Is it game over?

November 16th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post report:

is facing fresh legal action, with the Inland Revenue Department seeking to liquidate five of his companies – including the one which owns the Wellington Phoenix – over $3.58 million in unpaid taxes.

The largest sum – more than $1.5m – is owed by Century City Football, owner of football team, for PAYE tax deductions, GST and KiwiSaver contributions.

I hope Serepisos survives, but if he does I suspect he will not be hosting again anytime soon.

In July I was in Hong Kong and surprised to see very large ads in the local paper there for his new apartment block. My reaction was that sales back home can’t be going too well, if you are needing to advertise in Hong Kong.

A Wellington City Council spokesman, Richard MacLean, said the council was “very concerned” over the future of the Phoenix but was unlikely to contribute ratepayers’ money. “We are not in the business of owning a football club.”

Good.

I’d love the team to survive also, but it is not the role of council to fund sports teams – sports infrastructure is another matter though.

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41 Responses to “Is it game over?”

  1. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    We are not in the business of owning a football club.

    But we’ll give Mr Serepisos an easy ride on his debts, due to some misguided notion that if you own a football club you’re somehow under less obligation to pay your way. And of course the little people will cover the arrears and interest, as they have no basis for special pleading.

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  2. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Why should the council provide sport facilities. When all resdients pay a poll tax or facilities are charged at a rate that makes them pay their way then the council can provide. Untill then its just a rort on ratepayers, many of whom do not use the facilities.
    Who benefits from the stadium? Let them pay.

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  3. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    Come on David we are not speaking of facilities for the under 12 soccer team here.
    Why is it that you seem to believe that professional sports teams should have their business facilities built and funded by the mug ratepayer/taxpayer ?

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  4. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    grumpy – what exactly are these business facilities are you talking about?

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  5. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    I’ve been dealing with a number of property developers over the past few months, and they are really just holding on by the skin of their teeth. Most are tapping on family / personal connections for last-ditch funding, and the commercial lending terms (if any) are just brutal (120% p.a. last deal that crossed my inbox). I hope Terry hangs in there, but not at the expense of the little guys.

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  6. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    “Why is it that you seem to believe that professional sports teams should have their business facilities built and funded by the mug ratepayer/taxpayer ?”

    I take it you feel the same way about funding the NZRU and their 2011 Rugby world cup?

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  7. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    big bruv

    Don’t tell me tax payers are spending money for the RWC as well – hell there are players being paid hundreds of thousands a year to play rugby – and yet the NZRU wants tax payers to cough in as well…. wealth transfer… if you are a kiwi your taxes are helping to make a rugby player richer than god. Why ?

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  8. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    It’s hard to be too hard on someone who owes taxes and rates… Much was just going to be wasted anyway…

    This is the problem with putting all your wealth in the property basket and trying to grow aggressively… Bob Jones told Serepisos to stick to property ownership instead of development, he should have listened…

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  9. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Jeremy Harris

    Other people told Serepisos to stick to what made him enough cash to get into property in the first place – perhaps he should have listened to them.

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  10. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    Very true… Fashion stores wasn’t it..?

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  11. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Jeremy Harris

    How far back are we going ?

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  12. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Don’t tell me tax payers are spending money for the RWC as well – hell there are players being paid hundreds of thousands a year to play rugby – and yet the NZRU wants tax payers to cough in as well…. wealth transfer… if you are a kiwi your taxes are helping to make a rugby player richer than god. Why ?

    Simple….big government and the absense of a free market.

    Waste of time trying to tell Kiwis though…seems they want to become poorer and leave their decendents mountains of debt and a shit standard of living…

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  13. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    @burt, I seem to remember reading his first business was a clothing store in Wellington…

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  14. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Jeremy Harris

    I don’t dispute he had a clothing business in Wellington.

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  15. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Serepisos, and the Gordon Ramsay’s of this World have used TV and Media generally to give them an aura of credibility.

    It was a help, and made them extra money above and beyond that which may have been expected in normal trading without the force multiplier.

    Problem is, when it all goes to shit. The same things that help them accumulate wealth and fame at a perhaps faster than normal rate.

