Former security staff allege Dotcom paid them less than minimum wage

March 20th, 2014 at 4:05 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil blogs:

This is a story of slave wages, bullying, intimidation and the sheer effrontery of a man spending literally millions on himself but short-changing his most loyal staff.

Before the raid on the Dotcom mansion there was a staff of approximately 8 security guards working 40 hour weeks in shifts. These guards were in addition to the personal protection staff that included Wayne Tempero and Regan Stewart.

They were on the normal pay rates for static security guards, just a few dollars above the minimum wage but at least with some sort of regularity and job security.

After the raid on the mansion and the subsequent court orders limiting the finances of Dotcom, the security contingent was reduced to just 4 staff. The job still needed to be done and the remaining 4 workers worked in excess of 90 hours per week. But with a catch. Their pay was never increased.

Essentially these important and loyal staff were now working more than twice the hours they worked before but for the same amount that they worked for 40 hours.

They went from just above the minimum wage to well under. Sources have told WOBH that they were effectively working for $8-00 per hour.

Surely not. Surely a man who flys to Huka Lodge to relax, lives in a huge mansion, and has enough spare cash to set up a political party pays his staff above the minimum wage?

Or are they treated the same way as his many small business creditors who are owed money?

The Greens, Labour and Mana all make a lot of fuss about the minimum wage. Russel Norman met him twice seeking his endorsement. Do the Greens membership want the endorsement of someone who allegedly pays below minimum wage? Isn’t it parties of the left that would normally condemn a multi-millionairre who pays his staff below the minimum wage? So do the parties of the left have principles, and will condemn this (if correct), or will they say nothing as they hope for an endorsement or donation?

There was an understanding with these loyal and hard working staff, who had stuck by in the aftermath of the raid that the overtime would be treated as back pay and that they would be paid just as soon as money started to flow from Mega.

And the money did start to flow. Kim Dotcom, through his wife, has reportedly pulled in nearly $10 million from share sell downs, and have pretty much spent the lot on frivolities and personal vanity projects like his album, like Rhythm & Vines where he allegedly spent more than $500,000 in order to secure access to the main event and essentially hijack it. On top of that reports suggest that more than $2 million was spent on the album and there are confirmed reports of a not inconsequential amount being spent on another vanity project that is supposedly an “independent” documentary about the fabulous life of Kim Dotcom. In addition sources tell me that more than $1 million a month has been spent on forming the Internet party. These expenses and projects will become the subject of further stories in coming weeks.

Yet no money for creditors!

Finally, earlier this year matters came to a head and when new contracts were offered to the security staff which reflected slightly increased hourly rates but not a mention of unpaid back pay, the staff walked, sick of the lies and the delays.

These 4 staff are each owed over $50,000 in back pay and entitlements. Understandably, after months and months of working on just $8 per hour they sought legal advice but their entreaties to the mansion to honour deals have been met with silence.

Where’s the UNITE union when you need them!

And that is when the threats started to flow. WOBH has exclusively received a recording of one of those calls. A call where Kim Dotcom threatens the underpaid security guard with “the full wrath of [his] legal capabilities” and he promises to “destroy anybody” who challenges him.

You can listen to the audio at Whale’s site.

When WOBH called Tempero to clarify details of these matters he refused to speak citing confidentiality agreements.

Further to that, WOBH was sent a copy of a gagging order (an interim injunction) against Wayne Tempero from the bully boys and girls at Simpson Grierson. This entire article complies fully with the gagging order. Though one would now question just what it is that Kim Dotcom is scared of and what is he trying to hide by applying a gagging order against one particular staff member.

These threats and intimidation of vulnerable workers are unacceptable to the New Zealand public but they show the true nature of Kim Dotcom. A nature the mainstream media have gone out of their way to ignore and to gloss over as they fawned for access.

Is this the sort of behaviour that we as Kiwis expect from would be politicians?

I’m now thinking it would be a great thing if Dotcom does endorse Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana!!

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61 Responses to “Former security staff allege Dotcom paid them less than minimum wage”

  1. Manolo (13,312 comments) says:

    A crook, a complete and utter corrupt individual. Out with the obese German!

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  2. Barnsley Bill (973 comments) says:

    The left wing numpties will say nothing. Difficult to speak when you are on your knees with a mouthful of fatty German sausage.

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  3. questions (168 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    I’m surprised he paid the security guards anything at all. If he’d snapped his giant fingers, Norman, Peters, Curran, Bradbury, Fisher, Kumar, Harawira, and Thompson would have flown to Auckland and guarded Dotcom and his home for free.

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  5. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    The poor wee security guards, give them a hanky. Tempero got bail didn’t he, on a firearm charge. When do we get the customary death threats? Was Arbuckle standing over poor Wayne, oh dear.

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  6. Raphael (73 comments) says:

    @questions “Cameron Slater’s post, and your post David, breach the injuction.”

    from WOBH:
    “Further to that, WOBH was sent a copy of a gagging order (an interim injunction) against Wayne Tempero from the bully boys and girls at Simpson Grierson. This entire article complies fully with the gagging order. Though one would now question just what it is that Kim Dotcom is scared of and what is he trying to hide by applying a gagging order against one particular staff member.”

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  7. Pete George (22,731 comments) says:

    A: Cameron Slater’s post, and your post David, breach the injuction.

    Slater claims ““This entire article complies fully with the gagging order”, that the injunction only applies to information sourced from Wayne Tempero, and he insists that “Tempero is not a source”.

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  8. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    questions>Cameron Slater’s post, and your post David, breach the injuction.

    My understanding is that the injunction applied to Tempero, and it seems Whaleoil’s story was sourced from other Dotcom staff. BUT… Can a judge stop someone revealing illegal activity to the media? I certainly hope not.

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  9. alloytoo (430 comments) says:

    “I’m now thinking it would be a great thing if Dotcom does endorse Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana!!”

    I thought he already had…….

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  10. Mark Thomson (84 comments) says:

    You excerpted the following from WO -

    ‘And that is when the threats started to flow. WOBH has exclusively received a recording of one of those calls. A call where Kim Dotcom threatens the underpaid security guard with “the full wrath of [his] legal capabilities” and he promises to “destroy anybody” who challenges him.’

    I have no interest in defending KDC, but I did go and listen to the recording as you suggested, and what he actually said was that he would destroy “anybody who is trying to harm my family”, not anybody who challenges him.

    Again, the guy may well be a total jerk, but I think accuracy matters and the way WO reported the comments paints a less flattering picture than I think his remarks deserve.

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  11. burt (7,786 comments) says:

    Next it will be revealed that Dotcom also didn’t pay the PAYE on their wages and McCarten will be defending him !

    This just gets weirder and weirder – Dotcom posts pictures on his twitter account showing a life of luxury and the left wing parties think having involvement with him is a sensible choice to help them win the election – To strange for words.

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  12. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    I think there would be a problem if the material is suppressed regardless of who the ‘source’ is claimed to be or not to be.

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  13. Bill Ted (79 comments) says:

    The guy is a gutless, narcissistic clown. It’s amazing to watch Norman, Hone and Winston prostitute themselves for the sake of a few dollars from a guy anyone with half a brain (which rules out David Fisher) can see straight through.

    @Mark Thomson, I agree to an extent. But it’s pretty clear Dotcom is issuing a threat that he intends to destroy anyone who takes him on. That recording isn’t great, but pretty sure he was talking about the issue of back pay, there’s no suggestion anyone is threatening his family. He just says the word family to try and justify the threat.

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  14. OneTrack (2,563 comments) says:

    questions – “You appear to have missed the bit where he….”

    It’s ok when the left does it. Yeah, yeah, heard it before.

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  15. thor42 (899 comments) says:

    “I’m now thinking it would be a great thing if Dotcom does endorse Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana!!”

    Agreed!

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  16. flash2846 (163 comments) says:

    This will be hardly mentioned on tonight’s news, if at all. Hekia Parata will dominate.

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  17. burt (7,786 comments) says:

    A billionaire who’s pool probably costs more to run each month than most Labour voters can afford to pay on rent or mortgage payments – how did the Labour & Green parties think being associated with this guy would work out well for them ?

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  18. RRM (9,418 comments) says:

    I’m officially over him how. Release the hounds.

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  19. secondcumming (90 comments) says:

    To be honest, this all sounds just a little lame….seems to me, this is the action any prudent employer might take when they find themselves under financial pressure. Wot I’m really looking forward to seeing, is the pictures that have been alluded to earlier, of the Nazi memorabilia displayed in the basement shrine.

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,246 comments) says:

    Where’s the UNITE union when you need them!

