|3/10/06 ** Scale down page for Vince Siemer Interview and
How Stiassny sold old his friend Robert Fardell before he died **
Interview with Tim Hunter of the Sunday Star Times. 2/10/06
Mr. Hunter is Business Editor for the Sunday Star Times, recognized by many as the foremost provider of
news among the major newspapers in New Zealand. On 2 October 2006, Mr. Hunter sat down with Mr.
Siemer for a lengthy interview.
S. I know you as someone who has taken a keen interest in Vector Limited and a person who can add
considerable value to the current discussion regarding the story of Vector and the recent war that Vector
Chairman Stiassny has declared on the Commerce Commission. A good approach today may be to start
with what is most current and then what has led up to this. In this vein, I noticed Brian Gaynor of the
Weekend Herald two days ago said “Investors have also lost confidence in the Vector Board since the
Commerce Commission censured it.” Do you agree?
H. No. It is a complicated situation but this is a broad statement that I do not agree with.
S. Vector has just released its 2006 Annual Report. Looking at it, I would like to get your opinion on a
few things. First is the claim that the asset value of Vector increased 18% between 2005 and 2006. I
confirmed that there were no acquisitions in fiscal 2006 – the NGC purchased was completed in 2005 – but
I cannot see how utility infrastructure can appreciate 18% in one year. Do you?
H. I haven’t seen the report. But this is the financial year on year overview. I would need to look over
the full financials. Some of the most important information is in the footnotes.
S. That leads to the next question. There is a Net Profit line item that is referred to in the footnotes as
“Net Profit After Tax and Before Intangible Asset Amortization”. Do you have any idea what the
meaning or effect of this is, because I do not?
H. Sounds complex, but intangible assets like Goodwill are legitimately amortized.
S. To me it sounds a little like Enron; an arbitrary amortization of an abstract valuation. Care to fathom a
guess as to what Goodwill or other intangibles Vector would be amortizing?
H. I wouldn’t say it was like Enron. As to the meaning or effect, I would be only speculating without more
information and I am not prepared to do that.
S. Looking at the earnings per share – it actually went down. Yet the Vector Board increased dividends
70% over last year.
H. Dividends don’t necessarily follow earnings.
S.. I agree, but ordinarily an increase in dividends at a time of falling earnings would be because the
money is not needed for other things like paying off debt or investing in growth. That is not the case with
Vector and, therefore, it would seem irresponsible for the Board to increase dividends with such a huge
debt and falling profits.
H. Vector does have a large debt and it would be responsible for the Board to have considered this, but I
cannot say to what extent they did.
S. Would this be a legitimate and important question to ask?
S. Does it look suspicious to you that Vector in these circumstance raised dividends 70% and that the
Trustees aligned with Stiassny, Warren Kyd and Karen Sherry are taking credit for it in their election
campaign this month?
H. That’s politicians for you.
S. It is politicians but it is reasonable cause for suspicion?
H. It would not be the first time a company has increased its dividends while earnings fell. I would be
going further than I could to speculate the reasons for it.
S. Well, let’s speculate as to the normal reasons a company would do this. There is the earlier reason
that the money is not required to pay off debt or for growth or capital requirements. Is this the situation
H. I do not know. I haven’t checked.
S. Well, we know that Vector has a current reported debt of $3 Billion and we know that there has been
concern within Vector for some time that their credit rating might go down, causing their interest rate to
rise on this sizeable debt. As a responsible approach, you would expect the Board to pay that down before
they sizably increase dividends. Would you not agree?
H. I would agree that they would be expected to give serious consideration to the merit of paying
increased dividends over paying down some of the debt, and that should be a fairly important factor in
S. Can you think of any cogent business reasons why Vector would increase dividends in this situation?
H. I’ve seen it before. Telecom wrote down a huge amount of money from its Australian operation which
resulted in a massive loss to their bottom line but they were still in a position to pay a huge dividend, and a
special dividend as well, because their cash flow position was very strong. You would need to look more
directly at the accounts to determine whether the dividend increase in this case was irresponsible.
