Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #13 : Councillors! How low can you Zhao ?

Updated, this post was originally published on 29 Aug 2016.

Received from Christchurch Driver [CD]
Thu, 15 September 2016 at 6:53 p.m.


Recently some diligent whatiffers (thank-you Mick, Calvin), have provided some very pertinent information that puts your intemperate correspondent well ahead of the chasing pack that is national media.

Delta’s financial “breakthrough” at the Noble Subdivision got an airing on National Radio “news” late last month. Strangely, there was no mention of the buyers’ troubled history that checkmated $101M into the big depository in the sky. Fortunately, online media Stuff (26.8.16) has better quality reporting than our erstwhile public servants (well chaps, it was the weekend after all) and had this epic fail firmly in their sights. Vaughan Elder at the ODT (27.8.16) also stepped up to the plate, hammering home the $101M Infinity fail. “Efforts to contact Infinity Yaldhurst were unsuccessful,” said Vaughan [before ODT updated the article]. No prizes for why…..Go Vaughan you good thing !

Tonight, readers, over a cup of Bell or two (put that Twining’s rubbish away – we’re not in Fendalton now !)….. we shall look at a likely funder at Noble (at third mortgage level, no less), and in doing so we shall arrive at the quiet suburban destination of 12a Fovant St, Russley; the poor man’s Fendalton, if you will. Once again, truth trumps fiction, and from this secure and modest address it is quite probable the highly insecure and very immodestly sized Noble Subdivision will receive finance.

Firstly, readers, it is important to understand what your complete turnips of Councillors could not, and that is : it is the holder of the first mortgage that basically drives the train in any development. When things go bad – often – the developer gets told to go sit in the corner and play with some knives while the first mortgage owners decide what is best for them, and them alone, and the size of the haircut for everyone else. Delta have just found this out the expensive way to their approximate overall loss of $25M. Delta now wholeheartedly agree with this theory because they happily spent $3.39M of ratepayer funds to buy 67.5% of a $1.75M first mortgage, which was an illegal transaction at that. Mr Crombie and Mr Cameron say that interest doesn’t count ….Turnips that need to be culled, you say : I hear you!

But the problem with first mortgage holders is that they are very often banks that don’t have a large appetite for risk, and they hate “mezzanine financing” with all the conservative passion they can muster. Mezzanine funding is what they call funding projects during their construction. If things go wrong of course at the construction stage (consider Noble), there is only a half-finished at best project…. worth precisely nothing, which tends to play havoc with the banks’ precious LTV (loan-to-value) guidelines.

Readers will remember this was precisely the scenario at Noble where the mortgagee sale was marketed on the basis that it was bare land, ie the $11.5M of half-finished work by Delta was deemed to be worth nothing. So while Delta trumpet that there is a bank as a first mortgagee involved, your correspondent surmises that given the project’s radioactive history, it is a very small first mortgage, that is nowhere near big enough to finance the completion of even the first stage of the subdivision.

This leads us to some very interesting territory. How to fund the construction ? A smallish bank first mortgage, Delta as second mortgagee. Even Grady Cameron and possibly even Mr McLauchlan comprehend that they would be sacked if they advanced more public funds to Noble on a second mortgage basis. Could the purchaser, Infinity Yaldhurst Ltd fund it ? We do not know this, because of the commercial stupidity of most of your Councillors : we understand it was explained to them fatty-cull-using-hula-hoop-cartoon-figure-via-123rf-comin words of almost one syllable at the Council meeting on 1 August that it was a VERY BAD THING to lend $13M-odd as a second mortgage, NOT KNOWING THE SPECIFICS OF THE OVERALL PROJECT FUNDING or the details of the “purchaser”, the shell company Infinity Yaldhurst, set up specifically for one project that has no assets and NO BACKING OR GUARANTEE from any other Infinity Group Company that managing director Paul Croft is involved in.

(Perhaps our walking photo opportunity that is the Mayor could advise us what sort of COLLATERAL SECURITY has been offered by Infinity Yaldhurst).

What is an impecunious property developer to do ? Readers, allow me to introduce to you…. Infinity Finance and Mortgage Ltd. This interestingly named company was incorporated on 17 March 2016. Your correspondent thinks that it provides a clue as to how the Noble Subdivision may be financed. Its sole director and shareholder is a fellow named Xiangqing ZHAO aka Xiang Qing ZHAO. The registered office of this apparent titan of finance is at 12a Fovant St, Russley, Christchurch. This is just a little more than a stone’s throw from the Noble Subdivision.

yaldhurst-village-and-12a-fovant-st[click to enlarge]

A quick peep at Google Street View shows that Fovant St is a street of well tended and modest homes. There is not a single commercial premises evident. Now 12a (with a little pool in the backyard) is not actually visible from the street, being blocked by a quite nicely proportioned brick and tile bungalow from early 1970s, approximate value $590,000.

12a-fovant-street-russley-christchurch-google-earth12a Fovant Street, Russley [Google Earth]

Mr Zhao’s previous commercial activities are also, ahem, somewhat idiosyncratic. Mr Zhao’s visible means of support includes his being the Shareholder of a pizza company, “X Pizza Ltd” and a company called “A-Team Company”.