    Looking after its members. Why do you ask? Are these four members?

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  21. questions (168 comments) says:

    Raphael, Pete George etc, you are taking the word of a proven liar (liar over his sources none the less) that he isn’t breaching the injunction.

    OneTrack says:
    questions – “You appear to have missed the bit where he….”

    It’s ok when the left does it. Yeah, yeah, heard it before.

    So its ok when the right does it, just not the left? (leaving completely aside the fact that Kim Dotcom is not the left)

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  22. dime (9,356 comments) says:

    Can’t wait til he’s in a gain orange jump suit. Matter of time.

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  23. burt (7,786 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt

    How is not paying the members PAYE to the IRD looking after them ?

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  24. peterwn (3,140 comments) says:

    I wonder what the Mega situation is especially the $10M selldown. Either it is money laundering – of money the Feds or NZ would seize if they found it, or a sale of shares to investors. Now the only investors who could be interested as far as I can see are people who benefited from the Megaupload operation, either by upload bounties or by operating ‘director/ indexing’ sites. Would be interesting to know what Mega’s cashflow is like and whether net profit is sufficient to cover the $10m investment people may have made. Perhaps these investors have done their money.

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  25. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    flash2846: “This will be hardly mentioned on tonight’s news, if at all. Hekia Parata will dominate.”

    As it should.

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  26. davidp (3,540 comments) says:

    secondcumming>seems to me, this is the action any prudent employer might take when they find themselves under financial pressure

    A prudent employer would have realised that he didn’t actually need personal security guards, thanked them for their service, then paid them their redundancy. Like really, how many other people in NZ need personal bodyguards? John Key, for obvious reasons. Len Brown, to save him from the wrath of Auckland voters. And? Does Bill English need them? Judges? The Commissioner of Police? The Chief of the Defence Force? I’ve seen James Cameron in Wellington and he didn’t have any. Do any of the famous actors who come to NZ to work on the Hobbit films surround themselves with security?

    It’s a vanity thing. Which is okay if Dotcom actually paid for his vanity.

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  27. itstricky (1,529 comments) says:

    If The Greens want the endorsement of someone who pays below the minimum wage then surely John Banks wants cash from someone who pays his staff below the minimum wage? And surely Maurice Williamson wants to sponsor someone who pays below the minimum wage? My DPF you have such a short memory.

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  28. Than (425 comments) says:

    B: You appear to have missed the bit where he put a gun to their head and forced them to work those hours?

    And you appear to have missed the part where they were promised backpay to compensate. A promise which Dotcom has completely reneged on. They were kind enough to help Dotcom out with extra hours when he was down on his luck, and he has completely shafted them for it.

    Kim Dotcom is nothing but a con-artist of the most obnoxious kind.

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  29. Ross12 (1,143 comments) says:

    Just listening to Ellen(?) Reid and Tim Watkins being interviewed about this by Larry Williams. They say it is “poor form” to take an employers pay and then go and bleat about him. What planet do these people live ? If people are not paid properly what they expect. I thought Watkins was a rusted on lefty –you know the workers mate.
    I just don’t under these so called journalists. Whaleoil would have broken this story even if wasn’t election year. I think we are starting to see some very green eyes in the media over the activities of W/O , Kiwiblog and a few others.

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  30. itstricky (1,529 comments) says:

    PM – suddenly – unions are a good thing when you want to stick it to someone you don’t like.

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  31. bc (1,332 comments) says:

    Hang on. There have been plenty of people commenting here about how evil the minimum wage is. Honestly, the way some people go on you would have thought that having a minimum wage is the end of modern civilisation as we know it.

    And now suddenly it’s time to get all high and mighty about Dotcom not paying minimum wage?

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  32. Prince (90 comments) says:

    Why are you sweating again, Mr dotcom ?

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  33. Alan (1,054 comments) says:

    I’m sure I’ve posted in this before, but Kim Dotcom isn’t and was never as rich as people make out.

    Billionaire? Not even remotely close. His company had lifetime revenue of a couple of hundred million, and that’s before costs.

    Best case scenario, he was worth 50m – 100m at his peak, which was a long time ago. The federales took his cash. He’s living month to month. He gets $60k a month, sounds a lot but that house ain’t cheap nor are his lawyers.

    All the luxury trips you see now are being paid for by other people, he’s close to being flat broke.