    Then focus and beam in on the huge underlying problems. Commercial Suicide by Media.

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  16. grumpyoldhori (2,362 comments) says:

    big bruv Yep, I am against money being spent on so called athletes so they can make a fat living at ratepayer/taxpayer cost.
    Want a flash stadium great, fund and build it themselves with no input from mug taxpayers.
    Existing stadiums built by the taxpayer should be used for amateur sports only.

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  17. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    grumpyoldhori

    Ratepayers subsidised the cake tin and then when a big game comes to town only a small portion of the population can afford the tickets. – That is big govt in action for you.

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  18. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    burt

    What ever are you suggesting?

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  19. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    Seriposis is toast, unfortunately.

    I thought this when his rates were overdue, now it is the IRD.

    His investments are obviously not returning enough money to cover his costs, as the last thing a business wants is to be known for having no cash – who’d want to deal with with this guy now, you might not get paid.

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  20. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    night clubs and associated “trading activities” wasn’t it burt? I’m talking the 80s and that place on Wakefield St (Arena?)

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  21. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    IRD bankrupts another company.

    Great.

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  22. Bullion (68 comments) says:

    It is tough for Terry. He has lost somewhere around $5million on the Phoenix. Up till last season they had yet to break even and were hoping to break even this season, however on field performances so far my affect that forecast. The thing is that a lot of businesses in Wellington picky back the Phoenix, as shown in the economic impact study the Phoenix “contributed $7.9 million to the local economy and generated the equivalent of 68 fulltime jobs in the region.”

    Terry could at the end of the season move the Phoenix to another city which offers more in return for the financial stimulus the club brings with it, just like the Sevens.

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  23. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    insider

    I think you may find that the late Ray Johns owned the Arena nightclub.

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  24. KiwiGreg (3,255 comments) says:

    “The thing is that a lot of businesses in Wellington picky back the Phoenix, as shown in the economic impact study the Phoenix “contributed $7.9 million to the local economy and generated the equivalent of 68 fulltime jobs in the region.”

    So basically less value than a Pak N Save?

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  25. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Terry was a co-owner of Ecstacy Plus (not Arena – that was Ray Johns) in Courtenay Place. He also owned Trellini menswear I think before he started up Ecstacy Plus.

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  26. PaulD (97 comments) says:

    “He has lost somewhere around $5million on the Phoenix.” If it wasn’t for the spin associated with supporting the Phoenix perhaps he might have been shut down already.

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  27. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    “Inland Revenue Department seeking to liquidate five of his companies”

    Another example of a fucking useless government bureaucrats and agency trying to grind down a productive business man of the society into bankruptcy. Yep, useless IRD employees are leechers of the society because they ain’t produce wealth at all. Anyone remember property developer David Henderson? They tried the same thing with Mr Henderson but David ended up evicting the fucking thieving IRD from his own building they were leasing at the time.

    I still see some commentators here who are confused. First, Terry Serepisos doesn’t owe money to the IRD. The IRD legally coerced Terry Serepisos to give them money. Remember, the IRD or the government don’t produce wealth. It is the private sectors including entrepreneurs such as Terry Serepisos that do where the IRD/government then coerce businesses to pay tax to them.

    We should celebrate our entrepreneurs and stop this fucking tall poppy syndrome that is so common in this country (coming from both left & right of the political spectrum).

    I say, downsize the IRD (sack most of the useless bureaucrats there), because they’re the wealth destroyer of any society. All they do is leech and not produce anything.

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  28. J Mex (190 comments) says:

    Anyone remember property developer David Henderson?

    Yes Falafulu Fisi. I believe he was in court yesterday, fighting off $70 million or so worth of creditors. Not a current shining example of an entrepreneur we should celebrate.

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  29. beautox (422 comments) says:

    >> IRD bankrupts another company.

    Don’t be stupid. I’d be fucking rich if it weren’t for the IRD

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  30. wreck1080 (3,917 comments) says:

    For you clowns who think this is the ird’s fault. At the end of the day you only pay tax when you make a profit.

