Tag Archives: Forsyth Barr

Stadium: Accountability, paper trail leads unavoidably to NEWS

Stadium, Dunedin [espnscrum.com]Stadium under construction [photo via espnscrum.com]

Comments received.

Bev Butler
Submitted on 2013/07/30 at 2:25 pm

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8981153/Phone-records-given-to-inquiry
Parliament’s speaker, David Carter:
“I view any actions that may put at risk journalists’ ability to report very seriously.”

Both Sir Eion Edgar and Sir Julian Smith have some explaining to do as to their “actions” in preventing the reporting of the information contained in the press release below which one of the ODT reporters contacted me about on 3 July 2013, asked me questions, then nothing being published in the ODT.

PRESS RELEASE
“Philanthropist” reneges on promised $1m donation
Full independent enquiry sought

The deceptions surrounding the Forsyth Barr Stadium continue to be revealed by official documents released on 11 June 2013.

The public, on many occasions raised doubts that the promises of private funding for construction of the stadium, had been met, but were assured by Mr Malcolm Farry, Chair of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust as reported in NBR and ODT 2007 that in fact several substantial donations had been promised. Indeed he went so far to tell the public that he had promises of three individual donations of $1 million each to be put to the costs of construction. Sir Eion Edgar also confirmed in DScene in 2009 that he would be making a donation of $1m.

That, as has now been revealed officially, was untrue.

It was also untrue as Mr Farry claimed when leading the project, that advance ticket or product sales revenue could be counted as construction capital. This was nothing other, as many ratepayers pointed out, simply advance operational revenue which could not be charged in the future. While Mr Farry denied this, the PricewaterhouseCoopers investigation found that there was little or no capital raised from ‘private funding’ for construction.

The relevance of this should not be lost when the evidence supplied to the High Court in Christchurch by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust through the DCC also stated that substantial private donations had been made for construction. At the time of the Stop The Stadium court case in April 2009, Mr Farry had stated publicly that more than $30m of the required $45m had already been contracted in private funding for construction of the stadium. It appears that evidence in the High Court case was also not truthful.

The role played by Forsyth Barr and its Chair, Sir Eion Edgar also come directly under a brighter spotlight from the release of the documentation. Sir Eion Edgar promised a substantial donation of $1m as reported in DScene 2009, but again this has proven not to be true. But this lack of philanthropy also extended to an obscuring of the facts surrounding the naming rights of the stadium. Despite Sir Eion Edgar claiming in the National Business Review (29/01/09) that a “substantial cheque” had been written for these rights, and The Marketing Bureau commissioned by the CST reporting to council the naming rights were worth $10m, the fact was that instead the stadium was named after his company for a period of two and a half years before any revenue was received. It has already been reported in the media that the naming rights were no more than $5m. An upfront substantial sum in advance reported in PwC peer reviews was somehow altered to a much lesser sum in monthly arrears payments which didn’t begin until late 2011.

Sir Edgar also had a significant role as President in his connections with the Otago Rugby Football Union when a fundraising function for the ORFU in August 2011 at the new Forsyth Barr Stadium defaulted in its payments to the Dunedin City Council leaving ratepayers to pick up the tab for booze, food, hireage and cleaning while the ORFU pocketed the gross income less a substantial organisational fee paid to the wife of the Deputy Chair of the ORFU, Laurie Mains.

While the PwC investigation was not intended to be a forensic audit of all financial matters surrounding the stadium, sufficient grounds now exist for such a full independent investigation to be carried out, and it is difficult to see just why this should be resisted unless some have got matters to try and continue to conceal. Doubts have also been expressed over the laxity of the billing and payment processes whereby blanket monthly CST accounts with no detail were passed for payment by the then CEO of the Dunedin City Council, Jim Harland, and there remains uncertainty over the validity of many of the expenses and other monies claimed for and paid by the ratepayers of the City.

[Response 1]

Elizabeth
Submitted on 2013/07/30 at 2:46 pm

Bev, quite apart from the content of the Press Release, are you saying the ODT journalist who contacted you about the release was lined up to do a story based on the content of the press release? Or that the editorial team did not support the reporter and canned the story as filed? Or for the newspaper’s own reasons there was never a story?! In other words, something of a spying mission took place?

