Self Dealing and the Everyman Records Case
In 2016, the Auditor General wrote to Council regarding serious irregularities involving contracts where a councillor is an interested party. The Auditor General communicates completely inappropriate Council behaviour which looks to be multiple cases of corruption -
- "the information that we have been provided with in some cases is incorrect, misleading or inaccurate;
- the process Council officers are using to award some of the contracts in some cases does not appear to comply with Council's own procurement policy;
- we were told in one application that work would be tendered, then later it turned out not to have been;" [emphasis added]
"We have previously raised concerns about Council's processes for awarding contracts for events and festivals, and for seeking approval for its councillors to be interested in those contracts." [emphasis added]
The AG is describing what appears to be multiple cases of self dealing, a crime in many jurisdictions, where people have gone to jail. This apparent behaviour is from people that WE elected! If they're misleading the AG with apparent impunity, what is the probability of them providing the full story to the voters? The press and Council seemed to downplay the situation as minor procedural issues, lack of the most basic governance education, or even "political shenanigans." Note that the AG's letter is dated 27 September 2016, during the last election cycle, and hidden from the voters prior to election day. Seven days prior to the AG's letter, a news article stated that "Hadley [Council Chief Executive] said she was "satisfied" that Rainey had followed procedures and sought the appropriate approvals to conduct business with the council." Ironic is Matheson's statement "...After the election it will be business as usual." It would seem that some are OK with self dealing. The ONLY way to stop this behaviour is at the voting booth!
Everyman Records Case
A few years ago, someone at Council signed a deal with Everyman Records to sell tickets and collect money on behalf of the city. Everyman went broke with Council losing hundreds of thousands. The typical ticket agent agreement calls for the agent to remit funds THE NEXT DAY following an event. Somehow Everyman got a sweetheart deal where remittance was payable MONTHS after the event! With multiple events annually, Everyman effectively received an interest free, rolling loan without collateral. Gee, what could go wrong with that arrangement? So who signed that deal? Council won't disclose. A ticket agent deal is similar to a banking agreement and should REQUIRE the Chief Financial Officer's signature, and desirably the mayor. This very serious situation goes beyond incompetence and appears to have been buried. In the world of government corruption, this is about as close to robbery as it gets, in my opinion. Many of the same people that were on Council when this nonsense went down are standing again.
What we do know is that the Everyman Records director is/was a personal friend of a councillor at the time and who apparently is running for Council in this election cycle. I encourage voters to ask the incumbents for details including who signed the deal and why after years continues to hide the egregious behaviour. And if they're hiding this, what else are they hiding?
Everyman records case - 19 September 2019 - Latest News
On 15 September 2019, mayor Rachel Reese informed me that the Everyman Records case is still with the Police. I personally find it most difficult to believe that someone is actually working the case. The ratepayers, who were ripped off, deserve to know the facts.
Update from NCC - "Nelson Police have confirmed that the investigation remains ongoing and that that release of any relevant information, including the Nelson Arts Festival 2012 Ticketing Agreement, would be prejudicial to that investigation."
Really? Over six years? I will follow up with the Police. Looks like the Police may have buried the crime. White collar crime is more repulsive than petty crime as the white collar criminal likely had a reasonable upbringing and the monetary figures are generally far higher, in this case nearly $250K. I also reached out to the Nelson Mail in an effort to push this matter to some sort of closure. It is now over three years since my first official enquiry. We deserve more transparency!