Fortune member feels ‘ripped off’

The Fortune Theatre. Photo: ODT files
The Fortune Theatre. Photo: ODT files
Some members and ticket-holders of the now closed Fortune Theatre have missed out on a refund from the theatre’s liquidator.

One woman, a pensioner who contacted the Otago Daily Times, said she felt "absolutely ripped off" after putting aside money each fortnight for a season ticket, then missing out on a refund.

But the Fortune’s liquidator Insolvency Management Ltd said creditors had an element of personal responsibility to keep abreast of the situation and put in their claims before the process closed.

The theatre closed in May after the trust running it said it was no longer financially viable.

Insolvency Management Ltd last week said all external creditors, ticket-holders and members had been paid.

But some members and season ticket-holders have said they missed notices in the newspaper inviting creditors to make claims, and should have been advised through email lists they say the Fortune held.

Janet Crowe, of Dunedin, said she pre-paid  all her tickets for the year.

"I budget every fortnight when the pension comes in, I put aside money for that ticket, so when I get to January I’ve got enough to pay for the season ticket, which is over $100."

She said the Fortune had her email address.

"I just want people to know that they’re just ripping off old people as well.

"I’m gutted. I was gutted when it closed, and I feel absolutely ripped off now."

Former Fortune Theatre Trust chairwoman Dame Elizabeth Hanan said she had heard of more people who had been caught out by the situation.

"Most of these people don’t have great incomes, so this is quite a substantial outlay for them.

"To my way of thinking it’s a moral obligation."

Friends of the Fortune president Tess Gilfedder said the trust should have done more.

"From what I have read I do believe the trust actually carried out their legal requirements, but  under the circumstances and for the sake of goodwill, an effort should have been made to contact the members who had paid 2018 subscription and advance bookings."

Fortune board of trustees chairwoman Haley van Leeuwen did not respond to questions. Instead she told the Otago Daily Times to contact Insolvency Management. Company liquidator Iain Nellies said creditors were given until August 31 to lodge a claim, but he had accepted claims right up until the day he paid out.

Mr Nellies said a list of people who bought tickets was not available to him.

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