Talkswindon

Big Local Issues & Enquiries => Talkswindon WiFi Inquiry => Topic started by: Tobes on August 23, 2011, 10:37:41 AM

Title: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Tobes on August 23, 2011, 10:37:41 AM
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/ (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...
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner 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 (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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: itspavagain 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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Tobes 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?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Bobby Bingo 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
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Geoff Reid 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.

Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds 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?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Geoff Reid 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 (http://www.talkswindon.org/politics/wifi/radio/2011_08_26_Digital_City_(UK)_Ltd_John_Richard_Rikki_Hunt_associates_discusses_his_bankruptcy.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 (http://www.ssep.org.uk/ssep/ssep-about.htm) or the newly formed Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/Detail.aspx?ReleaseID=420520&NewsAreaID=2), (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?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Bobby Bingo 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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Steve Wakefield 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/ (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/local/4801575.Wi_fi_signal_gets_switched_online/)
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: MsD Meanor 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.
 



Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner 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.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 (http://www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk/eiir/IIRCaseIndivDetail.asp?CaseId=700169131&IndivNo=101837675&Court=SWIN&OfficeID=600000043&CaseType=BRU)
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Terry Reynolds on February 25, 2012, 08:33:41 PM
anymore news on the pay going to the wifi man?...
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner 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?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: ph1lc on February 25, 2012, 10:40:17 PM
The reasons should be published shortly on the insolvency service website.










Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Geoff Reid 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:
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner 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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: DavidPayne 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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Des Morgan 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.

Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds 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.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Steve Wakefield on April 14, 2012, 05:53:03 PM
This is my latest offering to the Adver, I wonder if they will print it as it is so close to the election

Well we shall have to wait and see, as they have published the article.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on April 14, 2012, 07:30:54 PM
Just look at the comments against the article about Rikki's bankruptcy in the Advertiser!!

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9648859.Extended_bankruptcy_for_Digital_City_head/ (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9648859.Extended_bankruptcy_for_Digital_City_head/)

Everyonecounts says...
10:13am Sat 14 Apr 12

So let's see what's in the accounts when they are published but whatever they do show, it will not take away from the fact that the Council's funding of this company was at best severely misguided (whoever thought this had business legs was off their trolley) and at worst...

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Scott Thunes says...
10:25am Sat 14 Apr 12

I hope that the electorate see this shabby, old pals administration for what it is and ensure the Tories are sent packing in May. Quite how Bluh and Perkins can show their face is beyond me. Funny how there was no mention of this in the glossy toilet paper that came through the door. Tories out.

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Robfm says...
10:30am Sat 14 Apr 12

It seems the Council is getting their Ducks in a row. I got the same answer with regard to the accounts from a follow up FOIA.

So we have Councillor Perkins a Director of the company not willing to speak, Councillor Blur, Council Leader and ultimately responsible for the £400k handed over claiming he doesn't know any details.

Says it all really.

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Knobfm says...
10:30am Sat 14 Apr 12

So..........
Councillor Garry Perkins (Conservative, Shaw Ward) as a director of Digital City, has said he had no problem with the accounts being made public and they would be made public.
(when?)

Councillor Rod Bluh (Conservative, Old Town Ward)
says “The finalisation of the accounts is the responsibility of Digital City and not the council.

Yet they are happy to further donate our taxes for their "venture"

I sincerely hope people can put their national political beliefs to one side when it comes to voting in the LOCAL elections in May

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candid friend says...
10:39am Sat 14 Apr 12

I wondered what was happening with RH.
He is not the only one that should be subject to a bankruptcy order.
What about those that were taken in by him, and gave him the key to Council safe!

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Synergie says...
10:55am Sat 14 Apr 12

"........His financial troubles, which followed a long business history and a spell as Swindon Town chairman, are unconnected to the wi-fi scheme......"
.
They most certainly are connected, they were all dismal failures, with the barrow-boy spiv in the photo holding the reigns.
.
Messrs Bluh, Perkins and the Borough Solicitor MUST be held to account for the blatent misappropriation of Swindon taxpayer's money, and where better than the polling stations on May 5th. Swindon Council chambers are desperately in need of DEEP CLEANSING to remove the smell!!