S. That’s possibly a good point. Are you aware of any extraneous or one-time write offs that might
sensibly support the argument that this was an atypical profit fall and should not impact the increase in
dividends they directed?
H. I haven’t examined the Vector accounts. I cannot therefore make a judgment. I have made these
kind of judgments with companies before – Feltex for example – but I have not done it in this case.
S. Do you have any concerns that Vector has played fast and loose with the dividend payments in order to
ingratiate itself to the beneficiaries ahead of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election, with little
regard to the business requirements?
H., I think anyone who is interested in investing in Vector would be wise to look at this and be certain that
the Board is taking care of the company’s position in this respect.
S. Given Vector’s monopoly status, its unique position that affects the lives of every Aucklander and
Fairfax as a dominant news organization, has anyone from the paper asked Vector why they substantially
increased dividends at a time of mounting debt and falling earnings per share?
H. We haven’t asked them that yet.
S. Has it occurred to you?
H. What I’ll do is probably go back and have a look at the numbers myself and see whether there is a
question to be asked.
S. On another topic, would it be fair to say that Stiassny has declared war on the Commerce Commission
over what he has been reported as calling a “regulatory avalanche”.?
H. I think what we saw from Michael Stiassny was an outburst. What is significant is that he and the rest
of the company have been pretty quiet since then.
S. Do you think it was because he overplayed his hand?
H. I don’t know.
S. Did it stun you that he was so virulent in his attack on the Commerce Commission as chairman of the
H. As chairman of the company, and as Michael Stiassny it was surprising. He is not normally
outspoken. For the chairman of the company to do that… You only have to look at Telstra in Australia
and the activities of Sul Trujillo to see that for some companies it is viewed a legitimate strategy to
overtly attack regulatory bodies.
S. If the Vector chairman has a legitimate disagreement with the Commerce Commission and Stiassny
claims that their actions are unfairly impacting the financials of the company… – do you first agree that is
what he is saying?
S. Then wouldn’t it be incumbent on the Chairman of the company in response to requests from the media
to provide financial information that backs up his claim that the Commerce Commission is ruining the
business? This in addition to the fact that it is a publicly traded monopoly subject to proper financial
H. It would be very helpful if he did. The thing I would like to see from Vector is an account of their actual
pricing to their customers. Vector doesn’t actually price to retail customers directly, it prices to
intermediaries. It would be relatively straightforward to show what that pricing was to rebut the
Commerce Commission’s accusations. It appears not that simple, which is frustrating for those of us
looking for answers in support of (Stiassny’s) claims and what is really going on.
S. It is reasonable for him to support and show financial information that is not only appropriate but, given
his overt attacks upon the Commerce Commission, is incumbent upon him to provide?
H. It is up to him what he provides. I think… the thing that you and I are frustrated about is when a
company director comes out and says they disagree with this approach but we’re not left with enough
information to make a judgment on whether the disagreement is valid.
S. But now that Vector is a publicly listed company that additionally has the protections afforded as a
monopoly, there appears little argument I can see as a businessperson for Vector to withhold financial
information, particular in light of Stiassny’s claims that the Commerce Commission is financially crippling
Vector. Would you not agree?
H. I would have liked to see it. I would suspect the information that becomes available is going to be very
H.. I don’t agree.
S. Whether it is an ‘Enronesque’ situation or not, is it unreasonable to say there are a lot of similarities?
S. Let me mention a few, like attacking the regulators…
H. I think if you are going to talk about Enron you have to make a link between a company and its
wrongdoings - with Enron it is the illegality and fraud. Attacking the regulators is not a sign to me of
anything in particular and not a useful comparison.
S. Criticizing the regulators is not in itself “Enronesque” but I suggest that claiming the regulators are
killing your business but then failing to show how this is so – as Stiassny has done – is Enronesque. Again
we are looking at the total package.
H. I don’t see that connection.
S. You have probably read the website where this chairman claimed last year to an Institute of Directors
group – and I notified the Commerce Commission in a letter that is also posted on the website – that
Stiassny claimed to have made a half billion dollars on the purchase of NGC and that he had ensured a
successful share float by advertising this claim to ‘grandmother beneficiaries’ and restricting the share
offering through two outlets. For a chairman of a publicly traded company to admit to manipulating the
sharemarket – is it not tantamount to the admission of a crime, particularly if the half billion dollar gain
claim is shown to be contrived?
H. I know you profess to have heard that, but I have no direct knowledge and cannot comment.
S.. As the business editor, what are your greatest concerns about Vector - from the NGC purchase,
through the share float, up to the current war Stiassny is waging on the Commerce Commission?
H. I think two things. First, the unusual ownership of Vector. It was quite uncontroversial for Vector to
be 100% owned by the AECT before it bought Untied Networks and NGC. The shareholders and
customers were the same people so in essence their interests were the same. When Vector bought United
Networks you had Vector customers who were not shareholders and this is when the structural tensions
started to appear. I think we saw it again when Vector wanted to buy assets and couldn’t do it without
raising money in the share pool so it needed permission from the Trust to do that.
S..What are your concerns for Vector’s consumers?
H. I think, if I was a consumer of Vector, I would be keenly aware that they are looking to optimise profit.
Everyone knows that. And this business is a monopoly. It is important that it is subject to oversight of the
Commerce Commission in a clear, transparent and predictable way, so that everybody knows where they
S. Both sides of the issue? Vector AND the Commerce Commission?
H. Yes. Absolutely.
S.. What would you like to see and report to the public?
H.. I would like to see what Vector's prices actually are.
S. Have you asked for this?
S. And their response?
H. They said it was too complicated.
S. Sounds very ‘Enronesque’ to me, although I know you won’t agree with that. As far as the
beneficiaries go, what do you see as the concerns?
H.. That’s a tricky one. I think most beneficiaries don’t care that much – or don’t see themselves as
owners of Vector. They regard the Trust as looking over their interests in that regard. So, it is quite
important from their point of view that the Trust knows what they are trying to do, and how to achieve it. I
don’t think the Trust Board has really united in its goal and its understanding of what its job is – which is a
S.. It’s a problem in keeping the Vector Board honest and accountable or is it a problem in some other
H. It’s a problem in its relation with the Vector Board and it’s a problem also with the direction of the
Trust as a whole. There were clearly Trustees that didn’t want to purchase NGC if it meant the IPO. If
they can’t agree on that, that’s a pretty crucial element.
S. But dissention within a Board is not uncommon.
H..Yes, but this is fundamental. If they are still not sure what they are there for, the next time that kind of
decision comes up, they (Vector) are still going to be faced with a lot of uncertainty about what the Trust is
going to think. So, I don’t think this unpredictability can be good.
S..Let’s talk about governance while we are on that issue. In the annual report, it says Vector adopted a
new Constitution on 22 June 2005 and “The Constitution deemed existing directors, as at the date of
its adoption, to have been appointed pursuant to the constitution and specifically provided for their
continuation in office.” Then there is the focus on “Independent directors”. This makes it pretty clear
to me that there is a new constitution that governs directors and that the decisions as to who serves is not
necessarily the purview of the Trust anymore. But you obviously have done some investigation regarding
the Vector constitution and the word you used is “opaque”. Was this the old constitution or the new
H. (Laughs) I don’t know. I think the situation here is it is extremely opaque as far as what individual
directors are appointed and who has a say-so. I think it is the case with virtually any board. Does the
chairman appoint the directors? Who appoints the chairman? They end up being a self-directing body, in
a way. The structure of boards end up appearing as some sort of weird alchemy.
S. Are you saying then that this is typical in the way they have approached it? You are understanding and
seeing today that they have changed the constitution.
H. Vectors constitution is unusual in that it has a board of trustees (the AECT) that do have the power to
S. Do they (the AECT) ?
H. My understanding of the process is they have a selection committee which identifies director
candidates; that the Trust has the power to make those selections. Whether they use that power, I do not
S.. As the 75.1% shareholder – you do realise first that the 24.9% float is significant in that the Trust
retains what is referred to as a super-majority, subject to rule without minority interference if they decide?
– it would be reasonable to assume that this power of the Trust to hire and fire directors is absolute?
H. You have to see it that way. My understanding is they do have that power.
S. With the new constitution… well, you are obviously aware that when the Trust tried to remove Stiassny
before – in 2004 - he took Trustee John Collinge to court to prevent him from voting him out. Shale
Chambers and Coralie Van Camp are two other Trustees who had been legally threatened by Stiassny, as
I understand it. You aren’t aware of that?
S. Are you aware of the suit against John Collinge to prevent him from voting?
H. I heard about it. This has to do with the IPO?
S. The IPO was last year. This was the year before. In 2004 there was an attempt to remove Stiassny as
chairman and legal action was taken against Collinge to prevent him from voting Stiassny out. Now you
see in the annual report that they have changed their constitution. And in here (the new constitution) it
stresses directors cannot come from within Vector, an exclusionary policy that appears calculating when
one considers what Stiassny has had to do to keep his job in the past and all the emphasis now on
‘independent directors’ and that the chairman must be “independent”. Do you know that of any other
H. Air New Zealand.
S. You are talking about the government. But before the government?
H. On commercial companies you would expect to see independent directors on the board.
S. It is your understanding that Stiassny is able to be removed by the Trust, as 75% owner of Vector?
H. I would expect that to be the case?
S. So it does not strike you as a possibility that the new constitution and emphasis on ‘independent’ chair
appointment is Stiassny attempting to cement himself into the chair position at Vector, mindful that when
Stiassny was sacked from the MetLife board last year he raised a fuss through the press that he should
not have been forced out because he was an ‘independent director’ who served an invaluable role as
such? Do you remember that?
H. .I remember the incident, the facts of which will unfortunately remain somewhat veiled to the public.
S. Getting back to the Commerce Commission, you have expressed some sympathy for Vector in relation
to the allegations of inequitable pricing.
H. It wasn’t inequitable pricing but rather discrepancies between rates of return against value of assets.
Vector says the Commerce Commission is wrong in its assumption that differing ROR means inequity of
prices. I consider Vector has a fair point in their accusation that the Commerce Commission’s actions
S. My understanding is they had already been warned and there is the argument that they also know the
rules. Are you saying that Vector had no clue of the Commerce Commission crackdown?
H. Vector was in breach of a price threshold 3-4 years ago. It was determined to be a technical breach,
one that was ultimately determined to be inadvertent. Lately they have been below the threshold so it was
unexpected that the Commerce Commission came down hard on them.
S. My understanding is that there is a lot more behind the Commerce Commission’s recent intervention at
Vector, but is it responsible for the Board to then say that they “suspend all large and new investments
and to review existing capital expenditure plans pending greater regulatory stability.”?
H. Yes. Investments and capital expenditure does not exclude maintenance.
S. But blaming it on no “regulatory stability”?! Then there is the issue of Vector’s assault on the
Commerce Commission over the NPV calculations in relation to new projects. You agree with Vector.
H.. Yes. No investment is neutral. You cannot expect a company to invest when the Net Present Value is
zero. That is the Commerce Commission approach. No company wanting to grow would do it.
S. But NPV of zero is misleading. It does not mean there is no return. It takes into account a weighted
cost of capital and makes allowance for a return (on equity). It is used in other countries quite
successfully, on publicly traded utilities.
H. But it inhibits growth, making any new investment unattractive.
S.. We are not talking about Microsoft. People buying utility shares are looking for a safe investment
with a steady return. They know it will be around, that it is by its nature a monopoly company with a
steady base whose market is protected and future returns reasonably assured.
H. But every company should be allowed to grow, needs to grow. The current regime does not allow
properly for this in my opinion.
S. If you break down industries between growth and expansion, mature or declining, what would you say
Vector is operating in?
S. So they shouldn’t be looking for growth, even though, that said, the trend of the market is for increased
electricity usage annually over the medium to long-term.
H. Not much. Less than 5% per year.
S. Talking of growth and running a company, I had it mentioned to me by another insolvency practitioner
like Stiassny that their skill-sets are contrary to those needed to run a successful and growing business, in
that insolvency practitioners approach the project from the opposite perspective. They rip companies
apart. While Stiassny has been successful at that, I have yet to find any businesses that his stewardship
has brought a benefit to shareholders. In fact, when I asked him to name two companies that his
stewardship brought any benefit to the shareholders, he responded that Vector was one such company.
When I said there was no accounting to support that his claims to this effect reflected intrinsic value – or
anything other than hype – he was not prepared (or unable) to name another company. In my
investigation, I cannot find one example where Stiassny has demonstrated that he is capable of managing
or directing a successful company. Do you think this is a fair question to ask Stiassny whether he has
been successful in running a business?
S. Is this a question that interests you?
H. Yeah, to the extent any pattern emerges, I’m interested in looking. But I do not have the agenda that
you do. I also look at a lot of companies and have limited time.
S. I make no attempt to hide my agenda. I am looking to expose Stiassny. But he does seem to have this
untouchable aspect to him. Again, like Jeff Skilling and Kenneth Lay of Enron, who were featured on the
front of Fortune magazine and hailed as wizards until the truth was undeniable. Do you think Stiassny is
H. Not to me.
S. Some people think so. But then a lot more fear him. Is Stiassny a man to be feared?
H. Some people believe he is.
S. Do you know who was responsible for serving the Anton Pillar order on Trust CEO Gary Sturgess when
he attempted to make available the Powerco offer that competed with the IPO (that Stiassny was pushing)?
H. I don’t know. I am understandably interested. I would say the AECT.
S. It was public record to the degree court proceedings were initiated.
H. We couldn’t get access to file. We would love to know who is responsible. The problem is the parties
are not talking.
How Michael Stiassny sold out his friend Robert Fardell QC before he died.
On 11 December 2005, Robert Fardell, then 52 years old, a Queens Club member of the Auckland Court,
jumped to his death from the Takapuna Cliffs at high tide, two hours after his junior counsel, Christopher Morris
had left his house that Sunday. Just weeks earlier, Fardell was forced to discover damning emails that revealed
he had worked with Michael Stiassny to deceive one of Fardell's clients. This disclosure was in response to an
active, two year old lawsuit initiated by that client claiming over a million dollars in damages as a result of
Fardell's improper actions. The discovered communications were in direct conflict with sworn affidavits Fardell
had earlier filed in the case.
More shocking than this disclosure was the fact that Fardell had concealed this relevant discovery for almost
two years, and despite filing 4 previous lists of discovery documents, yet he was now willing to essentially lay
bare his deliberate deception of the Court and his client - a deception that would undoubtedly result in his being
struck off as a lawyer in addition to losing the case. Considering this, the obvious question is what caused
Fardell to disclose these communications that would certainly expose his corruption and result in his
professional demise? In a word - Stiassny.
Michael Stiassny was a long-time legal client of Fardell's; a prodigious litigator who provided Fardell with
considerable legal work. He was also the trustee of Fardell's family trust. Fardell considered Stiassny a close
friend. On many occasions Fardell had put his neck on the line for Stiassny, generously and undeservedly
accepting that it was his advise that Stiassny relied upon when Stiassny lost a million dollar lawsuit after his
attempt to raid the NZ Stevedoring employee fund was challenged - a move made simply to protect Stiassny
from further damage to his reputation and finances. And again, when Stiassny needed protection after
breaching a contract that could potentially sink his company, Ferrier Hodgson, Fardell was there, furtively
coercing the other party to reach a settlement as he simultaneously exposed himself to professional risk.
But Fardell would eventually live to lament the one-sided friendship after it became clear that Stiassny valued
money much more than he valued Fardell's well-being, let alone his friendship. In the winter of 2005, Fardell
came to the realisation that Stiassny was no friend at all. This is when, despite Fardell's pleas, Stiassny refused
to relent in his pursuit of civil proceedings against Paragon Services Limited and Vince Siemer, proceedings
that Fardell warned him would reveal his own deceit and destruction of discovery in the active claim he was then
defending against. Of particular concern, Fardell had earlier destroyed his computer hard-drive in order to
prevent the disclosure of damning e-mails exposing his collusion with Stiassny. It now became obvious to
Fardell that Stiassny was not about to reciprocate the many favours that Fardell had extended him in the past.
Fardell was a proud and affable man, who valued friendships, prestige and his career more than anything. He
had no children and a marriage that many people who knew him well considered little more than a
convenience. When his professional life began to fall apart and he felt abandoned by his friend Stiassny, his
life took a downward spiral. Over the ensuing months he began to unravel. His junior counsel Christopher
Morris had always been there for him but it became increasingly clear that Mr. Morris had neither the intellect
nor the skills to assist him with the monumental challenges now facing him. Stiassny, the man he had
inextricably aligned himself with, a man with exceptional sway within the small Jewish community and certain
sectors of the business community, had spurned his pleas for help. On that brisk early summer Sunday that
Morris left Fardell's home, Fardell did not see a way out of his predicament. In taking his own life, Fardell left a
tarnished legacy that many legal practitioners see as one of the great professional and personal tragedies. #
< 4 minutes read time
INTERVIEW WITH VINCE SIEMER
Vince Siemer is a Gulf Harbour businessman with companies in
New Zealand and abroad. He holds a Bachelors degree in
Industrial Relations as well as an MBA degree from Washington
University in the United States. Vince is a member of the Institute
of Directors of New Zealand and a former consumer arbitrator for
the Better Business Bureau of Eastern Missouri in the United States.
Q. Last year, Auckland High Court Justice Ellen France largely upheld Michael Stiassny’s injunction preventing
you from publishing your professional experiences with him as you have detailed these to the authorities. What
are you going to do now?
A. I consider myself one of those rare individuals who fights harder when the going gets tough – and the
greater the perceived injustice. For me, there was no option but to appeal. Nonetheless, it is daunting to know
that Julian Miles (Stiassny’s lawyer) can get a former chambers partner (the first judge) to quickly sign an ex
parte injunction on a Friday evening based upon false premises yet I have to wait 15 days after the rescission
hearing for Justice France’s judgment – largely because of a post hearing request by the same Mr. Miles.
Q. Are you shocked by Justice Ellen France’s ruling?
A. Shocked isn’t the word for it. Maybe dumbfounded, certainly saddened. I expected much more from the
Judge, my initial impression was that she grasped the importance of the issues.
Q. ‘Saddened’ sounds more emotional than the obvious ‘shock’ one might expect. Is that a fair distinction?
A. I would not disagree. My kids were in the courtroom. Because I have tried to instil in them the importance of
due process, France's ruling not only undermined the established law on personal liberties but dealt a powerful
blow to the pre-eminent sense of justice - and the Courts as the rightful vehicle for the pursuit of justice - in their
eyes. I feel particularly disappointed for my daughters to see an inexperienced woman judge bullied by a lawyer
with the initials ‘Q.C’ behind his name in a country that leads the world in woman's rights, .
Q. Do you believe the justice system let you down?
A. I believe it was Charles Dickens who said ‘The law is an ass.’ so I accept that laws and the system are not
perfect. But that was not the problem here. I truly consider that the law and precedents firmly support our
case. It was simply Justice France’s ruling that let us down.
