This post shares my experiences crossing swords with ‘big-shot’ Sir David Hay, who along with his brothers runs a commercial empire established by his father Keith Hay [Homes, of course]. I have found this supposedly well-respected businessman to lack humility, play fast and loose with due process, rely on gossip and lacks integrity & empathy. Really? Cor blimey! Talk about telling it like it is and taking on the rich and powerful. Read on if you dare!
When David took on Goliath, there was a fair bit of ego involved. Granted that one of those egos related to his size and braun and the other was faith in a living God, but to think that David didn’t dance on the big man’s dead body might be a little naive! I reckon he let it rip and had a huge party.
Whatever, ego ALWAYS leads to a decent fight, or at least a showdown sooner or later. Slingshot, six-shooters, lances, or nukes it’s always the same . . . and somebody’s going to get their comeuppance in any fight. Sometimes it is both parties and nobody wins but it can be that there is a winner and a loser – if fought to the death.
I’m like that, and have the propensity to escalate a fight to the death. The phrase I use to describe this approach is that I never give up – ever. I also say things like, “I am a man of principle, I am a black and white guy,” that I will fight for the truth, or the little guy, or no matter what the consequences.
I often use an analogy that when you tie the big man’s shoe-laces it is inevitable that he will fall – all you gotta do is get the setup right (the shoelaces part) then taunt him, tease him, bait him and let him make the move – he’ll fall by his own weight and movement. Like David, when Goliath was destined to death even before he fell, so too a big man like David Hay, with his shoelaces tied, he will fall.
While I don’t go around killing people as a habit, I can and do name the arrogant, the bullies and people I call “crooks, crims & crazies”, on my Hall of Shame which is my way of dealing to injustice – exposure. Sir David John Hay gains infamy today by joining others who have crossed my path and made fools of themselves in various ways. David gains this credential through acting poorly in a commercial dispute, which I will shortly detail for the macabre record.
The Commercial Conflict
There are many important takehomes from this specific sorry saga. As I said to David in person recently (forgive the language but this is what was actually spoken) “Some people are arseholes by nature and others are seen to be arseholes by showing others up for who they really are!” This was in the context of a rather testy exchange where the big-shot businessman showed patronising contempt for a little pr*ck businessman [me of course] who dared to challenge him and his company. “Get a life son; do you really enjoy what you do [causing the rest of us good guys problems]” was the general intent of his mocking. It was a bit ugly but his contempt oozed arrogance and to be quite honest, ‘p*ssed me off’.
David Hay is a powerful businessman with many companies and staff. He isn’t known for generosity among his tenants and they generally fear him – that’s not a crime though – he has every right to keep his dollars for himself and to squeeze his tenants however he likes. I though, have no fear and can and did stand up to his arrogance in a commercial dispute. I effectively tied his shoelaces (by doing everything right) then when I had no other option left, I sued him. He may not realise it yet, maybe he is starting to get the picture, but the way I look at it all, he’s a dead man walking now, trapped by his own arrogance, set up for a fall, and in a very public way.
My claim is that his company did something wrong (technically it is called a breach of contract) and that this cost me (my company). I did the honourable thing and approached him personally, explained the problem that one of his staff created for us; I sought to discuss the matter face to face, then when he told me to p*ss off, I took the matter to court*. I will win this court case without a doubt because I speak the truth, have the evidence and from what I’ve seen David is a rank amateur at conflict resolution, and clearly a novice in dealing with court matters.
The background to our dispute is that one of his tenants and I did some business together in which we installed a 40′ high cube container into the tenant’s carpark. One of David Hay’s companies was my mate’s landlord. We sought permission from the tenants on either side who had no issue with either the presence or the location of the container. David’s Property Manager too checked it all out in the first week of its arrival, privately – all sweet.
Goliath’s The big guy’s man said [paraphrased] that the container was there for 116 days but that they “only just found out about it” [BS] and that it had to go . . . forthwith. They gave a whole bunch of reasons which were all either valid or seemed perfectly reasonable.
We said, “Sure, no problem, we’ve already arranged for another place so we’ll do whatever you want!” We agreed to a departure date, and a few other technicalities but two hours later an email arrived. Sorry, so sorry but you gotta go inside 7 days not 21 days. Ummmm, hang on, you can’t do that, we say.
In commercial law when a contract is entered into, any breach of that contract becomes a tort, i.e. a legal problem, for the one who has broken that contract – unsurprisingly David Hay included. The aggrieved party has a right to enforce the original contract and if costs have been incurred as a result of that breach, they can ask the courts to award those costs by way of damages. There’s a whole lot more to this in legal mumbo jumbo but basically if you do what you say you will there cannot be any problem [usually] and if you don’t do what you agree to then you’re in
the sh*t legal trouble.
