Sam Kelt’s Kelt Capital has “withdrawn its services” to the Sports Park Trust.

“Why?” You might ask. But don’t expect a straight answer.

Says Rex Graham, Vice-Chairman of the Sports Park Trust: “…we have differences relating to the future management of the project and as a consequence the Trust will take direct responsibility for funding and project management.” Diplomat-speak.

But, says Sam Kelt: “Kelt Capital and the Trust are in total agreement as to the manner in which the RSP project should be managed. This has had no bearing on Kelt Capital withdrawing its services. Kelt Capital has withdrawn all of its services to RSP as a direct result of the improper personal conduct of one of the RSP Trustees.”

“… improper personal conduct …” Wow!

Looks like a major failure to communicate. Sam and Rex clearly aren’t on the same page!

The situation raises a series of questions:

1. Who’s communicating more, shall we say, accurately?

2. Who is Sam referring to?

There are four Trustees — Mayor Lawrence Yule; Rex Graham, horticulture biggie; Colin Stone of Sport Hawke’s Bay; and Murray McCaw, who wrote the so-called “peer review” of Sam’s original sports park plan and thereby “earned” a Trustee slot.

BayBuzz has offered to publish — in full and unedited — any explanation Sam cares to offer. But Sam doesn’t care much for BayBuzz. Maybe one of our readers — Councillor Anne Wilson-Hunt, perhaps — can ask Sam who he’s referring to and why.

3. Doesn’t this complicate Mayor Yule’s PR campaign? He’s saying: “Everything’s hunky dory, Mr Key, just give us the money. Oh, and don’t mind those two court challenges, they’re not serious. And anyway, MPs Foss and Tremain are on my side.”

4. Speaking of sports park fundraising, who knows the true status?

Only weeks ago, with Sam Kelt present, the public was told that $1.45 million of “external funds” had been raised. But here’s what Sam said two days ago: “Kelt Capital has had either verbal commitment/offers, or in principal agreement of a further $9.0 million of RSP funding (in excess of HDC commitment) which would ensure the completion of Stage 2 of the project.”

$9 million!! That’s what I call remarkable progress in today’s economic circumstances … in only weeks. And yet we’re parting company with this financial magician — a veritable Music Man — because he’s been offended by some Trustee?! Shouldn’t we sack the Trustee?

Of course, there’s no way of confirming the real number, because neither the Hastings Council nor its front group, the Sports Park Trust, is willing to provide any details or documentation. Sam — or the Trust, for that matter — might as well claim they’ve raised $56 million, with equal credibility.

5. Which brings us to the final question: Who is actually accountable here?

Mayor Yule has hidden everything behind the Sports Park Trust, which he chairs. The Trust is a private body whose workings, decision-making, effectiveness, etc are completely hidden from the public. Lawrence, Chair of the Trust reports to Lawrence, Mayor of Hastings. Sounds medieval. And most Hastings Councillors — with fingers in ears — stand by for this sham.

In short, the whole situation smells rotten. Mayor Yule has a lot of explaining to do. Meantime, cyclists, don’t trade-in your road bikes yet! The velodrome might take awhile.

Tom Belford

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  1. It is said that 'truth is stranger than fiction". But this is getting more bizarre the longer it goes on.

    When us [Joe Public] want to have a say we are always told to

    " follow the procedure" i.e. make submissions to various plans etc.

    It seems those in 'power' can make things up as they go along -and then get miffted when the error of their ways are pointed out to them. But i guess there has always been 2 sets of rules! Depending if you are inside or outside the 'tent'!.

  2. I was told a long time ago that when you are in a hole you should stop digging. This sports park was a black hole from the beginning and it seems that its "champions" have continued to plumb its depths. IThe report in the Dom yesterday reported that $1.45. had been raised of which $1m was from Kelt Capital. If the fee has been $25k per month for 18 months that makes $450k of costs against $450k of funds raised (external to Kelt's own contribution. Do the maths! More fundamental is the complete abuse of process. I guess when you squeeze a lemon you shouldn't be surprised if lemon juice comes out!

  3. Putting aside the manifold issues about land use etc., it has always seemed to me that there is something decidedly "fishy" about Lawrence Yule being chair of the RSP Trust as well as mayor of the HDC. As anyone who has been to the update meetings about the RSP will tell you, Mr. Yule stonewalls continually when confronted with questions about the Trust and it's activities.

    "The Trust will not comment – – – – – " came up from Mr. Yule no fewer than seven times at the last update meeting! This from the chairman/mayor (or should it be mayor/chairman?) who on page 17 of the glossy Statement Of Proposal RSP writes "Appropriate accountability mechanisms will be constructed around the Trust to ensure accountability back to the community.

    – – – – requisite levels of transparency and accountability."

    The Trust seems to be a convenient shelter to hide behind when awkward but legitimate, questions are asked. My question is, "What is the legitimacy of this?"

  4. What interesting events in Hawkes Bay, 'by golly, I leave the place and then it all gets going!

    Only hope that the truth comes out about the excessively expensive fundraiser (Kelt) that Mayor Yule championed in the early days. Only hope that the people of Hastings haven't been left holding the 'baby' and will end up paying for generations to come. Mind you they did re-elect many of the Council old guard.

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