Media can choose whether or not to cite the content of press releases in whole or in part.

Should a newspaper decline to reference a press release in its general news coverage, surely that leaves the writers of the release free to pay for an advertising statement. This is exactly what has been required with The Press in Christchurch over the fight to restore the Christ Church Cathedral – paid advertising by Cathedral advocates tied to education of the Press editor underlining the editorial bias which has run to the benefit of the Bishop and the CPT. We consider The Press’s stance deliberate to force use of paid advertising. The Press has softened since being SPOKEN TO.

****

[Response 2]

Russell Garbutt
Submitted on 2013/07/30 at 8:25 pm

Bev’s post needs as wide a circulation as possible and I would urge any readers to pass on the URL of this post to as many of their friends as possible, but it is as sure as God made little green apples, that the ODT will neither investigate nor publish anything that is detrimental to the interests of those that have certain influence and connections. I wonder if Sir Julian would be willing to show his phone records? Particularly those from the Central Otago region?

All of the material that Bev mentions regarding the naming rights is backed up by documentation – in fact so much of what Bev is talking about is now being played out in National politics with the Henry inquiry and Vance’s phone records. The story has to be dragged out before it is grudgingly admitted that a great wrong was done. And even then the perpetrators can’t get their story straight.

This is what I mean by accountability in many ways. Many have claimed that deceit, lies and obfuscation were just part of the normal business around the CST, DCC, ORFU and associated parties and it has also been suggested that this culture of deceit and lies extended to the High Court. Who am I to argue that this was not the case? But the same people’s names turn up time and time again. Reported are Farry, who continues to harangue from the side-lines, Edgar promising much and apparently confused between what is a donation and what is part of a payment for a sweetheart deal with the organisation of which he was part, or Harland, in the middle authorising payments on behalf of the ratepayers to the CST – a private Trust that remains a closed window.

And who is going to push for exposure of all the facts? We should be forever grateful for Bev’s assiduous work in prying out the necessary documentation and proof of what many have alleged for years. I can only hope that Bev Butler is, within the near future, able to ensure that any serious wrong-doing by those connected with the greatest waste of ratepayer funds, is put forward in a high profile way.

And if it can be shown in a separate jurisdiction that the allegations are well-founded – and I’m sure it can by the documentation that exists in private and on public record, then hopefully these people will be made accountable. But I’m not holding my breath.

****

[Response 3]

Bev Butler
Submitted on 2013/07/30 at 10:11 pm

Elizabeth, to now answer your questions – just briefly for now.
“The Edgar Story” was first published on Stuff News on Wednesday 3 July 2013. About an hour later the story was “pulled”.
Rarely does a story get “pulled” – it is generally due to major factual errors or a threat of defamation. As I know the information was correct then I assumed the latter.
I wrote to Fairfax management then emailed Forsyth Barr/Edgar’s lawyers. Two days later the story was published in The Mirror – a Central Otago Fairfax publication.
Interestingly, also on Wednesday 3 July an ODT reporter contacted me, questioning me about the Stuff News item. The reporter wanted to know who else I had sent the press release to. At the time I thought this was unusual – what did that have to do with reporting the news? I suspected that someone was wanting to do damage control behind the scenes. A week later I then heard from a good source that this was the case.
What really concerns me, apart from the serious issues in the press release, is the behind-the-scenes manipulation of ‘freedom of the press’. Dunedin citizens are no longer able to rely on the local media for local news. The damage done by this behind-the-scenes manipulation is dangerous. How this can be allowed to happen in a democratic society should be a concern for all in Dunedin. I don’t blame the reporter as he/she would have been instructed to question me.

[ends]

Related Posts and Comments:
18.7.13 ODT won’t touch Fairfax story
3.7.13 [Pulled!] Call for Dunedin stadium cash
24.12.12 A Christmas Tale
7.6.12 Stadium: Forsyth Barr naming rights
6.7.09 Eion Edgar on ‘stadium haters’

ODT Online:
11.5.12 $100m hotel for Dunedin waterfront [Edgar support]
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

12 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, Delta, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, STS

ODT won’t touch Fairfax story

Supposing Sir E rang Sir J. What did they talk about. Parties?