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bringbackvicbbc says...
11:01am Sat 14 Apr 12

There is only one way for Bluh and Perkins that is out .Idont want Labour voted in but would rather have them than these shady pair . Both should do the honourable thing and resign failing that I do hope the electorate in the wards this pair are standing in see tthem for what they are imho Shady

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bringbackvicbbc says...
11:02am Sat 14 Apr 12

There is only one way for Bluh and Perkins that is out .Idont want Labour voted in but would rather have them than these shady pair . Both should do the honourable thing and resign failing that I do hope the electorate in the wards this pair are standing in see tthem for what they are imho Shady

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bringbackvicbbc says...
11:08am Sat 14 Apr 12

Sorry for the double take , but why does the Adver remove this sort of story from the main page so quickly when there is these two involved , I wonder

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I Too says...
12:32pm Sat 14 Apr 12

People should put their national political sways to one side in May.

This will be a LOCAL election.
Time to observe what LOCAL councillors have been up to and vote out the bad ones.

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Bobby Bee says...
4:55pm Sat 14 Apr 12

Conservatives OUT OUT OUT

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house on the hill says...
5:22pm Sat 14 Apr 12

Whatever happened to taking responsibility for your actions as an eleceted official. Why cant we sue these con men that run our council when they clearly make decisions like this just to benefit themsleves or their shady associates or are just plain incompetant?

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abbotboy says...
5:24pm Sat 14 Apr 12

DONT FORGET ALSO THAT THESE SO CALLED LEADERS, ALSO PAID MR HUNT £82,000 OVER A PERIOD OF THREE YEARS, FOR HIS ADVICE TO STAFF, (NOW THEY ALL CAN APPLY FOR THE BANKRUPT COURT)..

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MrAngry says...
5:41pm Sat 14 Apr 12

If the council hadn't paid £4,000 to avoid Digital City being struck off, would Garry Perkins be allowed to stand for re-election.

Was this the real motive?

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MrAngry says...
5:41pm Sat 14 Apr 12

If the council hadn't paid £4,000 to avoid Digital City being struck off, would Garry Perkins be allowed to stand for re-election.

Was this the real motive?

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TinkeyWinkey says...
5:48pm Sat 14 Apr 12

Dodgy & rotten to the core the lot of them!!!

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Jim Royle says...
6:34pm Sat 14 Apr 12

It's public money so let the public see the accounts. To say it looks very dodgy is an understatement

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Gestiblindus says...
6:52pm Sat 14 Apr 12

Definitely another 'black hat day' for Mr. Hunt.

It is interesting to note that it is known to be more likely for those who fail in managing their personal finance to also fail in managing budgets they are trusted with in business.

I suspect that Cllr. Bluh, Cllr. Perkins, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Hunt, and Mr. Patel, all have fears that will be realised if the accounts of Digital City are made public. However, this is clearly a case where silence and lack of information add significantly to the appearance of deceit.

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Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner on May 03, 2012, 01:45:47 PM
Apologies Richard. I completely missed the article but paste it here for everyone to read.

Quote
The businessman at the centre of Swindon’s wi-fi fiasco has had his bankruptcy extended for another four years.

Rikki Hunt was ordered to comply with financial restrictions until January 2016 in a ruling at Swindon County Court.

He stood down as head of the ill-fated Digital City scheme a year ago in a row over its failure to roll out wi-fi.

The firm, which is due to receive a £4,000 bailout by the council to stop it being struck off, was set up to provide coverage for Swindon and Highworth.

But only Highworth was covered and debate rages over the council’s £400,000 investment in the stalled project.

