Archive for July 2014

Dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception – the City Tatts property development

When it comes to obtaining a financial advantage by deception at City Tatts the prize has always been a property development on the Club’s site.

As far back as 2006, a few astute members felt that the real game plan was to run the Club so badly that it would have to be “saved” by a property development. Everything that has happened since then proves that  this was indeed the plan.

Let’s face it, a deliberate plan ro run the Club into the ground is the only explanation for what has happened to City Tatts. It is simply impossible for a club with a large freehold building and 400 poker machines to be in such dire straits with honest management. There is no need for any property development. Anyone who cared about the Club or the members would never entertain the idea of a property development. The only people promoting a property development are people who will make money from it.

So members have been deceived all the way on this insane property proposal. Here is an outline of the key steps in the conspiracy.

1 The Purchase of 194 Pitt Street

Everything about the purchase of 194 Pitt Street in 2007 was dishonest. It has been covered many times elsewhere but basically members were conned into buying it on the basis of dishonest promises of what it would do for members – when the real reason was to use it as part of a future property development.

2 Joining with Colliers

The game plan all along was to push the plan so far, in secret, that it would be too late for members to stop it. That’s why the Committee were negotiating with Colliers unknown to members in 2012. It was only after the talks were revealed in the Sydney Morning Herald that Campion told members what he was doing.

3 Airspace Information Meetings – dishonest all the way.

Basically Campion and Guilfoyle realised that a full and complete account of what they were doing would frighten members, who would then reject the plan. So a decision was made to say anything that would keep the members onside and then drip feed the truth at a later date. These are some examples:

“The Club will retain ownership of all assets”.

Campion told members that the Club would always own the apartments and Mirvac would sell them as leasehold. This was never going to happen and, sure enough, a year later Campion admitted that they would be sold off like any other apartments. Then Campion said the Club would retain ownership of the hotel. Now he says he might have to sell it to pay down the debt accumulated during construction.

The amount of money spent to date on the development plan

Campion has continually deceived members about how much the Club has spent on his plan. First it was “at no cost” to the Club. Then it was $50,000. In December 2013 he told members it was $220,000. In fact it was over $900,000 by then, as the accounts prove. There was no way members would have agreed to spending that much – and Campion knew it. Next he will say we have spent so much we can’t stop now.

Consultants

One of the key elements of the plan has been to bring in a small army of consultants who are paid, with members money, to persuade members that it is a good idea. Probably the most outrageous was a clown from RSM Bird Cameron who said the massive debt will be paid off easily in a few years.

The Mortgage on 196-204 Pitt Street

Moving from NAB to ANZ was a key step in the conspiracy to railroad the members into a property development. By early 2013 NAB had enough of Guilfoyle and City Tatts and told them to go – after 40 years of doing business with the Club. But ANZ would only lend if they got a mortgage over the Club’s building at 196-204 Pitt Street. The problem for Campion was that members had to approve any new mortgage which would have alerted them to the dire financial condition of the Club. So Campion just signed the mortgage himself without telling members. This, of course, made ANZ a key player in any dealings on the site. Just look at Marrickville RSL to realise the significance of this. 

The DA lodged by Mirvac

If you want conclusive proof that there has always been a conspiracy to do a property development regardless of what members simply look at the DA lodged by Mirvac last month. There was supposed to be a member vote on this in June before any DA would be lodged. But when the vote was postponed (because Mirvac were stalling) Mirvac just went ahead anyway and lodged the DA. They had not even committed to a Development Management Agreement with City Tatts when they lodged it.

There is no doubt whatsoever – the proposed development at City Tatts is the result of a sustained conspiracy to obtain a financial advantage by deception.

 

Save City Tatts Committee

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Posted July 29, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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Traffic Consultants – Optimists, Idiots or just Prostitutes?

Here at Save City Tatts we are new to the DA process – but we are learning fast!

But we might need some help with traffic issues.

As you probably know, at one of the “member briefings” a few months ago Mirvac made a bizarre reference to 7 levels of basement parking in their planned development of the City Tatts site. This was strange because the original plan put to members had no parking and Mirvac openly stated that they would sell the apartments without any parking.

So what changed?

Well, at those “member briefings” the number one comment from anyone who indicated any interest in buying an apartment was that they would want parking.

So in response Mirvac are now promising to offer parking. But if they really believed it was possible wouldn’t they have included it in the first place (given their alleged extensive CBD knowledge and supposed excellent relations with Sydney council) ?

Anyway, they now propose to have 100 car spaces over 7 levels. This will require a 6.4m wide access driveway on Pitt St (yes, on Pitt Street about 20m from Market Street). But because the car park area on each level is so small any ramp would be too steep. So they are going to use a car lift. We are not making this up! The residents will drive into a lift and go down in their car in the lift to their car space.

Now we come to the main point. As part of Mirvac’s campaign to convince the Council that this will work they have paid someone called Andrew Morse to prepare a Traffic Impact Report (which is where we got the details noted above).

If you want a good laugh you should read it. It’s on the City of Sydney website. Everyone we know who read it just burst out laughing.

Let’s start with a few gems from the report.

Morse makes the bizarre claims that “the provision of the driveway access limits vehicular activity from this frontage” and providing direct access to a car park “should reduce potential conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians”.

