Slater and Cook versus ‘ex-cop and security company boss’

Filling in the gaps that Whale Oil leave out.

Today Stephen Cook, who is descibed on Whale Oil as “multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday”, has posted what many will recognise as potentially another suspicious looking hit job – EX-COP AND SECURITY COMPANY BOSS FOR THE HIGH JUMP.

But as is common at Whale Oil and should be uncommon in journalism, there are pertinent facts that are not disclosed.

The ex-cop and security company boss, Paul Thomas Staples, also appears to be an ex business partner of Cameron Slater.

From Liquidators First Report: PSCS Limited (In Liquidation) Previously known as CDP Security Limited:

SlaterLiquidation1

And:

SlaterLiquidator2

And:

SlaterLiquidator3So there’s some serious issues there, with both Staples and Slater listed as the directors.

Cook reports:

Over the past two decades, Staples has worked mainly in the security industry. Wherever he’s gone trouble has followed with reports of illegal business practices, general mismanagement and companies not being registered for tax purposes with IRD.

With Slater as a co-director, something Cook conveniently didn’t mention. Cook promises:

TOMORROW: MORE ON THE AUCKLAND TAX CHEAT AND HOW HE TRIED TO SWINDLE IRD

Perhaps he will be more open in that.

I’ve been sent a document detailing an investigation of business relationships between Staples and Slater, including business failures. The fact that this has not been disclosed in Cook’s article is interesting.

Why the hit job on an ex-business partner? Why has Staples been charged, having incurred substantial tax debts, while Slater seems to have escaped scrutiny by the courts?

Slater may have found a legitimate way of avoiding charges himself, but outing the ex-cop and security company boss – and ex-business partner – seems odd, unless there is some ulterior motive other than just news reporting.

Also included are details of Cook’s association with methamphetamine, which some people may consider relevant to his actions, credibility and judgement. I don’t know if this association is only historic or is still current, but it explains why he is a “former news editor”..

The investigation (supplied information):

On 1 October of this year, Cameron John Slater released a book entitled “Dodgy Unions”. Whale Oil carried advertisements for “Author Cam Slater’s New Book: Pre-Order Details.” He must have been a bit concerned about sales because he got his good friend Pete Belt to write a glowing review of the book on Amazon, under the name of “B. Edwards”. He was caught out very quickly, and apparently it was all a bit of a joke. However, Amazon do not appear to have found it very funny.

Apparently,  ‘Dodgy Unions’ will be “the first of many planned books that allow [‘author’] Slater to explore subjects in far more depth and provide far more analysis” than ‘journalist’ Slater is able to do on his blog.

One can perhaps hope that author and journalist Slater does not too much flying, as it seems ‘pilot’ Slater may not be beyond the realms of his ability to confer a range of professions on himself.

There is a tendency, latent in us all perhaps, to promote those things we would like people to know about us, and not tell people the things that we are not so proud of. For example, it is unlikely that a person would sit down with someone they have only just met and say, ‘in 2005 I lost all my money. I lost it because I made stupid decisions and I ended up hurting lots of people and it was really embarrassing and sad.

You particularly don’t want to make an admission like that if your name is Cameron Slater, author, journalist, blogger. Slater comes across as pretty aggressive and if it was to come out that much of what he has called people to account for, he has actually done himself, it might cause him a few credibility problems. Or perhaps not, because it does seem that he feels able to hold people to standards of behaviour that he doesn’t require of himself.

Nevertheless, what’s done is done, and thanks to the internet it’s very hard to hit the erase button.     

So, back in February 2001 a company was formed called, somewhat ominously, Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited1. The company director was listed as Paul Thomas Staples and the shareholders were Sanctuary Trustee Limited2 and Lalovaea Limited3.  Mr Staples was the majority shareholder in Lalovaea Limited. From what I have read about Mr Staples on the Whale Oil website it is clear that Slater and he are no longer on speaking terms, to say the least.

Fast forward to 2004 and we find that the company known as Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited has been placed into liquidation, on or about 9 January. The liquidator’s first report4 tells a pretty bleak story. The liquidator, Grant Bruce Reynolds noted that the company failure “was due to a large overdue account owing to the Inland Revenue Department…”  He then goes on to talk about the amounts owed to creditors which are $516,908.85 preferential; $117,176.98 secured; and $52,132.88 unsecured. Making up a total debt of $686,218.71.

On 19 January 2004 a Receiver is appointed. The Receivers’ First Report5 basically says Scottish& Pacific Business Finance Limited are a debenture holder and that they intend to realise that security. The report is furnished by Price Waterhouse Cooper and includes an updated list of creditors: $407,519.00 preferential; $134,420.00 secured; and $82,589.00 unsecured, giving a new total of $624,528.00.

