The liquor license, sabotage and how Jenni McManus got it wrong

Jenni McManus NBR

Jenni McManus in her articles had got it seriously wrong , she had been led to believe by Spence, Thomas, Davidson and others that the family owed large amounts of money; according to McManus on every development.

She had also inexplicably formed the view that the intention of the developers had been to shaft the creditors, this was never the case, a pure fiction that some of the people McManus had spoken to, Ron Atkinson being one, knew to be wrong.

McManus was also aware that the alleged debts amounted to well under $300,000 and that this had been allowed for in the 2 million dollar RSL loan; $300,000 of which they had failed on – hence the success of an injunction application against RSL, claiming equitable off set of 1.8 million Dollars in damages.

If anyone should be held responsible for the serious losses the creditors were to suffer beginning August 1988 it was Detectives Stanley Matthew Willcox and Malcolm John Thomas and the National Business Review articles penned by McManus. It had always been Willcox and Thomas’s  intention to shaft the developers, starting with the first attempt to obstruct the liquor license twelve months earlier, August 1987 and then later assisted by McManus and the NBR articles in September 1988.

Chief Inspector Whiro Ratahi

In the 1987 attempt District Commander Wiseman and Inspector Ratahi intervened. Had that intervention not occurred the business would have failed immediately, being unable to trade without the license. This would have seen the creditors involved loosing an extraordinary amount of money, in fact absolutely everything  – Willcox,  Thomas and the other CIB officers involved, obviously devoid of conscience, knew that. They however continued to plan and execute the attempted initial sabotage knowing that the information supplied by Willcox was false.

In addition to their own internal activities Thomas and others had been spreading rumours, this had then incited others to lodge objections to the licence. The subsequent delays in obtaining a license cost the developers in excess of $300,000.

In all the family had completed two large developments and where about to complete a third. The Gladstone Park Geriatric facility had been the first. Commissioned in early December 1986 it was operational and a success. All suppliers and tradesmen had been paid in full and as usual there had been absolutely no problems with financing the project – the men had a long history of successfully obtaining investment loans, having owned substantial property holdings in Christchurch for a number of years – all of which had been financed with out any difficulty whatsoever.

The Restaurant Project

The Restaurant Project

The second project was a large restaurant and entertainment complex, planning had begun in early 1987 shortly before the purchase of the building was finalised. The construction and refurbishment commenced in May of the same year, approximately one month prior to the telephone call Detective Stanley Matthew Willcox had made to Senior Sergeant Alan Davidson.

In July 1987 an application for the restaurants liquor licence was filed. From the owners perspective there had been no indication of a problem with the application; nevertheless behind the scenes there was.

When reviewing previously unobtainable Police files, it became obvious that the first signs of malfeasance had appeared during this period. It was however not from the Police as a whole, far from it. The problem was isolated to a few officers in the Gisborne criminal investigation branch (CIB), the same division that Willcox had been transferred to; albeit in a different city.

The Police officers in the Gisborne CIB included Malcolm Thomas, Laurie Naden, Hemi Hikawai and Dave Nielson. Thomas however appears to have been the lynch pin upon which Willcox’s plan hung, that become evident in late 1988 when Hikawai and Nielson distanced themselves to some extent from Willcox and Thomas’s criminal behaviour.

During the execution of a search warrant Hikawai was over heard telling Thomas:

“This time you’ve gone to far Malcolm, this is crazy, you’re on your own. I’m out of here”

The police, however, have to date refused to provide the documents that these men had relied on in the report to Wiseman and Ratahi in this attempt to stop a license being issued; preferring instead to have everyone believe that they never existed.

The Restaurant Project

The Restaurant Project

Interestingly despite Willcox having supplied the information his name is not mentioned anywhere other than the recently released telephone memo. The reason is obvious; Willcox and the others knew that he needed to remain anonymous, they would also have known that if discovered it would have been over for him and the whole conspiracy – The Gisborne CIB throughout 1987 – 1993 continued to conceal Willcox’s very early involvement in the events and Thomas’s attempt to obtain bank records for Willcox.