Mr Hunt, 58, also quit his role as chairman of the Swindon Strategic Economic Partnership last August after the Adver revealed he had gone bankrupt.

His financial troubles, which followed a long business history and a spell as Swindon Town chairman, are unconnected to the wi-fi scheme.

Details of the court order, passed in January, emerged as campaigners called for Digital City’s accounts to be made public.

Des Morgan, a retired company director who has been a long-time critic, said: “The accounts should be revealed for three reasons.

“The first is that Coun Garry Perkins, as a director of Digital City, has said he had no problem with the accounts being made public and they would be made public.

“The second is Swindon Council paid for the accounts to be completed and, as such, they have been paid for by the taxpayers.

“The third is that there is a lot of concern over what’s in the accounts in terms of Mr Hunt’s remuneration. We would like to know from those accounts how much of a salary he drew from Digital City’s funds.”

Details at the Insolvency Service list Mr Hunt as ‘unemployed’ under the name John Richard Hunt.

A spokesman for the service said: “When you’re made bankrupt, there are certain restrictions you have to comply with.

“You can’t get credit beyond a certain amount without disclosing that you are bankrupt and you can’t become a director of a company.

“If you already operate a business you have to carry it on in the same name.

“The restrictions also prevent an individual taking up positions including as an MP or a councillor.”

Coun Rod Bluh said: “The finalisation of the accounts is the responsibility of Digital City and not the council. The council has an interest in Digital City as it is a shareholder. The accounts are in the process of being finalised by the Digital City accountants but we understand they have not yet been finalised.

“Once the accounts are filed at Companies House, they will be public documents. It is a matter for the company what other information they make available.”
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner on September 04, 2012, 09:02:36 AM
It looks like there is some movement on the part of Companies House concerning Rikki's consulting company, "Avidity Consulting".

A recap. We believe that Avidity Consulting acted as an advisor to Digital City (UK) and also to Swindon Council and was paid for such.

Rikki Hunt resigned his position from the company in December 2010 just before he went on his expedition to Mount Everest. (When he returned from this trip we remember that he declared himself bankrupt. Well, its an expensive trip see.)

Rikki's wife, Laura, was appointed the Secretary of Avidity Consulting at about the same time as he was made bankrupt in March 2011, coincidently, at the same time, the company's international headquarters was moved to a family home in Kingshill Road.
 
In August 2011 the company applied to be struck off the Companies House register but for some reason it and Digital City (UK), which was in a similar position, were not struck off.

On the 28th August 2012,  it seems that the "first gazette for voluntary strike off" for Avidity Consulting has again  been registered. Normally the second gazette will appear three months after that and the company will cease to exist. (There is still no action on the Digital City (UK) front, either for the accounts being filed or for strike off.)

Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on September 04, 2012, 10:18:48 AM
It looks like there is some movement on the part of Companies House concerning Rikki's consulting company, "Avidity Consulting".

On the 28th August 2012,  it seems that the "first gazette for voluntary strike off" for Avidity Consulting has again  been registered. Normally the second gazette will appear three months after that and the company will cease to exist. (There is still no action on the Digital City (UK) front, either for the accounts being filed or for strike off.)

Does that mean that the interest from a 'Government Agency' (Source Companies House) has now ceased OOT and the way is now clear for Strike Off?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: ph1lc on September 04, 2012, 01:03:40 PM
Crucially the shares in Avidity were registered in Rikki's name. Hence on his bankruptcy their control passes to The Official Receiver.

Clearly the OR is now happy they are worthless - hence Avidity can be struck off.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Outoftowner on September 04, 2012, 01:44:03 PM
Richard said,
Quote
Does that mean that the interest from a 'Government Agency' (Source Companies House) has now ceased OOT and the way is now clear for Strike Off?

I guess so Richard.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Des Morgan on September 05, 2012, 08:08:37 AM
Quote
I guess so Richard.