Queenstown Mirror 10.7.13 (page 1)

Queenstown Mirror 10.7.13 (page 1 detail)Queenstown Mirror 10.7.13 (page 2 detail)

#bookmark page 1
#bookmark page 2

DScene 13.5.09 (page 9) Eion Edgar c3### DScene 13 May 2009
The Insider: Big questions answered
Mr Generous isn’t slowing down
Winter Games NZ chairman Eion Edgar | Interviewed by Ryan Keen
COMMUNITY-MINDED Queenstown-based businessman Eion Edgar, who retired as New Zealand Olympic Committee president last week and left a $1 million donation, on his support for knighthoods, backing Blis and why he’s not slowing down. #bookmark page 9

DScene 13.5.09 (page 9) merge

Related Posts and Comments:
10.7.13 Stadium: Edgar will honour $1M personal pledge to project
3.7.13 [Pulled!] Call for Dunedin stadium cash
24.12.12 A Christmas Tale
7.6.12 Stadium: Forsyth Barr naming rights
6.7.09 Eion Edgar on ‘stadium haters’

ODT Online:
11.5.12 $100m hotel for Dunedin waterfront [Edgar support]
11.5.12 Harbour hotel proposed for Dunedin

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

14 Comments

Filed under Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, Democracy, DVL, DVML, Economics, Fun, Hot air, Inspiration, Media, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Urban design, What stadium

Delta, Carisbrook, Fubar Stadium —Councillors “weak”, or worse

ODT Letter to the editor 15.7.13 (page 8) 1ODT Letter to the editor 15.7.13 (page 8)

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10.7.13 Stadium: Edgar will honour $1M personal pledge to project
9.7.13 Delta Utility Services Ltd, full investigation needed
7.7.13 DCHL changes lack transparency —where’s the report, Shale?
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3.7.13 [Pulled!] Call for Dunedin stadium cash
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*Use search box at right to find out more.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Stadium: Ombudsman investigation confirms private funding

Register to read DScene online at http://fairfaxmedia.newspaperdirect.com/

### DScene 20 Mar 2013
Raw deal alleged on stadium rights (page 5)
By Wilma McCorkindale
Dunedin’s flash new stadium gets $7 million every 10 years in private funding, an Ombudsman investigation reveals. Newly released documents show the stadium receives $715,000 annually – $7,150,000 over 10 years.
D Scene has learned from an informed source that $5m of that funding comes from investment advisory firm Forsyth Barr in return for naming rights of the new $200m-plus state-of-the-art arena.
Stadium lobbyist Bev Butler said the new figures showed ratepayers got a raw deal on private funding. ‘‘In December 2007, Brian Meredith of The Marketing Bureau, commissioned by the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, addressed the council stating that the head naming rights were worth more than $10m,’’ Butler said in a statement.
‘‘This has been reported twice in the media. The mayor, councillors and public were left with the perception that Forsyth Barr had signed up for the rights for $10m. This latest revelation shows that this was not the case and that Forsyth Barr ended up paying no more than $5m for the naming rights.’’
Butler, who initiated the latest investigation, said the rest of the annual $715,000 in private funding came from other companies who had a high profile in the stadium.
{continues} #bookmark

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Forsyth Barr ‘should be booted’

Link supplied.

### 3news.co.nz Mon, 11 Mar 2013 10:48a.m.
Forsyth Barr to stay on Mighty River panel
The Government’s rejecting a call to remove Forsyth Barr from the panel running the selldown of Mighty River Power despite a Commerce Commission ruling critical of the company’s past. In a decision last week, the Commerce Commission said Forsyth Barr and French investment bank CALYON were “misleading and deceptive” in their marketing of $91.5 million in Credit SaILS bonds to investors in 2006. The product promised 8.5 percent interest income and capital protection – but Credit SaILS failed in 2008, and the bonds are now virtually worthless. The companies have reached a settlement with the Commerce Commission to create a settlement fund of $60m to be distributed to investors.
Economics writer Bernard Hickey says Forsyth Barr should be booted from the panel overseeing Mighty River’s float, saying its involvement risks undermining confidence in the sale.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Stadium: Forsyth Barr naming rights

