Author Topic: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?  (Read 19517 times)

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Offline Tobes

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I've had a quick squizz, and I don't think anyone else has posted this yet. Here goes:


http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9209669.Calls_for_bankrupt_entrepreneur_to_quit_business_forum/

Quote
A HIGH-PROFILE businessman has been discovered to be bankrupt – while heading up the town’s main business forum.

Rikki Hunt, the entrepreneur behind blundering wi-fi firm Digital City, filed for bankruptcy in March owing more £1m to various businesses and the taxman.

But a number of those close to him were unaware of this, and Mr Hunt has continued to sit as chairman of the Swindon Strategic Economic Partnership.

The body regularly brings big-name employers together to debate business issues and pass concerns on to the council.

The Labour party has been quick to call for him to stand down as its chairman.

Leader Jim Grant (Lab, Western), said in a statement: “Following the news of his bankruptcy, I am calling on Mr Hunt to do the decent thing and stand down in his role as SSEP chair.”

Mr Hunt, 57, of Old Town, said: “There is nothing wrong (in chairing the SSEP). But I recognise that if it is embarrassing to businesses and/or the council, then I would step down from this voluntary position.”

He filed the petition for bankruptcy on March 8, but stressed that it had been voluntary.

He is understood to owe a total of £1.31m, including £85,000 to Barclays Bank, £423,000 to HMRC, £627,000 to The Mortgage Business Plc, £168,000 to Lloyds Banking Group – and £63 to Sky.

Mr Hunt said he lost money in an “investment”.

Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms), a fellow director of Digital City who heads up regeneration for the Tory cabinet, said he had no idea about the bankruptcy.

Nor did Ian Piper, the head of Forward Swindon, the council’s regeneration wing, which is involved in the SSEP.

Emma Faramarzi, chairwoman of the Federation of Small Businesses, sits on the SSEP board and was “shocked” at the news, but said Mr Hunt remained an “asset”.


Anyone can have some bad luck... but lets just consider:

- If someone can't manage their own finances to the extent of paying their TAX, how can such an individual truly be said to be 'an asset' to any business community?
- Doesn't this rather call into question the judgement of the people who continue to defend him and his 'business and fiscal prowess'? (Some of these are the same UNELECTED people are also the ones supposedly bearing special responsible for the economic recovery of our town!)
- If I was a bankrupt (or facing bankruptcy) I'd like to hope I'd be making strenuous efforts to pay off my creditors - rather than disappearing off on highly expensive ego-swelling trips up mountains... Is that a fair consideration?
- Despite all of the protestations to the contrary, this shows a complete lack of effective due diligence into the background of Hunt, his competence to head a project like this - and consequently the judgement of all of those idiot politicians who've been sucked into it.

This sad, pathetic and tawdry end to the tale of wi-fi is an indelible stain on the reputations of all involved - and a complete vindication of the position of people like Des and Chris. They are to be heartily congratulated for pointing out that the Emperor had no clothes.... Not only did he lack the technical expertise, but he also demonstrably lacked the financial skills and security to boot. How supposedly intelligent people were sucked in by this eludes me. Mind you, if you want further evidence of their abilities, I guess we only need look across the ruined landscape of the town center...


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2011, 11:04:55 AM »
Part of today’s Adver article on Rikki Hunt’s bankruptcy.

Quote
He is understood to owe a total of £1.31m, including £85,000 to Barclays Bank, £423,000 to HMRC, £627,000 to The Mortgage Business Plc, £168,000 to Lloyds Banking Group – and £63 to Sky.
Mr Hunt said he lost money in an “investment”.


Already there are people saying that Rikki was a victim and criticism of him and the Wi-Fi project is coming “with hindsight”. TS has on record that the very basis of this project, the financing arrangements  and the qualifications and experience of those involved had been questioned from the outset. Indeed if the contributors to TS were engaged with, there may have been a better outcome.

Now it is obvious that Rikki Hunt’s finances have been in a perilous state for some time. It is also in the public realm that he hasn’t had much success with his many companies, so why would someone lend him a large sum of money. Why, as Geoff Reid asked in the Freedom of Information request (partly quoted below) would SBC offer to lend him £450,000 when:


Quote
The loan facility of £450,000 was nine-hundred times greater than the £500 credit limit suggested by a credit assessment agency engaged by Swindon Borough Council to run credit checks on Digital City (UK) Ltd prior to offering a loan to that company.


http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/loan_default_by_digital_city_ltd


I don't want to accuse anyone at SBC of shredding the evidence, Geoff but none of the SBC links in item 1 of

"WiFi Reference Documents & Sources Thread" work now.
What's it all about?

Offline itspavagain

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 11:35:45 AM »
This was clearly the real reason that he stepped down as a director in March.

