A prominent Hawke's Bay businessman is accused of deceiving a sports club into securing a pokie grant to pay for new chairs for his restaurant.
Rodney Green appeared before Judge Brooke Gibson in Napier District Court yesterday to defend charges of obtaining by deception and using a document for pecuniary advantage.
The Crown alleges Green, 64, offered to sell 130 used chairs from his Bluewater Hotel restaurant to a sports club at a price of $94 each in early 2009. The identity of the club is suppressed.
Green allegedly arranged to buy new chairs from Big Save furniture at the same price and he told club manager Lyle Tresadern to pay Big Save for the secondhand chairs as part of a "trade-in" arrangement.
Crown prosecutor Warren Cathcart said the secondhand chairs were worth only $20 to $30 and Big Save had no "trade-in" arrangement with Green.
"That trade-in stipulation and the price stipulation by Mr Green to Mr Tresadern were false," Mr Cathcart said.
Green decided on the chairs he wanted from Big Save. They were to be delivered to the hotel, but he instructed assistant manager Candice Hansen to alter an invoice so it would be sent to Mr Tresadern at the club.
Ms Hansen told Judge Gibson she had spoken to Green but there had been no discussion of a trade-in arrangement.
Mr Tresadern said the club needed more chairs and having inspected those being offered by Green, he felt they would be ideal. The club committee agreed to buy them and lodged a successful grant application to the Infinity Foundation for $10,000.
The Hawke's Bay-based pokie organisation runs pokie machines in the Bluewater Bar.
The grant went into the club's bank account on May 6 and was transferred to Big Save the next day.
Mr Tresadern said it was not until the Internal Affairs Department began investigating the grant that he noticed the description on the Big Save invoice was for new chairs and not the old chairs the club had received.
Mr Tresadern said he was adamant he had spoken to Ms Hansen and was sure the chairs were part of a trade-in. Earlier, Ms Hansen said she did not know Mr Tresadern and could not remember speaking to him.
Mr Tresadern said in hindsight it would have been better to have paid Green directly for the chairs, and Green could have made his own arrangements for new chairs.
Green built the businesses Napier Discount Meats and Medallion Bacon before entering hospitality about 12 years ago with the purchase of Bluewater Hotel. He also owns Napier Travel Inn on Marine Pde.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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