The Receivers remain for about seven months at which point they resign and hand the company back to the Liquidators. Their final report6 notes that the secured party has been repaid and the remaining debt is now $490,048.00.

More importantly, it states that, prior to their appointment, the company’s business and related assets were sold to another company, CDP Security Limited, through a Sale and Purchase agreement (S&P) dated 7 November 2004. It makes mention of a payment of $8,500.00 received as ‘part payment’ of an amount due to the company under the aforementioned Sale and Purchase agreement.

CDP Security Limited was incorporated on or about 18 February 2003. At the time the company had 1000 shares, all owned by Paul Thomas Staples7 and he was listed as the sole director of that company.  In February 2004 we see the appointment of Cameron John Slater8.  The Companies Office register today still shows Slater and Mr Staples as directors of the company.

However, lets return to Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited. The Receivers have been and gone and the company is back in the control of the liquidators. The Liquidators six monthly report9 is released with the only significant change being that the unsecured creditors total has now jumped up to $662,319.97.

There is mention of a Sale and Purchase agreement between this company and CDP Security Limited, noting a sale price of $183,250.00 payable in eight even quarterly instalments and reference to a partial payment of the first instalment having been made. Further reports show that the liquidator was unable to collect any money from CDP Security Limited as the company was placed into liquidation on the 11th of November 2004.

Consequently, on or about the 8 September 2008 a final report is furnished advising that the company be removed from the registry.

Liquidation of CDP Security Limited

PSCS Limited10 (formally CDP Security Limited) was placed into liquidation on or about the 11th of November 2004. At the time of liquidation the company had two directors, namely Cameron John Slater and Paul Staples.   The liquidator’s first report11 was released on the 15th of December 2004.

It was a comprehensive report. For example, it refers to Cameron Slater as both a shareholder and director. I suspect the liquidator has made a small error in that it refers to the Frog Rock Trust as a director. I suspect that this is Slater’s Trust as he has previously incorporated a company called Frog Rock Management Limited 2001.  The reasons for the company going into liquidation are given in detail in the report. I will summarise them.

“The company CDP Security Limited was created from the ashes of the company Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited (in Liquidation)…..”

It notes the Sale and Purchase agreement between Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited and CDP Security Limited. It notes that CDP Security Limited had been actively promoting the sale of the business for some time. It referred to a new Sale and Purchase agreement, signed in October 2004. Settlement of this Agreement is conditional on another debenture holder, Nathan Finance, accepting the deal. From the report it suggests that Nathan Finance is owed circa $600,000.00. It then goes on to say that Nathan Finance accepted the Agreement, and company’s client base, unencumbered office equipment and goodwill is sold. “The sale was made to a third party that had no association or involvement with the company its officers or shareholders”.

The report makes the point that “Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited and Security Response Team New Zealand Limited were intermingled with CDP Security Limited”.

Security Response Team New Zealand Limited’s company director and shareholder (via a company) was Philip Ronald Jones. This is the same Phil Jones who promoted Richmastery. Mr Jones was bankrupted for various debts including a rumoured one million dollars he owed to Westpac. His demise was widely reported in the media12.

CDP Security Limited was said to have had $507,675.00 of Debtors and a 50% shareholding in CDP Monitoring Limited, a company of which Edward George Staples was the majority shareholder. I am not sure of the connection between this person and Paul Thomas Staples but you will forgive me for believing that one undoubtedly exists.

The secured creditors appear to be a number of car loans with UDC, Marac Toyota Finance etc. Outstanding wages and Holiday Pay come in at an estimated $115,751.00 and the Inland Revenue Department is owed $273,584.00 according to Slater and his fellow director.

The report then invites unsecured creditors to file a proof of debt.

Getting into the harder hitting parts of the report, the liquidator provides an opinion on the “Insufficient Books and Records” stating that “there may be grounds for action pursuant to Section 300 of the Companies Act 199313.    They form an initial view that the business had been trading while insolvent for at least six months prior to liquidation and that there is a possibility of issuing proceedings against the director for reckless trading.

The report concluded with a statement of affairs including breakdown of the Department of Inland Revenue debt, showing a PAYE total of $219,274.00. The total deficiency as regards to Preferential Creditors Registered Charges, Unsecured Creditors & Shareholders was recorded at $1,140,118.00.

