### ODT Online Wed, 21 Sep 2011
Conflict of interest claim denied
By David Loughrey
Anti-stadium campaigner Bev Butler has again taken aim at the people who worked to build the Forsyth Barr Stadium, but this time she has got no backing from a former ally, now mayor, Dave Cull. Ms Butler’s latest target is Dunedin City Holdings Ltd (DCHL) director Mike Coburn, who has also worked on the project delivery team that made sure the stadium was built. She claimed there was a conflict of interest in the role, and that two invoices she unearthed to Mr Coburn’s company Ruboc Holdings for “casual corporate suite rental” last year for the All Blacks v Wales game, showed about $6000 that should not have been paid for by ratepayers.
This morning, Bev Butler emailed the following notes and information to What if? Dunedin…
• Attached are 23 Ruboc Holdings invoices.
• Below is the covering note with [Mike] Coburn’s explanation.
• My overall comment: “The public will be shocked at the pure unadulterated greed.”
• My comment on the covering note by Coburn is “Pathetic”.
DCHL director Mike Coburn’s company, Ruboc Holdings Ltd, invoiced the Carisbrook Stadium Trust (CST), then paid for by DCC, for casual lease of a corporate box for the All Blacks vs Wales test game last year.
The invoice was for $4,429.69 (incl GST). This was approved by Malcolm Farry, CST chairman. Note also the invoice is dated 12 May 2010 and payment made a month in advance of the rugby All Blacks test.
Another invoice was for Additional Test tickets $2,409.69. From the invoices this was a day out for the Project Delivery Team and ……..
Total of all Ruboc invoices: $83,370.04 (incl GST)
Coburn started claiming fees from 9 March 2009. This is before the Hawkins contract was signed on 27 April 2009. He was right in there from the start.
Some invoices claim expenses for meals, taxis, phone, parking and accommodation. Not sure where the accommodation would fit in as Coburn lives in Dunedin and there are no claims for travel elsewhere.
Mike Coburn is the sole director and sole shareholder of Ruboc Holdings Ltd. He is the company.
Mike Coburn was being paid $1000 per day as Project Delivery Team member to push the stadium construction further while failing in his duty as a director of DCHL to inform DCC that DCHL was unable to supply dividends to pay off the stadium debt.
Mike Coburn invoiced the CST $4,429.69 for the one day casual hire of his corporate box so that the Project Delivery Team could watch the All Blacks vs Wales test match.
This invoice was approved by Malcolm Farry then sent to DCC for payment under the guise of construction cost.
Mike Coburn also invoiced CST $2,409.69 for extra Test tickets for the same All Blacks vs Wales game.
[Malcolm] Farry then claimed this as a construction cost of the stadium.
Did Coburn also claim $1000 payment for attending the test match day as well because he was ‘working’?
Who were the other tickets bought for?
Who are the members of the Project Delivery Team?
Are these members all being paid $1000 per day and did they all get paid $1000 to attend the rugby as well as their tickets paid for?
Do any of these other members also have conflicts of interest?
Covering note from DCC:
As previously indicated, here is the covering note for the release of Ruboc invoice information.
“Please find attached the information requested regarding Ruboc Holdings Ltd invoices. All the invoices held by the Council have been released. The invoices, in the main, cover Ruboc Holding’s[sic] time in respect of the many meetings attended relevant to the delivery of the stadium project including those with the PDT, DCC committees, Council meetings, University, DVML and Hawkins.
“Two invoices relate to the rental of a suite at Carisbrook. The hosting of contractors at Carisbrook was an exercise by the PDT to strengthen the working relationship primarily between the main contractor Hawkins, subcontractors and Arrow International Ltd at a time when they were facing significant challenges to reduce costs to remain within budget. Initially there was only sufficient interest to fill part part the suite and Ruboc committed to the balance but as word got around, enthusiasm grew as did the numbers, and Ruboc had to forgo the balance, hence two invoices.
“I trust this answers your enquiry.”
[DCC governance manager]
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr