negligence surrounding the thing and those who still have not been held to account. Who instead are given more money and positions in reward for their failure. Mr Burden needs to be removed from DVML for the sake of the city. Cull should be ashamed to support his appointment to DVML.

  44. Hype O'Thermia

    Forget about shame, Amanda. The Shame-node is removed at the same time as rubber rings are applied to the balls of incoming mayors and councillors who fall for the line of “Come with us and we’ll give you a piece of our Authentic Tartan-brand Shortbread” and get into the car with the well-dressed men.

  45. Anonymous

    Most people now recognise that paper is a sell-out for rugby (read into that as you may).

    • Elizabeth

      Chalked sandwich board outside Velvet Burger today: “smash em”… footpath etiquette at an all time low in George Street… showoff cars and wagons… the rugby crap of morons has descended on Dunedin. Worse, most of Eiontown is here. ODT is lapping it up.

  46. Anonymous

    I think we are fairly clear where the Burden is now.

    • Elizabeth

      “[Darren Burden] will succeed departing chief executive David Davies on September 24, inheriting a laundry list of worries and the withering criticism that sometimes come with the post.” ODT 15.9.12 (page 4)

      How to trivialise the corporate fraud – “a laundry list” – that has loaded debt into the Dunedin community via bullswool artists that pass/passed for councillors at DCC and ORC, under the reigns of Chin, Cull and Cairns (C words), and the likes of Farry and Burden that comprised the grossly dishonest and contortionate Carisbrook Stadium Trust. Oh yeah, and Bill Baylis is a CST man, now elevated to sort DCHL and the subsidiaries. Looks like a long way to go before the ‘JFC’ rubbish is eradicated.

  47. Peter

    The laundry list analogy is appropriate. Darren will be inheriting a lot of dirty linen.

  48. Hype O'Thermia

    Sure, Peter, but it’s not like they’re the skid-marks of strangers.

  49. Peter

    So true, Hype. In fact some of these characters, who haven’t played a straight stadium game, have clearly shat in their own nests (beds). (Not alone skid-marked them) It’s hard to cover one lie, for another, over time. All gets too complicated for those concerned.

  50. amanda

    Is he getting a quarter of a million salary? Not bad for being fiscally negligent and having a hand in the stadium ‘business plan’ from its inception. Now who said that you want to find out who is accountable for wrongdoing? Find out who benefits? Dear Darren is benefitting big time isn’t he? Why was the stadium built? Funny huh, how the debt seems to be the burden of the community but for a lucky few who have made ‘good choices’ in their lives, the stadium seems to pay and pay and pay. This is unjust, and a terrible example to set in Dunedin. In Dunedin if you do wrong you get rewarded for it.

  51. Not just rewarded though amanda, get away up the ladder to the ‘safe’ place. Whatever the hell that is.

  52. ormk

    It sounds like “Darren’s” business plan is to not pay rent and perhaps make a small “profit”. Farry and chums might feel this is their best option for spinning the stadium as a success. If Darren is getting a $250k salary then he probably thinks it good value for money – compared to the deal he did with the TMB! Scorn has to be shown to Farry’s rejection of Bev’s press release as “wrong” – he has made no substantial rebuttal. I wonder what the state of the grass is now and how much it will have recovered in the next couple of weeks.

    Let’s hold those responsible for the debacle to task. Get them out of public office. Then do what we can to deal with the mess they have left to the people of Dunedin.

    • Elizabeth

      The editorial puts Bev Butler’s official information requests and follow-up complaints to the Ombudsmen’s office into context – and indeed, the local media’s frequent use of the Ombudsman – for getting ever closer to the ‘truth’ at Dunedin City Council. On account of her tireless, non-stinting work, Bev Butler has enjoyed much success in compiling official information! This has all been achieved with a realistic solid purpose, the public’s right to know. In good time, much of the information will be utilised and made apparent for the exercise of fairness and accountability. Historical record keeping has considerable merit.

      ### ODT Online Tue, 25 Sep 2012
      Editorial: Hardly an appropriate ‘present’
      October 1 will mark the 50th anniversary of the swearing in of New Zealand’s first ombudsman, Sir Guy Powles, a significant milestone for the country – and our place as a world leader. New Zealand was the first country outside Scandinavia to establish an Office of the Ombudsman, but many citizens do not understand – or possibly take for granted – the vital role it plays in providing them redress for grievances, as well as improving standards and investigating the conduct of government agencies.

      …the 50th anniversary celebrations may be tempered by the recent defeat in Parliament of Labour MP Shane Jones’ member’s Bill, the Ombudsmen (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill. The Bill would have amended the Ombudsmen Act 1975 to allow the Office of the Ombudsman to recover the costs of investigations from the agencies being investigated. It was defeated 61 to 59, with National, Act and United Future opposing it.

      Current demand for the ombudsmen’s services and resource constraints in the office mean hundreds of cases are unallocated.
      Read more

  53. Hype O'Thermia

    It would be much easier to control timing of the release of information – and with Bev’s track record information WILL come out eventually – if that pre-election mouth-music about transparency were implemented by council itself.

  54. Mike

    So their plan is that if they stop paying rent to themselves (DVML and DVL are after all run by the same board) they will make more money – simple math tells you that if you pay yourself nothing you are in exactly the same position as you are if you pay yourself $3m.

    What I think he really means is that he wants to shift the stadium burden and have the ratepayers pay DVL the $3m rather than DVML which is a whole different thing than them just not paying themselves.

  55. amanda

    The problem ormk, is we are hamstrung by a gormless, complicit media that will not mention, ever, those on council who have created the city’s massive debt, and the brainless architects of the stadium ‘business plan’, one of whom was Burden. The debt and stadium mistakes, and lies, let’s call it what it was, have just sort of happened by No Human Hand. Just sort of magically. The ODT is perfectly capable of having articles about the city’s fiscal difficulties without naming those accountable for it. Many readers and voters will not see how this is outrageous, and actually places our city in danger of further cons perpetuated by stakeholders, that means loss of more jobs, services cut, and of course rates increases. They are still in the headspace that local government is somehow not political, something the councillors and Ineffectual Cull are happy to perpetuate. And the media too, of course, not only do they turn the other way to fiscal negligence, they support it with their silence.

  56. amanda

    I think of the ODT like Fox news. Both are even owned by exceedingly weathy men. Both have a very very neoliberal slant.

  57. marious

    I would have to agree with ormk.

    1/ Those responsible who currently remain in power should at the next council election be dispensed with by the voting public of Dunedin
    It’s the only way Dunedin ratepayers would ever have accountability for the mess these people have created.

    2/ Sell the stadium to Malcolm and his mates.
    I’m sure they would jump at the chance of such a grand business venture. They continually sing its praises.
    A better business model and profit would be no problem to those who say they know what they are doing.
    It’s surprising these well meaning businessmen haven’t offered to buy the stadium from the city already ?

    Fat chance of 1 or 2 ever happening, joke remains firmly on us fools, the ratepayers.

    The well meaning businessmen will more than likely do very well from the sale of the city’s assets resulting, to cover costs.
    The councillors in question will more than likely receive Queen’s honours for services to the community if they haven’t already.

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