Other than making the other directors look stupid, a don't really see how this affects the wi-fi project one way or another.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 12:11:17 PM »
Wi-Fi in this format was largely his concept, wasn't it? He managed it during the period in which at least someone somewhere thought it offered the possibility of success.

We were all told by the politicians that the person behind the project was a successful and 'visionary' entrepreneur - and by implication, he knew what he was doing.

As a result, highly favourable terms were given to this man, despite his lack of expertise in this field.

People who have already asked questions of the mans competence to be trusted with public money are entitled to draw conclusions as to the viability of the rest of the project, if that same someone chooses to go climbing mountains when his finances are going down the pan.

The whole deal was flawed from the start. Surely this is further practical confirmation - if any were needed?
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 02:28:35 PM »
Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw and Nine Elms), a fellow director of Digital City who heads up regeneration for the Tory cabinet, said he had no idea about the bankruptcy.


When is hopuse was put up for by the bank at a reduced market price surely Perkins must have had a whisper. mIt was common knowledge 5 weeks ago at the County Ground
Bobby

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 04:55:54 PM »
A rumour concerning Hunt's bankruptcy did circulate just after Cllr Perkins 'Confidentiality' edict was issued. No one seemed able to verify it's accuracy at the time so nothing was said but the truth always comes out in the end though, eh?

It's immediately obvious that teh WiFi'asco didn't cause his bankruptcy, although its death within 3 months of birth meant it could not save him......unless, of course, SBC's changing of the schemes 'progress measures' and very premature release of the second loan tranche of £250,000, (the first tranche being £150,000), was driven by Mr Hunt having an urgent financial need outside of Digital City (UK) Ltd?

We don't know where the £400,000 went, and we won't know unless Cllrs Bluh, Perkins and Edwards and SBC directors for law and democratic services and business transformation and SBC CEO Gavin Jones finally decide to come clean and tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  I ain't holding my breath though.

It occurs to me that £1,300,000 worth of debt didn't materialise overnight and I wonder how much debt was in existence when SBC was conducting it's 'due diligence' on Mr Hunt and his 'Wacky' idea. (That's his description of WiFi, not mine. I've described the business side of it as 'wanky' from day one).

It also occurs to me that to owe HMRC £423,000 Mr Hunt must have received what, something in the region of £1,500,000 for that sum of tax to be due?......but decided to spend the money owed to the taxman on something else instead?, which is what I fear may have happened to much of the £400,000 of public money lent to Digital City (UK) Ltd by SBC.  Again, without a full disclosure by Rod & the Bluhligans we simply don't know exactly where it did go, but we can use our own eyes to survey empty lamp posts and surmise that it certainly did not go where it was supposed to.


Also, Cllr Perkins ought to think seriously about disclosing the identity of his 'mystery investor', otherwise his confidentiality edict will increasingly be seen as a political screen for his party and a deliberate mechanism to prevent the disclosure and discussion of Hunts bankruptcy and parlous lack of business acumen of everyone concerned.  Worse than that, if the mystery investor didn't exist, or the situation wasn't exactly as described by Cllr Perkins et al, they could be open to an allegation of conspiracy to conceal x, y and z.

The longer this goes on without  full disclosure the dirtier and smellier it will get.


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 09:24:45 PM »
The longer this goes on without  full disclosure the dirtier and smellier it will get.

But exactly how long can they try to front it out Geoff?

If they do not come clean then there are always the elections and I can see the political leaflets now

CAN YOU TRUST THESE PEOPLE WITH OUR MONEY?

Remember Wi-fi, it won't go away and has to be one of the most disgraceful misuses of public money in the history of Swindon, not for the amount but the way in which it was conceived and executed by a few individuals who seek to hide behind their Council positions.

The question is which one or ones will be the sacrificial lamb?
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2011, 08:41:06 AM »
The Graham Mack Breakfast Show : Friday 26th August 2011

Quote from: BBC
"Swindon's Mr Wi-fi talks about losing everything."


http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/wiltshire/mack/mack_20110826-1101a.mp3


I think I finally understand what 'Chutzpah' is, and what a 'Putz' looks like.

I haven't heard anyone 'sniggering' upon learning that Mr Hunt declared himself insolvent in order to avoid paying a debt to HMRC of £423,000 and money he owed to mortgage lenders and when Hunt says 'my bankruptcy doesn't affect anyone' I beg to disagree.

Adding this £423,000 to the other (wifi) £400,000 and that's £823,000 he's cost the tax payer - which will never be recovered.  And this is just the money that we know about, one wonders what other small piles of unmentioned debt might litter Mr Hunt's past business ventures - there are several failed ventures in his recent Swindon past that one wonders whether he bothered settling their debts either, or just wandered away leaving his past partners to pick up the tab for them?