A final liquidators report was released in April 2014 for CDP Security Limited (in Liquidation). It was basic and summarised it said that they had collected $77,955.11 from the sale of assets and from debtors and that this money was used to pay liquidators fees and other costs relating to the liquidation.

Between December 2004 and April 2014 the liquidator did not furnish any reports so it is very hard to know what happened during that period. Reports are supposed to be uploaded to the Companies Office every six months.

This security business has been around in one shape or another since 2001, beginning with Corporate & Domestic Protection Services Limited. Admittedly, Cameron Slater’s involvement was not until he took on the directorship of Security Limited (in Liquidation). However, the liquidator believed that these companies “were intermingled with CDP Security Limited”

Collectively, from what I could access publicly, these companies owed creditors an estimated $1,826,336.71. Of that, within CDP Security Limited its reports show over $250,000.00 owed to the Department of Inland Revenue, of which most is PAYE and over $100,000.00 owed to staff. The initial liquidators report for CDP Security Limited also accounted for a $300,000.00 collection from debtors. Only $75,181.36 was collected so the final number owing across the entities can be revised to $2,051,155.35.

Curiously, after incurring debts of in excess of $2,000,000.00 and with CDP Security Limited now in liquidation, Slater starts incorporating a series of new companies. He starts in July 2005, some eight months after the liquidation of CDP Security Limited.

The first company to be incorporated in Te Aronga Maru Limited15. At the time of incorporation Slater is the director16 and holds 4500 shares. He is joined by Harold Paul Honnor as both director and equal shareholder17.

Over the next couple of months they form several more companies, all owned by Te Aronga Maru Limited. These include Tamaki Security Limited, Western Springs Security Limited, Ellerslie Security Limited, One Tree Hill Security Limited and Half Moon Bay Security Limited. Slater resigned as director of all of these companies on 1 July 2006. All of these companies have now been struck off the register. In 2005 Slater started the Whaleoil website.

Perhaps it could be argued by Slater that over this approximately three year period he was unlucky in his business relationships and the people he partnered with played a large part in what happened to him.

The Companies Act 1993 does not see it that way.

Fast forward to the present day. It would seem that the calibre of the people he is associating with has not improved very much. We have an obvious first call with Mr Stephen Cook. Mr Cook has a long history with methamphetamine, dating back to 2008 when Police entered the offices of the Herald on Sunday18.

Stephen was dismissed from his job as assistant editor in 2009 as a result. On 17 November 2008 a judgment of the High Court of Auckland was released. The case was between The Queen v Chee Hoi Lee. However within this judgment were details of surveillance.

The relevant paragraphs from the judgment read19;

  Supply to Ward Pearce and Stephen Cook  – 5 July 2008

[34] In a series of intercepted communications on 5 July, Mr Nguyen and Mr Lee both used Mr Nguyen’s mobile phone to speak to Ward Pearce and another potential purchaser, Stephen Cook. Mr Lee answered Mr Nguyen’s phone when Mr Cook rang and told him, “we’ve got it. We’ve got your things”. A telephone conversation between Mr Nguyen and Mr Pearce a few minutes later establishes, as the Crown submits, that it was intended that Mr Pearce give Mr Cook half of the methamphetamine he received. The quantity referred to is a “big one”. Mr Lee’s presence and involvement is further confirmed by his answering Mr Nguyen’s phone to speak to another customer an hour later.

[35] I am satisfied that Mr Lee was a party to the supply of methamphetamine. I am also satisfied that the reference to a “big one” is to one ounce (28 grams) of methamphetamine.

Supply to Stephen Cook  – 6 July 2008

[36] The day after the communications with Messrs Cook and Pearce, Mr Cook telephoned Mr Nguyen to complain that he had been waiting for two days. Mr Nguyen handed the phone to Mr Lee who asked Mr Cook how much money he had, “so we can get ready for you …”. Mr Cook told him he had “four hundred” which would indicate a purchase of the order of half a gram. I find Mr Lee was a party to the supply of that quantity.

[37] In a telephone conversation between Mr Nguyen and Mr Lee on 6 July, there is a discussion of various figures which can only be sensibly interpreted as referring to sums of money. I agree with the Crown that it appears from the exchange that a transaction involving $10,000 had taken place the previous night, of which $5,000 remained outstanding. Based on Detective Sergeant Sowter’s evidence that methamphetamine sells for between $8,000 and $15,000 per ounce, I infer that Messrs Nguyen and Lee had both been involved in the supply of one ounce (28 grams) of methamphetamine.

One can surmise confidently from this that Mr Cook is in fact involved with methamphetamine and that the Herald was correct in their decision to dismiss him. Nevertheless, if more proof is needed then his sentencing in 2015 for methamphetamine at the Manukau Court may provide it20.

Appendix

  1. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/78FB1DCC0271742948590BB303BC0A4B
  2. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/40B7D07A2D9006AA96A4C0C60A2EF68E
  3. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/A5C060BAA48167530A05426323CAF97E
  4. http://www.societies.govt.nz/scanned-images/01/BC10045526701.pdf
  5. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/1113609/documents?backurl=%2Fcompanies%2Fapp%2Fui%2Fpages%2Fcompanies%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcorporate%2B%2526%2Bdomestic%26entityTypes%3DALL%26entityStatusGroups%3DALL%26incorpFrom%3D%26incorpTo%3D%26addressTypes%3DALL%26addressKeyword%3D%26start%3D0%26limit%3D15%26sf%3D%26sd%3D%26advancedPanel%3Dfalse%26mode%3Dstandard
  6. http://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/1113609/13075294/entityFilingRequirement?backurl=%2Fcompanies%2Fapp%2Fui%2Fpages%2Fcompanies%2F1113609%2Fdocuments%3Fbackurl%3D%252Fcompanies%252Fapp%252Fui%252Fpages%252Fcompanies%252Fsearch%253Fq%253Dcorporate%252B%252526%252Bdomestic%2526entityTypes%253DALL%2526entityStatusGroups%253DALL%2526incorpFrom%253D%2526incorpTo%253D%2526addressTypes%253DALL%2526addressKeyword%253D%2526start%253D0%2526limit%253D15%2526sf%253D%2526sd%253D%2526advancedPanel%253Dfalse%2526mode%253Dstandard
  7. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/5A4612F31FE13154DAF34A0D2144A1B0
  8. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/8379F37F10BEB30D5711F6316DD908F4
  9. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/ui/pages/companies/1113609/documents?backurl=%2Fcompanies%2Fapp%2Fui%2Fpages%2Fcompanies%2Fsearch%3Fq%3Dcorporate%2B%2526%2Bdomestic%26entityTypes%3DALL%26entityStatusGroups%3DALL%26incorpFrom%3D%26incorpTo%3D%26addressTypes%3DALL%26addressKeyword%3D%26start%3D0%26limit%3D15%26sf%3D%26sd%3D%26advancedPanel%3Dfalse%26mode%3Dstandard
  10. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/9448333DFBB95193F6A4FAAA8BD2DD9E
  11. http://www.societies.govt.nz/scanned-images/16/BC10047351416.pdf
  12. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/8972263/Bankrupt-called-before-Assignee
  13. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1993/0105/latest/DLM322322.html
  14. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/03CD728826990686FB982900CD90FB53
  15. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/54B739F691A513FFEC8C12225D4EAB00
  16. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/B33490A5139C03003CCBB89AB4793877
  17. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10582440
  18. http://www.nzlii.org/cgibin/sinodisp/nz/cases/NZHC/2010/2025.html?query=%22Stephen%20Cook%22
  19. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11361734
  20. https://www.business.govt.nz/companies/app/service/services/documents/56F43FA0DB84B40A17C77EF86AE12FB9

NOTE: the claims in this document have been backed links to public information. If there are any errors or relevant omissions please advise. As usual a right of reply applies. PG

UPDATE: Good to see a that partial disclosure is now on the post, albeit not very prominently, underneath the article:

Disclosure: Cam Slater was previously in business with Paul Staples in a security company

SlaterLiquidator4

Whale Oil still in message control mode

NZ Herald reported this morning: Len Brown scandal journalist Stephen Cook on P charges

The journalist who broke the story of the Len Brown and Bevan Chuang sex scandal has appeared in court on methamphetamine charges.

Stephen John Cook, 46, came before Manukau District Court this morning on charges of possessing the class A drug and a glass pipe used to smoke it.

Cook gained publicity last year when he teamed up with WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater to publish details of the mayor’s high-profile affair.

The alleged offending which brought him before the court today stemmed from an incident in Auckland on Saturday.

Tonight there was a comment on Whale Oil’s Backchat that was presumably related to this. It asked that as Slater was so opposed to drunk driving what he thought of P.

Soon afterwards the comment disappeared.

If the journalist charged was someone like David Fisher it would be likely to feature in at least one prominent scathing post on Whale Oil.

Slater said recently:

I am very happy with where we are placed, and very happy with where we are going.

Big things are going to happen soon, and then you will see why it is that we have headed in this direction.

Going in the direction of suppression of discussion about unfavourable news is not a good lead in to a new media enterprise.