A Dunedin bar owner denies allegations he has left staff out
of pocket, or used gang members to intimidate rivals.
About a dozen hospitality workers, including duty managers,
resigned from Metro Bar following an alleged incident last
Co-owner Ben Hanssen, along with his partner Kerry Thompson,
has interests in Dunedin-based bars Metro, Monkey Bar,
Diamond Lounge/Rumours and the Clarendon Hotel.
Employees of Metro Bar's parent company, Great Southern
Group, contacted the Otago Daily Times following the
publication of an article last week about the unnamed bar
owner, now confirmed as Mr Hanssen.
Mr Hanssen, when asked if he owed former Metro staff wages,
employed gang members to repossess equipment from a rival
bar, or knew of concrete being poured down the drain of a
rival business, replied: ''I am not aware of any of [their
Police last week said they were investigating the
Mr Hanssen, when asked specifically this week about gang
members being used to take back equipment previously
repossessed from one of his bars, replied: ''I can't see the
relevance of that question''.
''I am not providing any comment on that. I have seen an
article you have published, presumably on behalf of the
police, and I am not commenting on it.''
A former staff member, who declined to be named for fear of
reprisals, said the September 20 incidents prompted a mass
resignation of Metro staff.
He said those staff were owed thousands of dollars in wages
and holiday pay, and concerns had been raised about the
payment of taxes.
Asked if he was confident of ever being paid, he replied: ''I
am not going to get this money.''
He said those involved were ''scared because a gang is