This was Bridgecorp property. It belonged to the receivers. Feeney took it knowing it was Bridgecorp’s. In the circs, it is not unreasonable to infer that he figured that nobody would know about it and therefore he could get away with taking it. Would he have done so if Bridgecorp had not gone tits up? The fact that it was worth fuck all is besides the point. Has the Crimes Act been amended to include a finders/keepers exemption?
This had nothing to do with the SFO until the SFO staff responded to the email by drinking it, having been put on notice that it was Bridgecorp property.
What does this tell us?
1. Feeney stole property that did not belong to him prior to becoming SFO head.
2. Feeney is stupid
3. SFO staff are stupid and may, strictly speaking have broken the law by helping him dispose of these stolen goods.
4. This may not go down as the crime of the century, but for shear stupidity, it has to rank up their with English claiming his housing allowance, although to be fair to English, there was nothing illegal or untoward about what he did, unlike this. It was just dumb and like Grossetgate (heh) shows appalling judgement.
5. Whomever was in charge of buying the Bridgecorp champagne didn’t have very good taste. Krug or Crystal all the way I would have thought.
If I was the State Services Commissioner I’d issue a statement on Monday around 3 PM stating that I’d received the referral on Friday, took a quick look over the weekend, established he wasn’t lying and every single thing mentioned in the Herald article was in fact, true and I’d emailed the report to the Minister at 9:00 AM Monday.
When Mary interviews me on Checkpoint this Monday evening, I’d tell the stupid bitch when she takes the inevitable hysterical angle she normally does, that who the fuck cares about what he did and anyone who does has to be, by definition, completely fucked in the head.
I’d really enjoy doing that.
[DPF: Please don't use the b word when referring to people]
The wine if auctioned off would have probably fetched very little, and the net return to investors would have been almost nothing. The wine was far more valuable in the way it was used – a little reward for a job well done so far.
Shiver me timbers, they drank a bottle of plonk that was left behind in an abandonded building after completing a prolonged and intense investigation. Ultimately, he made the biggest sin of them all, he documented the origins of the bottle in the electronic media. If he kept quiet as to the origins of the bottle, this would not have been news. Moral of the story, be careful what you put in writing as inevitably it will last forever.
Interesting responses that are an indicator of the effect that the Klerkula years have had on perceptions about right/wrong and matters of principle – even on those of the more right-leaning persuasion.
So at what point would it have NOT been OK? Two bottles, three? Two dozen, ten dozen?
Does this mean that when we find a lost wallet on the street we should just pocket the cash and chuck it back where we found it? Is that different? How?
Does it mean that its OK to evade tax by pocketing cash and if so, how much is OK? Ten bucks a week, fifty, a thousand?
Where is the cut-off on the morality front folks; something that Klerk didn’t appear to define for you?
This fool has far more power than the police. He has to be absolutely beyond reproach. Instead it turns out he is a fuckwit with no judgement, let alone any sense of propriety.
Quite how he came to be head of the SFO is beyond me given that he doesn’t appear to have any law enforcement credentials. It perplexed me at the time and does so now.
Actually, it was theft. Sure, it was “left behind”, sure, it has minimal value (and Gosset Champagne, no wonder Bridgecorp foundered if that was their tastes), but the legal facts are probably inescapable, Feeny had no entitlement to the bottle. Foolish act IMHO, though of no practical importance. That’s one bubble less available for distribution to those out of pocket…
Now, if he were smart, he’d have purchased (or go and do so, but he’s probably let the cat out of the bag now) an identical bottle and now produce the “original” bottle saying that they only drank it symbolically, and “here’s the real one”.
Theft, pure and simple. Given that people are sacked for less that that, he has some explaining to do. For example, excerpt from today’s Herald:
“A woman has lost a personal grievance case over a dismissal involving two postcards and a chocolate fish. … Security footage showed Ms Waines failing to scan two postcard purchases and removing money from an honesty jar to buy a chocolate fish. “
1. This is theft. It is irrelevant that it is a minor theft. Theft is theft.
2. The vast majority of New Zealanders don’t give a rip anyway
3. Only in New Zealand would a major newspaper put this trivia on the front page.
I assume the receivers gave it to him but then did they have the right to the property. I don’t know the answer to that one. Feely drinking this champagne I think is a bit naff. It suggests things got a bit personal and I do not like that with prosecutors.
I don’t see anything to support that in the article, and it doesn’t seem very likely at all as the receivers would have no reason to do so, but it is possible.
did they have the right to the property
I think so.
It suggests things got a bit personal and I do not like that with prosecutors.
Agreed. Never a good look. That said, the SFO are both investigator and prosecutor, so not as bad for the investigators, although the legally qualified prosecutors are not really supposed to be partisan. Still a very bad look, however.
During the first six months of the Eden Park project, the redevelopment team worked in the former Bridgecorp headquarters.
“Three or four bottles of champagne were left behind after the sudden exit of the [Bridgecorp] directors following liquidation,” Mr Feeley said.
“One bottle was kept with the expectation that it would be drunk at the conclusion of the project.
So. 1. No receivers only a liquidator.
2. Abandoned goods. There is a law relating to that somewhere.
3. Essentially the offices had been rented to the Eden park Project and that almost surely included everything inside the office.
4. Becomes finders keepers in my view.
5. Lawyers have a rule for everyone/thing except them selves.
6. Load of bollocks and a waste of dead tree production.
7. No wonder NZ has low productivity/ intelligence when shit like this makes the news and becomes a federal case.
8. Accusations of theft could lead to defamation claims.
9. Read rule no. 5
The wine is not a good look but we dont know all the facts. These guys spent months dealing with complex issues and people who had their life savings whipped out from under them. I saw one of the developments that these clowns lent on. I wouldn’t have lent the developer a shovel. If SFO felt the need to let their hair down then good on them. Who wouldn’t? The guy who leaked the e-mail won’t feel so smug if identified.
This is yet another example of New Zealand’s Investigation Industry touting for business. Lots of work for another squillion of our “top” lawyers.
One of the reasons in my view that NZ consistently ranks poorly for productivity is that we engage too many high-paid people in work that is inherently unproductive. Our Investigation Industry is an excellent example, promoted by the legal fraternity in its own copiuos self-interest.
As a taxpayer, should I fund yet another investigation? Into one bottle of wine? One bottle! If it was a truckload, maybe. A case of Moet – probably not. A bottle – hey, get a life.
Good on My Feeley. Sounds like he runs a good shop – inviting his team to celebrate success, and displaying a sense of humour and occasion by confiding in them about the source of the drinks. I’ll go work for him any day.
So Adam Feely is given a bottle of of unremarkable wine by the liquidators of Bridgecorp while he is working on the Eden park redevelopment project. NO THEFT. NO SUGGESTION HE OBTAINED THE WINE ILLEGALLY, NO CRIES FROM PETRECOVICH THAT HE WANTS HIS WINE BACK.
The wine sits in Feely’s fridge for a year or so and in that time he gets his new job at the SFO and heads an investigation that successfully prosecutes a company that has swindled millions from mum and dad investors.
As part of a team building celebration at the successful conclusion of the Bridgecorp Investigation Feely decides to dip into his own cellar and put that bottle of wine on the table at work (how many public service bosses have the heart and chutzpah to do that) , noting in a memo the irony around this particular bottle of wine.
A disgruntled former employee leaks the wine memo in a churlish attempt to get back at his ex employer.
The Herald plays along with the ex employee and concocts a story that tries and fails to smear Feely. The ministers office plays things down the line and says it will get the ssc to have a look at it….privately thinking “what a crock of shit this story is”.
And the Herald probably never asks itself if it was a good editorial decision to splash this all across their frontpage when more New Zealanders might have been interested in the two global credit downgrades of New Zealand announced the day before.
Theft . .did the champers belong to the SFO ?? No so to take it is theft. And you can’t see the problem there ?? Hmm following your thinking, I take it that next time something of yours gets stolen, you’ll just shrug it off. correct ??
[DPF: It was left behind, and perhaps deliberately. It is of trivial value, and not something that could sensibly be sold by a receiver]
Employees at the SFO have also been known to re-use the paper clips of those companies sending them documents! This revelation comes hard on the heels of the discovery that the SFO also allows its employees to use the bathrooms of those companies they are investigating.