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  34. Pete George (22,731 comments) says:

    ‘questions’ – I’m not taking anyone’s word more or less than anyone else’s word. Whale has published claims along with a recording that more or less fits with those claims. Dotcom himself announced Wayne Tempero has left his employment after having his pay halved. All this information adds to the story.

    Do you totally discount what has been posted at Whale Oil?

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  35. Bill Ted (79 comments) says:

    @Ross12 – Tim Watkin is a rampant lefty. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if he has sat down with Dotcom so they can rant about who hates John Key more. If this was a company underpaying its workers, he’d be out with Bomber calling for a boycott. But because it’s someone who shares his hatred of National he’s happy to waive his principals – a familiar theme with those on the tribal left.

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  36. duggledog (1,331 comments) says:

    Fat fools like Dotcom inevitably come to grief. I predict a sticky end for the German. He’s what my dear old dad would have called a shyster. You’d never get a Southland farmer showing off his wealth like Dotcom does because it shows a lack of class and common sense.

    Everybody should listen to Dotcom’s album; if you can get to the end of it you will need a large scotch, it is easily the shittest, most derivative, dated, load of codswallop I’ve ever heard. And 99% of that music is balls anyway.

    He’s either surrounded by sycophantic muso knobs who tell him how awesome it is or he really is totally unaware of what the rest of the world is doing because the world moved on from where he is now, ten years ago. At least. Actually make that fifteen years ago.

    The guy owes a lot of people money. I would never have worked for him because he is exactly what he looks like; a charlatan. I’ll be at the airport waving goodbye when he’s extradited. Can’t wait.

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  37. Slipster (36 comments) says:

    >burt: … how did the Labour & Green parties think being associated with this guy would work out well for them ?

    Easy. Lefties are both naturally and by training inclined to follow the leader. After all: society is paramount, colectivism is their god, state knows (and does) best. Hence the predisposition to toe the party line and never bother their heads. If their leaders tell them that black is white, it will be white from then on to them.

    So when Labour/Greens tell them DC is a good, worker-friendly guy to be loved and honored, they will simply salute Jawohl and start marching in step.

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  38. Crusader (274 comments) says:

    So do the parties of the left have principles,

    LOL. Best laugh all day, thanks DPF.

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  39. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    “I’m officially over him how. Release the hounds.”

    Call me shallow and I’m pro Dotcom but that is the funniest, cleverest statement I’ve seen on Dotcom.

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  40. edhunter (491 comments) says:

    I’m probably being a bit naive here, but who in NZ apart from the PM & recently Len Brown needs a 10-12 person full time personal security force?
    Anyway reading WO it states ” After the raid, their existing contracts were essentially ripped up and new contracts put in place with Mona Dotcom.”
    So why hasn’t one of these new contracts been produced?
    Does it say you will work 90 hours a week for $720.00?
    Did the new contract guarantee back pay or is that heresay?
    Did the staff need a timesheet to be paid?
    Not saying there’s not a story here, but I’d be inclined to replace words like “most important & loyal staff” with “most desperate & gullible members of staff”

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  41. Brian Smaller (3,981 comments) says:

    Gagging Order? Every time I look at him and think of how cheaply he has brought our opposition parties I gag.

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  42. Fisiani (943 comments) says:

    Please let the megalomaniac Crim Dot Con start a political party that gets 4% in the election. It takes 4% off the Greens and Labour Roughly 2% from each and being below the threshold is effectively worth 1.9% extra for National 1% for Labour and another 0.3% for The Greens

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  43. Rich Prick (1,532 comments) says:

    Aren’t lefties fascinating. Just a few weeks ago they were banging on about the “living wage”‘ yet today they leap to the defence of their crooked mate ripping his staff off. They have principles, but they seem change to suit how they “feel” about any given issue.

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  44. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    If that’s it, an employment dispute, then it all looks a bit fucking weak.

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  45. Keeping Stock (10,088 comments) says:

    @ cha – that’s it for Day One; why release everything at once? Wait until you hear about the birthday presents though ;-)

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  46. mikemikemikemike (301 comments) says:

    …wait so now its not OK to be a millionaire and pay your staff a low wage?

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  47. radvad (661 comments) says:

    wait so now it IS ok to be a millionaire and pay below the minimum wage?

    Personally I believe the Krim should be able to employ staff at whatever wage they sign up for. It makes me laugh though to hear lefties defending that.

