Horan and mate at odds over bet debt

Last updated 05:00 31/03/2013

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Embattled MP Brendan Horan has complained to the police after his former best friend and flatmate wrote to him at Parliament accusing him of not paying a debt after a joint win at the races.

Colin Henderson was boarding with Horan and his wife Miranda at their home in Mt Maunganui when the Sunday Star-Times revealed last November that Horan was under investigation over large sums of money missing from his mother's accounts.

Henderson initially supported Horan but they have now fallen out.

Before she died, Olwen Horan, a million-dollar lottery winner, amended her will to instruct her executor, her nephew John Buckthought, to retrieve money loaned to Horan or "taken by misadventure".

Horan was sacked from New Zealand First by party leader Winston Peters after the revelations, and it was also revealed that he had used his parliamentary phone to call the TAB betting line about 12 times in four hours.

Horan has taken action in the High Court at Tauranga to have Buckthought removed as executor of his mother's will.

Henderson has filed an affidavit in support of Buckthought, in which he says that in May, 2012, while watching the races with Olwen Horan, she said she believed her son was taking money from her.

Henderson's affidavit says that after Olwen Horan died, he went through 10 years of her bank statements and was shocked by expenditure he said was out of character with her spending habits.

His affidavit says went to see Horan and advised him to get together with his family and lawyers and "sort it out" and keep the matter within the family. "Despite Brendan telling me that he was going to do this, he never did," the affidavit says.

Horan denies he took money from his mother.

The week before last, Henderson wrote to Horan at Parliament making allegations over a bet the pair had placed together in January, 2012.

In the letter, Henderson claimed he had not been paid his share of the winnings.

Henderson said two police officers from Mt Maunganui visited him last week, saying Horan had felt threatened by part of Henderson's letter.

Henderson told the Star-Times he explained to the officers that all he meant was Horan would have to face action in the small claims court and him going to the media if he did not settle the debt.

He said the police were satisfied with that and left, commenting that they would put the complaint "in Horan's file".

The Star-Times understands Horan has told associates the winning bet never existed, but Henderson claims he can prove through TAB records the horses they picked together had won, and is gathering evidence to that end.

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He said the only reason he was speaking publicly was because Horan had never bothered getting in touch with him to discuss their dispute and hadn't faced up to his actions, instead "palming blame on innocent people".

Horan declined to comment on the gambling dispute. "It's in the hands of police."

He refused to comment further on Henderson's allegations, and accused the Star-Times of "destroying my family".

The police who took Horan's complaint could not be contacted yesterday.

Meanwhile, the forensic investigation into Olwen Horan's accounts has been put on hold while Horan's legal action is sorted out. A hearing is not expected for at least a month.

- Sunday Star Times

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