Fortunately, evidence was later unearthed that proved the existance of  the  Willcox Dossier, the aforementioned memo of the 4th June 1987  detailing Willcox’s telephone conversation with Senior Sergeant Alan Davidson and the existence of his “unofficial” file. The only plausible explanation for the Polices failure to disclose this file with previous formal requests is that senior Police at the time must have known it needed to be concealed – if discovered it proved beyond any doubt that that Willcox had been involved which would have resulted in a successful claim against the New Zealand Police – a massive damages claim – a 6.5 million dollar liability.

As previously mentioned, the men who had ultimate responsibility for the CIB were the District Commander, Mr.Wiseman and his second in command Inspector Whiro Ratahi. They found the  CIB report to be lacking in fact or any evidence and in their own words; clearly very biased.

The report and its supporting documents had been provided by Senior Sergeant Laurie Naden, At the time the CIB’s senior officer, and the so called intelligence he had relied on came from the dossier Willcox had sent Davidson after his telephone call of the 4th June 1987.

Despite Wiseman and Ratahi rejecting the CIB report as biased the CIB however had no intentions of giving up. This is evidenced in a letter that Wiseman wrote to Naden at the eleveth hour wherein he advises the senior sergeant that:

The Detective Senior Sergeant,

5th August 1987

Senior Constable HAY has enquired into this application and recommended no Police objection. The Licensing Control Commission have been advised per letter that we have no objection.
To now object we need facts to support such opposition. None are on this file as yet. We also need to show that such facts were not available to Senior Constable Hay during his enquiries.
I have heard a lot of rumours about the XXXXXXX but to date seen no facts to support the same.”

Naden of course knew that no real evidence had ever existed it had always been a malicious creation born of Willcox’s desire for revenge.

Willcox had already sent his malicious file to the Gisborne CIB, obviously the information was false, just between mates and designed to impugn – it is obvious that Officers in the Gisborne CIB were aware of Willcox’s desire for revenge, the section 42 and his intentions; that’s why they conspired to conceal Willcox’s telephone call, the visit to the bank and his continuing involvement in the plot to destroy the business’s.

Senior Constable Hay however wrote a report to the Senior Sergeant uniformed branch on the 9th June 1987, five days after Willcox’s telephone call. This report also supports the licensing application. Interestingly however Senior Constable Hay notes:

“I have discussed this application with many CIB and uniformed members in this station. Apart from remarks that the XXXXXXXXX are of doubtful character I have not been able to locate any documentation which could substantiate the general opinion of members.

Despite sending a message to Christchurch CIB for any documented background on the applicant nothing has come forward.  The XXXXXXXX have been in this city for approximately a year and have recently bought and set up a building as an old peoples home. This venture has evidently been a success. I have recently viewed the renovations taking place in the old Cosmoplitan Club and there is no doubt that what is taking place will, if patronised, be an asset to this city.”


The application was not opposed by the Police on the orders of Wiseman and Ratahi. Willcox’s attempt had failed. This no doubt annoyed him and his bent colleagues in the Gisborne CIB who had worked tirelessly on this the first sabotage attempt.

The project had been completed however, there were a number of creditors still awaiting the last of their contract payments.  This at the time was not perceived to be a problem.  The finance had already been arranged, the signing of the contract the only thing remaining to be done.

The broker, Richard Parker, had organised everything and it was not until the signatories arrived in Auckland to sign the contracts that a problem became apparent. National Mutual had reneged, the deal was off – their explanation? They had received information from a credible source which had caused them to change their minds.

Richard Parker, the broker, however went one step further claiming he had been told by a senior National Mutual manager that the credible source was in fact a Police officer, he was however unable to name the individual; National Mutual had declined to name the police officer responsible.

McManus in her Police Statement claims that she only spoke to Senior Sergeant Davidson about the Police’s second attempt at objecting to the licence. She lied, there would have been very little to talk about, that attempt relied on evidence supplied by people associated with a competitor, this was evidenced by taping a meeting the competitor, Colin O”Dey, had with an Accountant. During that meeting O”Dey reveals his plan to destroy his competition. In short the second attempt by the bent cops to have the license cancelled  would have failed

Categorised in: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: