Hubbard turned off hotel's lights

EMMA BAILEY
Last updated 15:00 08/04/2014

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When South Canterbury Finance (SCF) chairman Allan Hubbard stayed at the embattled Auckland Hyatt Hotel, he spent the night turning off the lights in the hotel hallways.

He also took his own towel to avoid dirtying the hotel's, the fraud trial of former SCF directors Edward Sullivan and Robert White, and former chief executive Lachie McLeod, heard yesterday.

In the High Court at Timaru before Justice Paul Heath, Auckland property developer Neville Mahon was on the stand detailing his attempt to buy the Hyatt Hotel, which owed SCF $45 million at the time of SCF's collapse in 2010.

In 2007 he was approached by SCF directors White, Sullivan and chairman Hubbard and McLeod. Hubbard died in a car crash in September 2011.

"They came to see me and asked if I would like to buy the hotel.

"I knew SCF had lent money on it many years ago and that the asset had major problems. The manager was taking all the money out of it and the owner wasn't getting any. The rooms were in a bad need of repair and the lifts were at the end of their life," Mahon said.

He met with the men in Auckland.

"Allan Hubbard had a towel hanging out of his briefcase because he didn't see the need to dirty a hotel towel. He said he had been up all night turning off all the light bulbs at the hotel.

"I had a lot of debt. I did not have the funds to buy or renovate the hotel. They said they may be able to structure a loan so I wouldn't necessarily need to provide any money.

"Mr Hubbard was putting pressure on all and sundry to remove the hotel from the books."

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