    Hahahahaha

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  48. kowtow (7,581 comments) says:

    But the immigration dept let him in as an investor plus.

    Don’t they check up on the rich people we sell residency to?

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  49. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Wait until you hear about the birthday presents though ;-)

    |-O –

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  50. itstricky (1,529 comments) says:

    And now suddenly it’s time to get all high and mighty about Dotcom not paying minimum wage?

    bc, the problem is that all these lefties have a case of the green eyed monster when it comes to “Rich Pricks” – I mean, just listen to DPF:

    They went from just above the minimum wage to well under. Sources have told WOBH that they were effectively working for $8-00 per hour.

    Surely not. Surely a man who flys to Huka Lodge to relax, lives in a huge mansion, and has enough spare cash to set up a political party pays his staff above the minimum wage?

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  51. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    I suppose it won’t be embarrassing for Wayne to reveal that Arbuckle smacked his bottom from time to time for being a naughty security guard who carried illegal firearms about the place.

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  52. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    Only in NZ could you have a man who effectively steals other people’s work, while paying his staff a pittance, who is being fawned over by the left while the right seeks to have him held accountable.

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  53. KevinH (1,131 comments) says:

    Several years ago I worked with Wayne Tempero on a property in Herne Bay and found him to be a straight up guy, hardworking, loyal. Regretfully I can’t disclose Wayne’s background because that is his business and for him to disclose but what I could say is that honour and loyalty are foundations to his personality and Dotcom has exploited those qualities in Wayne for his own benefit.
    Revelations about Dotcom’s debts, his broken promises and his extravagant pretentious lifestyle paints an all to familiar picture which I am reluctant to express for legal reasons however it is often repeated on this blog.
    When the raids happened I felt an empathy for Dotcom but now I don’t, he deserves what is coming to him.

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  54. itstricky (1,529 comments) says:

    Only in NZ could you have a man who effectively steals other people’s work, while paying his staff a pittance, who is being fawned over by the left while the right seeks to have him held accountable.

    You seem to be suggesting that “the right” (whatever that is; these damn buckets again) are usually the ones to fawn over those who steal and pay a pittance?

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (4,896 comments) says:

    Don’t worry KevinH knows all about it, even though he won’t say why. I’m so reassured by that.

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  56. RightNow (6,641 comments) says:

    Must be tough swallowing a dead rat this big.

    I have to confess I’m in awe of the way some of you distend your jaw to do it.

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  57. Scott1 (444 comments) says:

    “Yet no money for creditors!”

    I think we all know that it is possible to have money to start a political party but no money to do other things. This is because political party money and personal money are not the same thing.

    The personal spending can also be effectively other parties (like investors) paying for things – this is more dubious but I don’t doubt that Dotcom could get others to invest in something like his album. This what he has claimed before.

    It would seem pretty foolish of him to do exactly as suggested – so I take it he has a defense of some sort – although if it is an ethical one, is not so clear.

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  58. Keeping Stock (10,088 comments) says:

    @ Scott1 – but buggering off to Huka Lodge for a weekend and boasting about it on social media whilst your creditors are having to lay off staff because you haven’t paid their bills is hardly the way to win friends and influence people.

    You can hardly blame aggrieved parties for finding an outlet to express their outrage.

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  59. Paulus (2,490 comments) says:

    I am sure that the IRD and ACC payments for these staff are in order Mr Crim ?
    Or was it cash ?

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  60. burt (7,786 comments) says:

    Paulus

    Don’t be silly, when you support Labour and donate to Labour party campaigns or leaders it’s perfectly acceptable to use money that should have been paid to IRD. Actually if you can stop paying their PAYE long enough you might be held in high enough regard by the left to be given a Chief Of Staff role !

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  61. questions (168 comments) says:

    Pete George says: “Do you totally discount what has been posted at Whale Oil?”

    That is entirely beside the 2 points of what I was saying: that Slater et all (keeping stock, does it feel good to join and big boys and get your material direct from the 9th floor? better get that Parliamentary Crest up on your site not that you are tax payer funded) are breaking the court order, and that it is hypocritical of you lot to complain that someone is paying less than minimum wage. So what I was saying:

    I always think it is wrong to pay less than the minimum wage, you lot only think it is wrong when someone you don’t like is doing it.

    Shameful.

    Feel free to misinterpret what I’ve said again Pete.

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