So there is a suspicion that Dunedin City Councillors voted, at their meeting on 1 August, to lend $13M to a shell company, Infinity Yaldhurst, that may be receiving some form of finance from a company effectively controlled by an Asian, with a predilection for pizza, operating property investment companies and a finance company out of his bedroom – safely out of sight, down a driveway on a back section in Russley. It would be impossible to make this up. Gold Band at least had premises and statutory reporting requirements that it fulfilled. With Mr Zhao there is the very strong suspicion there will be a wall of opacity when things turn bad, and 12a will be sublet to Irish construction workers who have never heard of Mr Zhao and don’t know who receives their rent.

It is very significant our mendacious minders at Delta did not make any reference to precisely how the project would be funded on their breathless press release (26.8.16). Readers and ratepayers should be prepared for the fantastic fact that the Noble Subdivision is so troubled and radioactive it requires a THIRD mortgage (ie after the Bank, and after Delta) from an Asian “bedroom funder” several steps below a Microfinance company. Good grief, what next – crowd funding ?

One cannot escape the thought that perhaps the money that may be advanced does not belong to Mr Zhao, but he has some access to funds from Asia. We do know that a tsunami of cash from China in the last 12-18 months has washed through Australia, in particular the Gold Coast, and that cash has purchased an amazing amount of property there. It would be entirely unsurprising if Asian interests looked at this as a no-lose situation to park some funds. Plan A : Lend money to Infinity Yaldhurst at 25% plus (remember Delta were or are getting 22.5%). Plan B : If the project tips up yet again, buy out the first and second mortgage holders for about $16-20M, and create Christchurch’s first gated community dedicated to Asian peoples. Many of the sections are only 125 sq m, which would suit Asian immigrants, more than local residents.

The question readers, is how low – how low can our turnip Councillors Zhao ?


Incorporation Date: 09 Feb 2016
Address for service:
Jackson Valentine Limited, Level 3, 258 Stuart Street, Dunedin 9016

Incorporation Date: 06 Dec 1999
Address for service:
Jackson Valentine Limited, Level 3, 258 Stuart Street, Dunedin 9016

Incorporation Date: 17 Mar 2016
Address for service:
Infinity Finance and Mortgage Limited, 12a Fovant Street, Russley, Christchurch 8042

Related Posts and Comments:
26.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —EpicFraud #12 : The Buyer Confirmed
24.8.16 Delta peripheral #EpicFail : Stonewood Homes —Boult under investigation
8.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #11 : The Buyer
1.8.16 Delta #EpicFail —The End Game according to CD
31.7.16 Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #10 : The Beginning of the End : Grady Cameron and his Steam Shovel

█ For more, enter the terms *delta*, *noble* or *epic fraud* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Election Year. This post is offered ion the public interest.

*Images: – Fatty Cull using Hula Hoop, tweaked by whatifdunedin | Noble Subdivision close proximity to 12a Fovant St [Mick Field overlay]


Filed under Business, Construction, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Delta, Democracy, District Plan, Economics, Finance, Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Media, Name, New Zealand, OAG, Ombudsman, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Public interest, Resource management, SFO, Site, Town planning, Travesty, Urban design

5 responses to “Delta #EpicFail —Epic Fraud #13 : Councillors! How low can you Zhao ?

  1. John P.Evans

    Whow, or was that Zhao?

    Please God, allow us some commercial acumen in the next council rather than wallflower lovers, cycle spendthrifts and Middlemarch cafe owners.

  2. Rob Hamlin

    It appears that there is commercial acumen on this Council already – However, in the last three years it seems to have chosen to say nothing – In or out of the Council chamber, on specific issues where commercial acumen surely had a major contribution to make. One cannot be absolutely sure here about what was said in Council because so much business is now done in secret.

    One of the issues with demonstrable personal commercial acumen and public office is that it often comes with active personal commercial interests and connections with other possessors of commercial acumen/ personal interests. Thus, in order for demonstrated individual commercial acumen to be a positive input to public governance, it has to be linked with an individual desire to perform public good that exceeds these other motivations and connections. If it doesn’t, then individual commercial acumen is often a great deal worse than useless to those who are on the receiving end of public governance outcomes.

    So, as an elector, one has to be very sure of the above when assessing the desirability of a candidate who claims personal commercial acumen as one of their assets/points of difference……That’s one of Hilary (“lock her up!”) Rodham (Goldman)-Clinton’s major problems. In my opinion it will be a terminal one, and rightly so.

  3. Elizabeth

    We can look around the current Council table and see at least one councillor who may have an interest in the now “Infinity” project at Yaldhurst. Then we could look backwards at the last three years and see if the same person hasn’t an interest in council contracts that have been won. It’s a strange old world where declaration of interests becomes token or somewhat ignored. Does the Club of Councillors invite a head to be kept down to assist the vote count.

  4. jeff dickie

    Each million spent by the DCC equates to a 1% in rates increase per annum. Voters should consider the latest Delta failure at Yaldhurst is already looking like a $25M loss. Add Jack’s Point and Luggate at about $10M. These follies alone by Cull and Delta’s Cameron and Crombie have cost each and every ratepayer a 35% squandered sum on their rates! This shows a very poor calibre of leadership indeed. They need to go.

  5. Gurglars

    When one spends $50,000 of his own money to be elected one must question their motive in attempting to be elected. However if one spends $50,000 of other peoples’ money, one must question the source, the obligations and perhaps even the legality of such an investment. Enforcing the taking down a post of facts provided by the DCC suggests that further enquiries prior to the election are necessary and urgent in the matters of candidate expenditure. At present candidates provide their own list of candidate expenditure – an honour system. Clearly those who are not so honourable need further examination. This is not happening in Dunedin.

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