This Open Letter to Lotto summarises a report I wrote and supplied to Mayor Don Cameron of the Ruapehu District Council on 6 May 2019 in which I claimed that their application before Lotto contains factual errors and would very likely fail basic due diligence.
To: Lotto Community Grants Board
I am a licensed Private Investigative Blogger and Managing Director of Writing the Wrong Ltd. On 6 May 2019, I wrote a report that analysed aspects of the Ruapehu District Council’s application R-LEH-2019-109193 and supplied this to RDC’s mayor Don Cameron.
This report is available from my personal website: www.dennis.co.nz.
In this report I detailed concerns over several aspects of this application that related to integrity, essentially claiming that misrepresentation had occurred.
I stated that the community contribution of $50,000.00 claimed to be contributed “in cash” was in fact only a pledge; that the conditions associated with this pledge were unknown (despite formal requests for clarification); that the funds in question were actually contested and that the writer(s) of this report knew these facts and deliberately omitted them from the application.
Subsequent to this delivering this report, the RDC Mayor and CEO invited me to discuss my claims and both refused outright to clarify the situation to Lotto, despite multiple direct requests to do so. I have also blogged a series in which I share my thoughts about related corruption.
In my report I also stated that a major purpose claimed in the application was also misrepresented, namely that should the grant be successful it would be used for the housing of “a significant collection of photographs etc”. I explained that not only was this factually incorrect, but that the writer(s) again knew very well that this was so, thus deception was again apparent.
My investigation also failed to find evidence of any mandate from the people of the King Country for the promised RDC contribution, despite the council-pledged commitment included in the application necessarily triggering the Significant Expenditure processes as required under the LGA 2002, and RDC’s own guidelines. With differing stories issued at different times over who will be paying for this project and how much it will cost, I consider the entire project to be founded on deception, thus is ultimately fanciful.
I found no explanation of these several differences between what is claimed in the application and fact, thus believe that deception is present by deliberate design. It is my opinion that these failures cannot reasonably be put down to simply human errors or miscommunication but that they are deliberately designed to deceive the funding agency.
While I have called this application “fatally flawed” this is a personal assessment, not a recommendation. I have no interest in influencing the Board’s decision one way or the other. My primary concern is that this application is considered on the basis of fact. I recommend that your due diligence be thorough and I am available for further clarification, referees or supporting documents if this is required.
Dennis A. Smith
Licensed Investigative Blogger
Writing the Wrong Ltd
UPDATE: The Ruapehu District Council’s million dollar application to Lotto failed. Successful applicants are listed: https://www.communitymatters.govt.nz/lottery-environment-and-heritage/lottery-environment-and-heritage-fund-201819-round-two-grants-made/