Well, no. Constructing a new entrance to a new car park on Pitt Street would create vehicular activity and create conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians where there were none before.

Then there a few statements which, if not actually false, are highly optimistic to say the least.

According to Morse, “the probability that a queue of greater than one car will occur is unlikely” and the car park “is unlikely to result in any detrimental impact on the overall operation of surrounding road network”. We think he will need to be in direct contact with Mary McKillop to make these predictions come true.

The Traffic Impact Report is also notable for what it doesn’t say. What about the 100 room hotel? Are the guests going to arrive and leave by helicopter? Just stop and think about any guest arriving at any hotel. They usually arrive by taxi, which stops in front of the hotel. Then they pay the fare, get out and get their bags. Now just picture all that happening on Pitt Street, 20 metres from Market Street, on a Friday afternoon.

As we say, we are new to this DA game. So we simply ask the question: traffic consultants – are they optimists, idiots or just prostitutes?

 

Save City Tatts Committee

 

 

Posted July 26, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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Oh no – James Kennedy is gone!

That’s right, James Kennedy (no relation to John Kennedy) has left KPMG. It got a mention in today’s Financial Review.

What will happen now to the “corporate governance” on the proposed development?

Kennedy’s official role was to make sure everything about the selection of a developer and the development itself was above board. Actually, many suspect his real function was to reassure members long enough to allow Campion and Guilfoyle to push the project so far that members would not be able to stop it.

In a way, we are sorry to see him go because we were looking forward to seeing how he would handle the Johny Bineham issue at the next property meeting. (Johny Bineham was expelled from the Club by phone on the afternoon of the lasr property meeting to prevent him asking tough questions that alerted members to the dangers of the development.)

Hmmm, wonder why Kennedy left just now.

Was it something we said?

 

Save City Tatts Committee

Posted July 24, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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Dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception – Phillip Binns

Continuing with our series on how City Tatts leads the way when it comes to dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception let’s have a look at the strange case of Phillip Binns.

In December 2006 members revolted and called for change. The Club’s response was unusual to say the least. They decided to get rid of the NSW Electoral Commission as returning officer and get a new one.

They selected a man called Phillip Binns. What makes this strange was that he worked for the NSW Electoral Commission at the time and continued to work there for 4 years after he took over as returning officer for City Tatts. (He ran this business in the name of Ema Estevez)

And City Tatts is not the only club where Phillip Binns shafted the NSW Electoral Commission and grabbed the business for himself. In fact one club recalls Binns telling them that the NSW Electoral Commission no longer acted for clubs, as part of his campaign to get the contract for himself.

So let’s see. A government employee conspires to take business from the very department he works for – in order to get that business for himself.

Wouldn’t that have to be “dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception”?

 

Save City Tatts Committee

 

Posted July 20, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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Dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception – John Kennedy

Who could forget John Kennedy and his skim operation on the Bookmakers Superannuation Fund (now called Progress Super).

Certainly not the unfortunate members of the fund!

It has been covered many times here (and in the Australian Financial Review) so we don’t need to go into details.

Suffice to say that John Kennedy, the Chairman of City Tatts, and his three amigos set up a scheme to skim off .6% of every member’s accumulated retirement savings every year – ostensibly for “promoting” the fund, in reality for doing nothing. Fund members were told that they would benefit from “economies of scale” as the fund grew. This was a blatant lie since the skim fee was a fixed percentage of their balance and therefore there was no benefit whatsoever to fund members from growing the fund. But there was a real benefit to Kennedy and his mates.

No question – this is dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

 

Save City Tatts Committee

Dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception – Tony Guilfoyle

In the papers last week there was a story about some poor bloke who was convicted of “dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception”.

Yes, this is actually a crime. In fact it is the strict legal definition of fraud and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

Although, if you watched City Tattersalls Club for the past 10 years you might find it hard to believe that it’s a crime.

When you think about all that has gone on in that time there are countless examples of this.

Let’s start with Tony Guilfoyle (Tweedledum).

In April 2011 the Committee found out that Guilfoyle had taken $200,000 from the Club’s bank account sometime around 2006.

Guilfoyle claimed, after it was discovered, that it was a loan.

The auditors, KPMG, said that the “loan” had never been approved by the Committee and recommended that it be repaid.

By the way the rules of the Club prohibit any loans to employees.

Isn’t that “dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception’?

 

Save City Tatts Committee

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Posted July 17, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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Mirvac – 7 months and counting!

Yes, it is now seven months since Patrick Campion told members that Mirvac were the Club’s “preferred developer”.

From one point of view nothing has changed since last month. Mirvac have never acknowledged any connection to City Tatts and have refused to sign a Development Management Agreement with City Tatts.

But. and it’s a very big but, Mirvac have lodged a DA for the City Tatts site!

That’s right, a property developer who has no authority from the members who own the site, and who refuses to commit to the Club, has lodged a DA for the Club’s site.

Remember, this crackpot development has never been approved by members. In fact it has never been put to members for approval.

Basically only Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Guilfoyle and Campion) – and Mirvac – want it.

 

Save City Tatts Committee

Posted July 14, 2014 by savecitytatts in Uncategorized

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