From: Bev Butler
To: Craig Page [ODT]; Murray Kirkness [ODT]
CC: Chris Morris [ODT]
Subject: FW: Press Release: Forsyth Barr naming rights subsidised by Dunedin ratepayers
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 09:00:01 +1200

Press Release:
Forsyth Barr naming rights subsidised by Dunedin ratepayers

Yet another revelation has popped out of the woodwork in the troubled Dunedin rugby stadium saga. This time, the much heralded head naming rights deal has been revealed as another non-event with the ratepayers again footing the bill.

In the original revenue forecasts for the stadium it was assumed that Forsyth Barr would pay the naming rights in full before completion of construction. This then changed to two years upfront in the revised forecasts peer reviewed by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) provided the forecast figures and negotiated the naming rights deal with Forsyth Barr. It is now revealed Forsyth Barr signed up to their naming rights deal for annual payments NOT in advance but in arrears. Their contract was recently changed again to monthly payments in arrears. So at the time of voting in February 2009 the city and regional councillors were led to believe that the naming rights contract was for two years upfront. This is the normal commercial practice for naming rights contracts and is called “front end loading”.

The naming rights were [jointly announced] in a statement by Carisbrook Stadium Trust and Forsyth Barr on January 29, 2009; along with an announcement from Sir Eion Edgar that Forsyth Barr had paid “a significant sum”, but “certainly not” as much as the CST would have hoped, but “probably more than what Forsyth Barr would have liked to pay”.

However Bev Butler, stadium critic, was “shocked to discover that Forsyth Barr made absolutely no payments whatsoever until September 1, 2011 and then it was for one month in arrears. Forsyth Barr have had the advantage of over two and a half years of advertising locally, nationally and internationally without digging into their own pockets. Furthermore, the Dunedin ratepayers are guarantors for Forsyth Barr not paying up. The Dunedin ratepayers borrowed money to cover the naming rights and are paying interest on this loan,” she said. The information was revealed in documents received under the provisions of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

The deal struck is against the background of the so-called independent Carisbrook Stadium Trust, chaired by Malcolm Farry. Farry was the chair of the Highlanders at the time they were part of the ORFU. Sir Eion Edgar is president of the ORFU and is also a member of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, being appointed to this position many months before the signing of the Forsyth Barr naming rights deal. Sir Eion Edgar is also of course a Director of Forsyth Barr.

“This shaky, shady, stadium project has been riddled with conflicts of interest right from the start and Forsyth Barr naming rights is no exception,” Bev Butler said. “It is now plain that the much heralded millions of dollars promised upfront in 2009 by Forsyth Barr for the naming rights to the new Dunedin stadium just never happened.”

Bev Butler

Further background:

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) were contracted to peer review the stadium forecasts and produced a report on January 30, 2009. This is the same date that the ODT reported the announcement that Forsyth Barr were the naming rights sponsor. Early February 2009 both DCC and ORC councils voted to proceed with the stadium.
I recently again read through the PwC peer review of these forecasts. The relevant extracts are copied below. It appears from the PwC report that the Original Forecasts were based on receiving the naming rights “in full before the beginning of the forecast period” (see page 9 extract below). Then when PwC peer reviewed the Revised Forecasts (30/01/09) it was “assumed that there are two years of pre-payments for the first ten year contract” (see page 6 extract below).
The naming rights were expected to originally be paid in full upfront – this then changed to being two years upfront (during 2009/2010) before the completion of the stadium. This PwC peer review was presented to DCC councillors on February 7, 2009 when they made their final decision and after it was announced on January 30, 2009 that Forsyth Barr were the naming rights sponsor.
The situation now is that Forsyth Barr made their first payment on the September 1, 2011 (information obtained under LGOIMA). I had a phone conversation with Neville Frost (financial officer of DVML and former financial officer of ORFU) on September 16, 2011 where he said that Forsyth Barr had recently changed/amended their contract from annual payments in arrears to monthly payments in arrears – hence the first payment on September 1, 2011 (note the stadium opened 1/8/11). I suspect the change in the contract was because I had requested under LGOIMA whether Forsyth Barr had made any payments.
It appears that this ‘private funding’ naming rights contract has been amended after the final vote occurred. These amendments clearly disadvantage the ratepayers of Dunedin. The councillors and public at large were led to believe by The Marketing Bureau (contracted by CST) that the naming rights were for $10 million.
It is also relevant that Sir Eion Edgar (director of Forsyth Barr Ltd) was chosen and appointed by Malcolm Farry as trustee of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST) sometime before the August 13, 2008 – at least five months before the announcement of the naming rights. So Forsyth Barr negotiated with the CST the naming rights contract at the time when Sir Eion Edgar was a trustee. Clearly, a conflict of interest.