A critical factor in this ‘contract’ thing is that a verbal agreement is a contract (in legal terms) and is actually legally binding. Many people do not realise this and think that because there is no signature and no piece of paper, then there is no contract. This is NOT correct – a verbal agreement is legally binding – you’ve just got to prove on the balance of probabilities what that contract was in a court setting.
Furthermore even if there is an implied agreement (for example if something has been done a certain way for any reasonable length of time) then this too can become legally enforceable. This is the legal principle of estoppel – the fancy pants word comes from French [a bung] – you are stopped from unilaterally changing something that has been previously clearly accepted.
So these goons listened to some gossip and changed the agreement on us unilaterally. Property Manager Alan Fenton slipped us an email and we had a couple of choices – comply, fight, or be tricky dudes and play games. I can and could have done any of these but chose to comply, then approached the big-shot personally. An email exchange occurred. I warned him that he was defaming my company and me; that he was working with partial and incorrect information from people with vested interests (his staff wanted to protect their butts and the gossip-mongers wanted us out – some people can be real sneaky pricks can’t they?) and I invited him to sit down and talk about things man-to-man.
I told him that I didn’t want a fight with him but that injustice had occurred at his hands and David’s response “this has all grown out of proportion” and “I won’t talk about it any more” shows the real man up as arrogant and a bully. That he also chose to believe gossip is simply foolishness. Speak to another dude who learned the price of leaning on gossip, Savea Sano Malifa about that if you want another example of this.
Then when the court case came, his secretary Sue Gerbich slipped a request for the case to be adjourned into the court. “Keith Hay Homes Ltd knows nothing about what this is all about!” she said. BS. Sue Gerbich personally as David Hay’s secretary received the first three emails relating to the case. Oops! Oh dear – caught, pants down! Why ever would a company secretary lie I wonder? Surely she wouldn’t do this on her own bat would she? I mean in the office next door was her boss. Perhaps she was instructed to . . . oh dear . . . Mr Hay, do you hate me for exposing these ethics? Why? I’m just applying logic onto facts . . .
So that’s now three people from this crowd who operate unethically – 1) Alan Fenton who lies (that he only just found out, when in fact he knew from the outset) and breaches contract on a whim and based on gossip; 2) Sue Gerbich who lies to the court about not knowing anything when she did; and 3) the head poncho himself who got fooled by gossip, doesn’t give a rat’s behind whether his companies actions caused damages to the little guy, almost certainly instructed his secretary to try to “have it on with the court” . . . you get the picture, I’m sure by now. Not good!
But none of this is anything new in the world. People lie and steal every day. Big guys squeeze the little guys and concepts such as ethical conduct, honouring your agreements and justice are foreign to many, unfortunately. So why the big deal over Mr Hay? Several reasons:
- First he is a ‘Sir’;
- His attitude and ethics are IMHO contemptuous;
- He took me on; and
- He claims a Christian faith;
For whatever reason, the leaders of New Zealand bestowed him a title “Sir”. He accepted that and thus exposure of his conduct is in the public interest. If he’s a crook or a good-guy that public interest is the same. I as most people would expect a “Sir” to conduct themselves ethically. I met and my parents knew Sir Edmund Hillary years ago and while he might have been a bit brutal in his language for his day “knocking the bastard off!” he was straight. That’s what we as a society expect from our knights, isn’t it? David inherited his wealth and has built upon it – I can now see the way that he did this. If he will do this to me, he’ll do it to others for sure, and as a Christian (albeit non-denominational and one who pushes the boundaries) I consider exposure of wolves in sheep’s fleeces within our midst important.
This sorry saga has huge and important lessons for observers. In my experience people of David Hay’s ilk rarely repent or apologise, instead slandering, lying, covering up and making things worse for their victim, but for those of us who do learn and want to understand from others foolishness, here is my take:
- When somebody comes to you with a problem, listen to them. Don’t argue straight up. Give them the time of day, look ’em straight in the eye and give ’em respect. If you don’t then don’t expect them all to just go away. Some of them may stand up and fight;
- Work with facts. If you listen to gossip and if you get sucked in by it (for whatever reason – they are your staff or you have a position of power over them as landlord, or otherwise) then you may end up paying in the end for that trust in gossip;
- Turning off communication is a killer. When you say, “I will not talk anymore about it!” you draw a line in the sand. This is an ultimatum which means effectively, “You now have two choices – bugger off or escalate the matter”. Do not be surprised then if you end up with a ‘situation’ on your hands!