Q. But Judge Ellen France’s ruling states your claims of misconduct by the plaintiffs are indefensible, saying
pointedly “that there is no reasonable possibility of a defence of truth succeeding” …
A. She could not be more wrong. Moreover, it is puzzling how she - or any judge of integrity - could make such
a ruling without seeing the evidence. Yet this is what she did. And when you read her ruling, it is clear that she
understood what the law was, yet it is just as clear that she was determined to not let the law inconvenience her
decision. This is scary!
Let me share this with you: before World War II Winston Churchill called Hitler an ‘evil man’ and most of the
world condemned him for such blunt and offensive language; language which was believed unfair as well as
provocative. These are what we today call ‘appeasers’ but, at the time, Winston Churchill stood virtually alone.
And he was a man of principle when principle was valued. It is difficult today to comprehend how much this
chorus of appeasers and general apathy to this monstrous threat weighed upon him. He nonetheless stood his
ground, replying “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it but, in the end,
there it is”. No more beautiful words have been spoken. I will not cower to an opinion borne of ignorance,
threats or privilege.
Q. Can you really argue with the Judge’s decision that one cannot put a price on Stiassny’s reputation whereas
the only thing you have lost is your expenditures on the billboards and website?
A. Are you kidding?! The hearing was the same week as Anzac Day. Those gallant men and women who paid
the ultimate price for freedom would roll over in their graves to learn that a High Court Judge played truth police
while quashing freedom of expression. When the judiciary determines that a ruthless and powerful man’s
reputation is so priceless that any evidence and experiences that he claims undermines it must be purged and
banned, the Gestapo cannot be far behind. I am not being over-dramatic. Erosion of civil liberties is
notoriously unremarkable as it is occurring. If history has taught us anything it is that people like Adolph
Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot succeeded in committing horrendous crimes only through purges
of public opinion that conflicted with the reputations they sought to promote.
Q: Are you comparing Michael Stiassny with Saddam Hussein?
A: Look, we value many things as a society. I am not saying that Mr. Stiassny is a mass murderer but I am
clearly saying he is powerful, ruthlessly aggressive and dodgy in his public dealings and that he poses a
legitimate threat to many other principles we hold in high esteem as a society, not the least of which is fair and
honest dealings by public administrators and the legal right to proper disclosure. The damage to his victims is
considerable and very real. Access Brokerage and Vector are just two current examples that I fear we will look
back upon in 5 years and ask how this man could plunder such huge assets under everyone's noses. I hope I
am wrong but the more I look into his business affairs the more I see what can only be described as zealous and
unbridled pursuit of his personal interests coupled with a virulent penchant to destroy anyone who stands in the
way of these interests.
Q. Cannot Mr. Stiassny explain away much of what you label transgressions as simply 'errors' on his part?
A. He certainly is trying. The problem for him is there is a pattern of 'errors' as he calls them, that appear in
many cases to be elementary, quite serious and systemic, and which require explanations he has no answers
for other than calling them honest mistakes. Aside from the fact that he is a Chartered Accountant prone to
making large financial mistakes, he has a habit of losing important records. I say this is unacceptable conduct
for a sales clerk, let alone the ruling chairman of electric and water monopolies. Simply look at the ENRON
debacle in the U.S. and you will see how the cost to the public grew to many billions of dollars because few
people could believe that a close personal friend of the President could be as dishonest as we now know the
Chairman of that company was.
Q. Stiassny is suing you for over a million dollars. You must be worried?
A. I must say honestly that, since Ellen France’s judgment, I am concerned. At the same time, you will never
meet another person more tenacious than me. I truly believe that. And my life is filled with examples where
justice has prevailed simply as a result of such tenacity. The fact that the website received 99% positive
feedback is also encouraging. I know I am on the right track. ###
|9 Questions for
A citizen can show no greater
respect for the law than a show of
peaceful contempt for a judge's
perversion of it.