From PricewaterhouseCoopers Peer Review of the Proposed New Otago Stadium Forecasts report (dated 30 January 2009):
Link to full document (PDF 7.1 MB)

Relevant extracts:

Page 6 “There are no cash inflows for Lounge Memberships and naming rights in 2019 and 2020 as it is assumed that there are two years of pre-payments for the first ten year contract period ending in 2020 but no pre-payments for the subsequent ten year contract period.”

Page 9 The variance between licence fees/premiums in the Revised Forecasts and the Original Forecasts is primarily a result of changes to:

● Naming Rights – the inclusion of revenues from the sale of the naming rights for the first ten years of operation. Under the Original Forecasts, this was expected to be received in full before the beginning of the forecast period.

Note in the NBR news item below it states that “it hasn’t stopped local broking house Forsyth Barr from writing a “substantial” cheque to secure the naming rights to the new Otago stadium.”
This implies or rather states that Forsyth Barr wrote a cheque back in Jan 2009. Obviously, untrue! Forsyth Barr made their first monthly payment on September 1, 2011.

National Business Review
7:59PM Wednesday 11 April 2012

Forsyth Barr ignores recession to buy Otago stadium naming rights
By Lucy Craymer | Friday January 30, 2009
A global economic downturn might make other corporate sponsors think twice but it hasn’t stopped local broking house Forsyth Barr from writing a “substantial” cheque to secure the naming rights to the new Otago stadium.
The new 30,000-capacity stadium, which is due to be completed in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, will be called Forsyth Barr Stadium at University Plaza.
Forsyth Barr chairman Eion Edgar refused to say how much the naming rights of the stadium had cost the company but did describe it as “substantial”.
“This will raise our profile as we expand around the country. The Stadium adds another dimension to Dunedin and Otago and is something our people will use and be proud of,” he adds.
Stadium Trust chairman Malcolm Farry says: “This is a very significant milestone in the community’s progress towards achieving the private sector funding target set by councils of $27.3 million.”
The naming right deal comes at a time when other large corporate sponsors have pulled out of deals. Philips withdrew as a sponsor from the All Blacks last year while ING have cut back on their Formula 1 spending.
The University of Otago has secured the naming rights to the Stadium Plaza.

[ends]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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NZX Market Supervision inquiry

“I needed a wee bit of extra cash at the time so I was happy to sell. It’s a free market – anyone can buy, anyone can sell. That’s what markets are for, aren’t they?” –Eion Edgar

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 08:58 21/05/2012
NZX probes nether regions
By Tim Hunter
OPINION Forsyth Barr chairman Sir Eion Edgar says an NZX inquiry into potential share trading anomalies at market minnow Blis Technologies is making “a mountain out of a molehill. […] It was just straightforward arbitrage.”

NZX says it has spotted potential anomalous trading in Blis shares and among the traders was a company associated with Edgar, the molehill starts to look quite a bit bigger. Without beating about the bush, the issue being discussed here is whether market manipulation took place.

The NZX said the following on Friday just over a week ago: “NZX Market Supervision (NZXMS) confirms that it has commenced an inquiry into trading in shares of BLIS Technologies Limited (BLT). NZXMS initiated the inquiry after its Market Surveillance staff detected potentially anomalous trades in BLT shares during the period when the price for the conversion of cumulative preference shares to ordinary shares was being determined. The conversion occurred on 8 May 2012. NZXMS believes it is in the interests of market clarity and confidence to confirm this action.”
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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