Swindon cannot afford to support 'businessmen and entrepeneurs' like John Richard 'Rikki' Hunt, and it certainly can't afford people who think the town needs people like Rikki.  This is one style of entrepeneurialism Swindon is genuinely better off without.  Businessmen like Rikki do not create wealth for anyone other than themselves.

I haven't heard anyone saying "We'll pick on Hunt and score some political points"......

.....but what I have heard is some Borough Councillors finally growing enough balls to say publicly that John Rickard 'Rikki' Hunt is neither a fit or appropriate person to be leading either the Swindon Strategic Economic Partnership or the newly formed Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, (or 'LEP' as Mr Hunt calls it), which covers a population of around 650,000 and represents over 26,000 businesses. 

The fact that (thusfar) only Labour councillors have dared to suggest that the Rodigarch's pet entrepeneur resign from a prestigious and influential position on a local enterprise partnership says quite a bit about Rod Bluh's lack of judgement and his political group's lack of balls.

I wonder how much longer Rods group is willing to sit passively and watch their guv'nor flush what remains of the Conservative 'We're The Party Of Business' myth down the toilet?
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 09:12:21 AM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Bobby Bingo

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2011, 09:43:20 AM »
Oh ye of little faith.

Emma Faramazi recently stated that Ricki Hunt is an asset and she should know, after all she has a "high profile" in the business community and also has the ear of Bluh and Perkins.
Bobby

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2011, 10:42:59 AM »
I haven't heard anyone saying "We'll pick on Hunt and score some political points"......


Let us turn this on its head Top Tory politicans doing all they can to make Rikki Hunt's "wacky idea" work for them. This was done and lets not mince words here to bring political advantage to the Tories. Note the attacks on the  Scrutiny chair and Labour leader at every opportunity. Even PPCs can get in on a photo op and a shadow like Caroline Spelman MP.

Cllr Bob wright wrote about how Rod Bluh anounced in a reply at a meeting it was political, in fact I was at a meeting when Rod admitted he did not tell his own Backbenchers or all of his Cabinet colleagues. I believe Keith Williams has admitted that he did not know? Bob made the point that the Labour MPs were asked at the last minute, but had prior appointments.

Yes in my opinion its all politically driven by Tories, but you are free to make your own mind up, however a link to  the launch in Highworth http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/4801575.Wi_fi_signal_gets_switched_online/
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline MsD Meanor

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2011, 03:22:27 PM »
I was speechless after hearing the Graham Mack show. He is good isn't he? Its just as much what he doesn't say as what he does.

If Mr Hunt genuinely believes what he is saying then he's delusional.

He managed to be patronising and played the victim card both at the same time.

Then  he justified his behaviour  by not having affected any specific people- failing to realise that large organisations, (HMRC, and SBC &  Banks)  are made up of individuals and their hard earned tax money or pension investments.

I don't think I'll be signing up for any coaching on how to run a business or turn around any failing ones from this particular guru. I'd start again with something that earned me a bit more real credibility.
 




Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 05:23:16 PM »
Our hero, John “Rikki” Hunt, will have completed his year in Insolvent purdah next month so what plans has he made to stun us with a new vibrant business plan?

Er..none it seems, as he has been put under a “Bankruptcy Restriction Undertaking” until 26 January 2016. What does this mean? Well basically he is still considered bankrupt until then.

So our Rikki won’t be selling pop-up schools, or anything else, off the back of a lorry just yet.

http://www.piggybankrupt.co.uk/bankruptcy-restrictions-undertaking.html

http://www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk/eiir/IIRCaseIndivDetail.asp?CaseId=700169131&IndivNo=101837675&Court=SWIN&OfficeID=600000043&CaseType=BRU
What's it all about?

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 08:33:41 PM »
anymore news on the pay going to the wifi man?...

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 09:54:15 PM »
Dunno about pay Kohima, I've been looking up this "undertaking".

Quote
If you accept the Official Receivers allegations, you may offer to enter into a Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking (BRU). This has exactly the same effect as a BRO but does not involve going to Court. Because you will be admitting the unfit conduct, the period of the BRU is likely to be shorter than if the court made a BRO. You will also have the opportunity to put your comments to the Official Receiver, which may further reduce the period. By entering into a BRU, you will also avoid the time and inconvenience of attending a court hearing.

There is a possibility that the Official Receiver may think Rikki was less than honest. It seems that there is normally a press release to accompany this undertaking. Where is it Adver? Graham Mack?
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ph1lc

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2012, 10:40:17 PM »
The reasons should be published shortly on the insolvency service website.











Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2012, 02:37:50 PM »
anymore news on the pay going to the wifi man?...

Yes, there is.

I'm taking advice on how much would be sensible to publish without prejudicing a future prosecution.

It's interesting :popcorn:

Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2012, 03:52:34 PM »
 I aspire to being a "vile gentleman"!
Rodders, Rikki and Gary are best advised that we will persue this until the very end! It is not acceptable to misuse the taxes that many can ill afford to pay!
Mind your fingers when the cell door slams shut boys.
What's it all about?

Offline DavidPayne

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2012, 05:59:31 PM »
Volunteered bankruptcy as though it is some sort of accreditation!! – “jump before you are pushed” it is and a euphemism for the gang-plank if ever I have heard one.

Of course, Inland Revenue having merged with Customs & Excise to give us the monolithic HMRC, it is likely there is an element of VAT in Mr H's debt which at 14.9% of turnover and formally due to be 'passed on' every 13 weeks could suggest a truly indulgent misappropriation of money which was not his own.

I am sure that HMRC will take a very dim view of this, VAT being a levy which traders impose 'on behalf' of the government and which should be kept in an escrow account, safely independent of the machinations of day-to-day trading......and while there is an asset limit to what they can immediately seize, I am uncomfortably at ease (work that out!) with a churlish vindictiveness freshly upon me, reminded that while bankruptcy, like fetid water shook off a dog, does away with most creditor claims, it does no such thing with debts to the state that stay with you forever - Death & Taxes, not just a certainty but shackled at the knee.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2012, 10:52:35 AM »
The Adver 14 April carries a story on p4 regarding the extension to Rikki (for free) Hunt's bankruptcy.  Coun Bluh in a moment of farce states with certainty that the finalisation of the accounts is the responsibility of Digital City and not the Council - dare I suggest he have a word with Coun Perkins who is a director of Digital City and point out that it is Coun Perkins legal responsibility to file the accounts. Something he said he would do 7 months ago. Yes he did, he really did say in September 2011 that the accounts were being worked on by PWC and that they would be filed "in a couple of weeks"

Coun Bluh maintains "we undertsand the accountshave not yet been finalised. But how can this be true when in February his Chief Executive told me that the accounts had been prepared and were held by Digital City's accountants.

The half truths and seeming porky pies which emanate with such ease from both Councillors leaves me clear that neither of them should be entrusted with a the Councils biscuit bill never mind a multi million pound budget.

This is my latest offering to the Adver, I wonder if they will print it as it is so close to the election

Quote
Coun Bluh once again demonstrates his ability to offer vague and meaningless responses to simple and straightforward questions. A quality he shares with his deputy Coun Garry Perkins. The people of Swindon are not quite as stupid as these two characters would imagine.

Coun Perkins on the 2 September 2011 in response to a question concerning the filing of Digital City accounts said - “At the moment the financial details of the Company is being put together at the moment, PWC on behalf of the Council have been going through the financial report and the financial report of Digital City will be going through to Companies House in the next couple of weeks” 

Regrettably this was not quite the truth for PWC were not engaged by the Council to prepare the accounts of Digital City, a point confirmed on the 11 January 2012 by the Council’s Finance Director who wrote to me saying “I can confirm that the Council engaged PWC in 2011 to advise us on our future options in relation to Digital City.  We have paid them for this work, which is unrelated to the preparation of Digital City’s accounts”

Coun Bluh now states that it is his understanding the accounts of Digital City have not yet been finalised, despite his deputy assuring a disbelieving Swindon public in September 2011 that the accounts would be filed ‘in the next couple of weeks’  - is Coun Bluh asking his critics to accept that it has taken seven months to complete the accounts for Digital City?  If so may I suggest he talks to his Chief Executive who on the 13 February 2012 advised me as follows “I can confirm that the Digital City accounts have been prepared and are held by the company's accountants”

The Council taxpayers have paid for the accounts to be ‘completed and filed’ – I am sure this was done to support and protect Coun Perkins who is in breach of his statutory duties as a Director of Digital City; and worse the has failed to protect the interests of the Council and the people of Swindon.

I know that so often words are open to interpretation, on this occasion I think it to be quite clear that Coun Bluh and Coun Perkins are simply trying to hide something – just what is in the accounts that they don’t want us to know about. If there is nothing to hide, let’s see the accounts in full, without redactions and qualifications before 3 May.


Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2012, 05:33:17 PM »
Good letter Des and the content alone is highly relevant to the elections which the Advertiser must publish or run the risk of being confirmed as the mouthpiece of the Conservative Party in its position as the Administration that is Swindon Borough Council.

As regards to the article I furnished the Advertiser with details of Mr Hunt's bankruptcy and invited them to do some further investigative journalism with the Insolvency Service which sadly they have failed to do.  They still have time to make these enquiries as they are highly relevant to the behaviour of our public servants who in less than three weeks time seek a further mandate to continue their business dealings, with our money, behind closed doors and without any form of scrutiny worthy of the name.

If they are re elected it will be open season and in my opinion the electorate will get what they deserve for their complacency.
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