- Pick your fights. Nobody is perfect and you will always end up in a fight with someone, somewhere, sometime. Pick those fights and be ready to defend if you are attacked unjustly. Some people can have genuine complaints. Consider whether each fight is worthy to be fought. I get this all the time. Dennis, you’ve been pinging Bartercard, or BBX or [whoever] what about *** – they’re just as bad. I choose who I wish to take on and whom to leave alone;
- Do things right – all the time and pre-empt trouble. When you do this you can never lose in a fair trial or examination. This applies to legal stoushes and personal ones. As an example, I confess openly and often up-front that “I love the sound of my own voice” which is a direct quote from Victor Hafichuk’s correct accusation a few years ago. I also explain in advance that I can be a prized pr*ck or if the situation demands it a real c*nt due to my determination and unwillingness to deny truth or justice for pragmatic reasons. In a commercial situation (like with our stoush with David Hay) I readily admitted that we had to move on, that we would (and did comply). That left us totally free to focus on his breach of contract. It was not a tit-for-tat situation because we did things right and . . . ;
- Collect critical evidence. There is no point turning up at court and telling the court that the other guy is a bad guy. There is no point in even arguing something factual in court unless you have the evidence. I learned this important lesson 43 years ago in my first legal stoush, when a judge said, Mr Smith, I find in your favour BECAUSE YOU SHOWED ME THE EVIDENCE;
- Don’t play tricky with the court. They’re not interested. One of David Hay’s big mistakes in his approach to our conflict was to try to be smart – with me by muscling me, patronising me and telling me to be grateful that they didn’t sue us. Then with the court, by pretending to not know what the case was all about, then trying it on again in court attempting to hide the real entity. Eventually the Adjudicator found the facts and we proceeded – nothing constructive gained. In the process though David Hay showed his real colours – crooked;
- Find the truth before you have to go to court. In our dispute I scratched my head in amazement that David looked across the table and genuinely wanted to know something from me. It was a crucial piece of the puzzle and I told him the answer immediately. I found it incredible that a senior businessman didn’t even know the facts before he went to court! All he had to do was ask me months before and I would have told him!
- Never go to court nor ask a question in court unless you already know the answer. The reason for this is that you may get an answer that destroys your case/story. The reason that I have never lost a court case in 43 years of standing up for justice is that I will only ever go to court if I know the FULL score. I do this for one reason – I hate losing. I therefore do things right, have the evidence and never give up;
- Deal with the core issues. In our case against David Hay’s company there is a truckload of history – he said, she said, he did, she did and on and on, but there is only one core crucial thing that really matters – the contract. Was there one, and if so what was it? From there all else flows – was it breached and if so when and how and to who’s disadvantage;
- Have your witnesses there. David Hay first claimed that he was upset at having to attend what he saw as a ‘frivolous’ court case and wasting his time. Then he didn’t have his key witness(es) there and then wanted an adjournment. Duh! Even worse though was that the week before I had given him this exact same counsel – be prepared and have the right people there.
I guess there’s not necessarily any connection between wealth and wisdom.
David Hay has shown me to be a bully in business. He is a man with power, wealth and prestige but little understanding of reality around him. He is deceived by his staff and tenants who obviously fear him feeding him BS for various purposes. He has little understanding of court processes and procedures, has no compunction about playing ‘silly-buggers’ in order to try to get one up on others, all this with blatant disregard for the position of others he has caused losses to.
Sir David John Hay, Managing Director of multiple entities which he calls the “Keith Hay Group”, is now on my Hall of Shame. He has a right of reply at any time which I will post in full unmoderated should he ever deign to speak to a mere mortal like me.
He is under a written defamation warning and has not identified one misrepresentation within anything I have said in court, in court documents or in direct written or phone conversation.
I stand by what I have said above and unless there is a correction or matters are resolved through professional processes, I fully expect the court to award us costs in due course. I’ll update this post accordingly.
To David, I say:
Your shoelaces are tied. Step and you will fall. I have warned you that you do not know the full story, that the information you are and have been working with is incomplete and false; I speak and have spoken the truth.
I advise you to do the honourable thing, Sir.
New Zealand’s top blogger, Cameron Slater used to say (until he got his wings clipped a little and toned it down), NFWAB (Never F*ck With A Blogger). It’s not the blogging aspect that matters so much as being fearless to speak and hold out for the truth. Blogging simply amplifies a situation. That can be highly threatening for those with skeletons in the closet. David has some.
He (Cam) also says frequently that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”. Sir David Hay may not appreciate exposure like this, but if he and his support circle have any of the proverbial, they will use it as a huge wakeup call and get real and grow up. If they do, I will support them in that endeavour but it will not be at the price of truth, nor under threat.
This post is not about me. It is not even about David Hay. It is about justice and truth and standing up for it. Like a rock in a river causes a wake, so too does a truthseeker, more correctly a truth-speaker.
Thank you for swinging by again today. Hopefully the three hours I spent writing this will be appreciated by someone, somewhere, sometime.
Go and make the world a better place. Tie a few shoelaces of your own then tell me who the Giant was who fell when he stepped out without checking that all was in order first.
* I also invited him to bring in his leadership from his church prior to this which is a core teaching of Christianity – deal with it in house if you can. He either doesn’t understand this or doesn’t care about it or chose not to for whatever reason, that’s his business.