Not so with Digital City which Coun Perkins advises is still functioning although unbale to pay its debts - I suppose it's a fine judgement as to what constitutes 'insolvent'

The soon to be held board meeting - I hear it may be tomorrow - is deciding anumber of things


1. The level of detail and presentation for the accounts wait for Coun Perkins to state that aQovia will not allow them to be as full and transparent as he would like them to be

2. Whether the firm should continue operating or be shut down only a year ago he proclaimed that the business was to be saved and that it was of value to the new partner

3. Determine the value of the Highworth infrastructure which is thought to be worth in the region of £200k this is part of the softening up process as we all know that the 'assets' in Highworth are rubbish

4. Which shareholder should own it so at last we have proff of the lie told by offciers and councillors who claimed that the assets would be transferred to SBC in the event of a default on the loan payment, interest payments or a failure of DC to provide the WiFi service

5. Whether he is personally liable for the £1,500 late filing charge as he is only a council representative why should he not be liable - the fine was absolutley avoidable. The accounts should have been presented on time something which given DC only actually traded for a limited few months, had revenue from so few streams

 
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on September 05, 2012, 09:58:18 AM
Des, I wonder if Aquovia want to be 'bought out' of their relationship with the Council and this is the reason why accounts which could be completed in a working day are not available twelve whole months later?
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: ph1lc on September 05, 2012, 01:37:36 PM
Des

There is a vast difference between the "book" vaalue of an asset, which is broadly it's cost and the cost of comissioning it less depreciation to date and it's sale value.
The £200k that Perkins quotes may very well be their book value.

Their sale value is literally coppers.

As to which shareholder "owns" the assets - simple they both do. BUT - only the value of the assets AFTER the creditors have been paid. I don't know what other creditors there are apart fron SBC, there was talk of a bank loan.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: ph1lc on September 05, 2012, 01:42:50 PM
It is worth remembering that the legal minimum detail, which must be published, will show the value of creditors at the financial year end. We can deduct what we know is owed to SBC and that will tell us how much is owed to other people. It will also give a very good guide to the options open regarding future ownership of the assets.
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on September 05, 2012, 04:18:26 PM
Didn't someone say the value of the lamp post equipment was available on the commercial market for a mere £30,000, so what happened to the rest of the money?

Is it true that the accounts were being prepared by Price Waterhouse? 

If that is so what an utter waste of money, mind you what is new in this free spending Council?

My fee for accounts is £100 as Peter Mallinson can bear witness and I accomplished that on the basis of limited available records and required a bit of deduction to achieve a balanced result.  It was fun though!!
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Des Morgan on September 05, 2012, 05:47:24 PM
Quote
Is it true that the accounts were being prepared by Price Waterhouse?
 

No it's not true.  The work PWC undertook was a review of the position of DC relative to SBC as confirmed to me by the Borough Treasurer who stated :-

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.

This is of course a very different state of affairs from Coun perkins claim made on 2 September 2011 when he stated :-

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”

Now i know that the legal brain of one ST will be working overtime to formulate a perfectly reasonable interpretation of Coun Perkin's claim, but any reasonable person will accept that Coun perkins was being asked about the preparation of DC accounts and he responded with an answer which suggested that PWC were involved.

For the record I believe Haines Watts are the accountants putting together the DC accounts
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on September 06, 2012, 12:58:19 AM
Des, at Cabinet, last night,it was reported that the Accounts are with the Auditors whoever they may be!!
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Des Morgan on September 06, 2012, 08:49:46 PM
Quote
at Cabinet, last night,it was reported that the Accounts are with the Auditors whoever they may be!!

That would be Haines Watts who have had them since February !!!
Title: Re: Rikki is bankrupt - its official. Final FINAL nail in the wi-fi coffin?
Post by: Richard Symonds on September 06, 2012, 10:34:47 PM
Quote
at Cabinet, last night,it was reported that the Accounts are with the Auditors whoever they may be!!

That would be Haines Watts who have had them since February !!!

So why has it taken that long, it can't be that difficult can it?