    I realise this is a simplification, and they have not said what types of taxes / penalities are owed.

    If he has not been paying PAYE, then , really, he should not be in business.

    It raises questions about his business skills if anything.

    I do have complaints about the way IRD assesses income, since it is possible that you can be taxed on income you have not earned yet (this happened with me). But, if you are a good business person and keep aware of the rules, then this can be managed.

    Businesses that flourish in the good times, but fail in the poor times are not good businesses.

    But, I feel I’m arguing against people who don’t believe in taxation. Those people should perhaps move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.

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  31. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    But, I feel I’m arguing against people who don’t believe in taxation. Those people should perhaps move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.

    I think you’ll find most people aren’t arguing against taxes for legitimate government functions, such as courts, police, armed forces, prisons, etc as long as the money is spent prudently and accountably…

    What I argue against is wasted taxes, when you consider the above functions require 3% – 5% of GDP yet taxes consume 37% of GDP you can see we are wasting an inordinate amount of money better spent in expanding economy and therefore our standard of living and raising incomes for all NZers…

    If you lefties could please stop with the endless repetition that right wing people want Somalia that’d be great, we don’t want no government just small government…

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  32. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    wreck “If he has not been paying PAYE, then , really, he should not be in business.”
    Fully agree, not paying PAYE on time is tantamount to theft. If he can’t afford to pay the PAYE then his chances of getting out of this hole are pretty slim. I predict some asset sales on the horizon.

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  33. Phil (127 comments) says:

    I feel I’m arguing against people who don’t believe in taxation. Those people should perhaps move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.

    No income tax (or very little) in Monaco either…

    Businesses that flourish in the good times, but fail in the poor times are not good businesses.

    On this, I couldn’t agree with you more.

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  34. Michael (909 comments) says:

    It looks like Serepisos has a cashflow problem – he has plenty of assets but needs to convert them to cash, but isn’t willing to do so at a discount. At some point he is going to have to bite the bullet and sell something nice to Bob Jones cheaply.

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  35. Guy Fawkes (702 comments) says:

    Terry out of business by Xmas?

    This sort of publicity is a Company Killer.

    Who wants to anything for nothing?

    CASH is KING.

    Profit is Opinion, and CASH is a matter of fact.

    Cash is the lifeblood of business. perhaps he should have spent more time on his business, rather than having a crusty sock moment

    watching himself on TV. I wish him well, and hope that his Empire survives. No Cash? hmmmmmmmmmmm

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  36. Dave Mann (1,218 comments) says:

    As Jeremy writes, we need smaller government but one which is more efficiently focused on the essentials, rather than no government at all. I have no problem at all with (properly) funding police, justice, defence, healtham absolute objection to all the other parasitic tentacles which strangle every attempt to progress, grow and develop.

    The list is too long to type out on this mobile phone, but you get the idea… the social controllers, conservation organisations and the petty government interferers in almost every walk of life.

    Having said this, though, I think anybody with any common business sense should be able to plan for his taxes and rates and the writing is on the wall in capital letters for this Terry Whatsisname character who’s name I can’t spell on my mobile keypad.

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  37. Brian Harmer (687 comments) says:

    Burt: “Ratepayers subsidised the cake tin and then when a big game comes to town only a small portion of the population can afford the tickets.”

    Someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember reading that all the money lent to the stadium trust was repaid with interest many years ago now. It was a business investment, not a handout, and I think it has brought far more to Wellington ratepayers than the interest on the loan.

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  38. PaulD (97 comments) says:

    The annual report will correct you. The only interest component seems to relate to a WCC underwriting separate from the main interest free loans from the Regional and City Councils. The loans repayable when there are surpluses. None in 2009 :(

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  39. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Phil (72) Says:
    I feel I’m arguing against people who don’t believe in taxation. Those people should perhaps move to Somalia, where there are no taxes.

    There’s always a tax … if not impossed by government .. Somalia has gang run on street protection tax.

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  40. Jeremy Harris (319 comments) says:

    Interest free loans are a subsidy (gift) as a dollar today is worth more than one tommorrow…

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