Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull has expressed concern at the
decision to award an audiovisual contract for work inside the
Forsyth Barr Stadium to a new, out-of-town company linked to a
former Australian bankrupt.
The Otago Daily Times this week reported Dunedin
Venues Management Ltd had awarded the contract to DV Audio
Visual, a newly formed company with directors in Queenstown
and one shareholder in Australia.
At least two Dunedin audiovisual companies were concerned
they would be forced to cut staff as a result of missing out
on the work.
Mr Cull said he was concerned the decision showed DVML -
together with the council - was not making "enough effort" to
support Dunedin companies.
"You've got to strike a balance in these things between
work and income going out of the city and achieving the best
"I was not that comfortable in this case. I'm not sure that
the right balance has been struck."
The council could not tell DVML what to do, but there had
been talks between the two parties since the ODT published
concerns about the contract on Tuesday, Mr Cull confirmed.
"There have been discussions," he said, but declined to
DVML chief executive Darren Burden was answerable to the DVML
board, so neither Mr Cull nor Mr Orders could issue
instructions, Mr Cull said.
"We can express concern but we can't give him instructions."
Instead, it was expected DVML's procurement policy would be
considered as part of a wider review of the stadium operation
later this year, Mr Cull said.
While he did not know the details of the audiovisual
contract, Mr Cull said it was clearly "significant".
Dunedin businessman Ian Taylor first raised concerns with Mr
Cull and council chief executive Paul Orders earlier this
year, after learning former bankrupt Adam Clark, now living
in Queenstown, was working at the stadium under the company
name In House Productions.
Mr Clark was accused of leaving investors millions of dollars
out of pocket while in Australia in the early 2000s, leading
to a class action, but not a prosecution.
He was declared bankrupt in 2007, after the failure of
another business venture.
When contacted on Wednesday, Mr Orders said he had contacted
DVML after Mr Taylor first raised concerns.
"I conveyed those concerns with bells and whistles on ..."
Mr Taylor told the ODT last week he heard nothing more
from the council or DVML until learning, earlier this month,
DV Audio Visual was being promoted as DVML's preferred
provider for audiovisual services at the stadium.
DVML staff confirmed last week they had an agreement with the
company, although a contract was still to be signed this
week, leaving Mr Taylor worried DV Audio Visual was merely a
"rejigged" version of In House Productions.
Companies Office records showed Mr Clark's name was not
associated with DV Audio Visual, but the two companies shared
some directors and shareholders, including Mr Clark's mother,
Linda Clark, in Australia.
Several businessmen spoken to claimed Mr Clark was still
involved behind the scenes.
Attempts to contact Mr Clark have been unsuccessful, while DV
Audio Visual director Ian Paterson, of Queenstown, declined
to comment when contacted.
Mr Burden has declined to answer detailed questions or be
interviewed about the contract.