In the 2021-22 fiscal year, spending on contractors and consultants by core public service departments and ministries rose to $1.2 billion. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Government spending on outside help from contractors and consultants is a long-standing political football. And while stories of waste and eye-watering fees are perennial, they come into sharp focus in an election campaign.
1) Robert Walters: $64.7m
2) H2R Consulting: $24.88m
3) Inside Executive Recruitment: $24.7m
4) Momentum Consulting Group: $23.6m
5) PwC: $21.8m
6) Beyond Recruitment: $21m
7) Accenture, $20.8m
8) EY (Ernst & Young): $20.3m
9) Deloitte: $17.33m
10) KPMG: $10.7m
A group of robbers armed with guns, hammers and crowbars burst into an Auckland bar, then marched a staff member to a back office, forced her to her knees and demanded she open a time-delayed safe while pointing a firearm at her head.
The bar manager says he is grateful none of his staff were physically harmed during the early-morning aggravated robbery, which left staff terrified and fearful to return to work.
It is the latest in a string of armed robberies which police believe may be linked.
Anton Rogers-Williams, manager of the Wapiti Sports Bar in Pt Chevalier, says he hasn’t been able to sleep since hearing news of the robbery in the early hours of Saturday.
He was not present during the armed incident, but five staff had just cleaned up for the night and turned off all lights in the bar.
“Eight guys wielding guns, hammers and crowbars just rushed through the doors and went straight for the staff members that were inside,” he told the Herald.
Rogers-Williams said the robbers escorted the duty manager to the bar’s office and instructed her to open the time-delayed safe while pointing a gun at her head.
“They had her on her knees and were getting more and more aggressive while the safe was on a three-minute timer before it could be opened,” he said.
Once the safe was opened, the armed criminals grabbed a rubbish bin from behind the bar and loaded bundles of cash into it.
“It took them about 30 seconds to leave our safe completely bare and leave,” said Rogers-Williams.
The robbers loaded up the bar float, gaming float, banking for the past few days, petty cash and numerous amounts of alcohol before fleeing in two vehicles.
A pub patron who witnessed the robbery said the group didn’t seem to care about anyone at the bar.
“One had a gun, it was scary.”
Staff could be seen hugging each other and being supported by police shortly after the robbery, with one breaking down crying while on the phone.
Detectives had gathered statements from witnesses, while armed officers stood guard.
Rogers-Williams said it was a miracle none of his staff were physically harmed, but the emotional damage would linger every time they returned.
“In my previous experiences with other employment, after ram raids and robberies, staff don’t feel safe coming back to work. It can take anywhere from a day to almost two weeks before a staff member feels comfortable coming back to work,” he said.
The bar is now offering free counselling sessions to all staff who were present during the robbery and has told them to take as much time off as needed.
Along with all the cash stolen, Rogers-Williams said the event also disrupted income as the bar was forced to close ahead of the New Zealand Warriors’ biggest match of their season.
“We had spent weeks getting our sound system upgraded, creating new bar menus and organising food specials in anticipation of the game, but instead we have taken a massive hit.
“But above everything, I’m just glad that no one here was touched. You can replace money but you can’t replace a person,” he said.
The robbery was the fourth in three nights involving armed criminals hitting late-night businesses in the area.
Just 24 hours earlier and less than 400 metres up the road, the Harlequin Bar and Restaurant was targeted by multiple people armed with hammers and a firearm.
Rogers-Williams says he had the Harlequins staff in the Wapiti Sports Bar on Friday night, hearing more about what had happened.
He had then talked to his own staff about what to do if this situation ever happened at their venue.
“I’ve caught up with a number of other bar owners in the area and they are all questioning whether or not to open,” he said.
As of Sunday evening, the Wapiti Sports Bar had been cleaned up and was once again ready for business, but Rogers-Williams said “emotionally and mentally” he didn’t feel ready to open the doors just yet.
One of the witnesses said the robbers “knew what they were doing for sure”, and seemed to be operating in a similar fashion to three other recent robberies.
Police have confirmed they are looking into a possible connection between Saturday morning’s robbery and two others earlier this week.
Yesterday, CCTV footage was released in the hunt for multiple armed robbers, including one with a gun, who burst into an Auckland bar after it closed to steal cash.
Detective Senior Sergeant Martin Friend, Auckland City Criminal Investigation Branch, said enquiries were continuing to try to identify and locate the persons responsible.
“Last night there was an increased police presence in the area. Members of the public can assist us in responding to crime by reporting suspicious behaviour in their neighbourhoods and places of work.”
Friend said police would continue to respond to any unlawful or suspicious behaviour.
“We have no tolerance for violence or unlawful activities taking place in our communities,” he said.
Police have singled out one of the alleged offenders, who was caught on CCTV.
The footage shows him wearing a white shirt and jacket and a black cap.
“Inquiries continue to try and identify and locate the persons responsible, of particular [sic] we are keen to identify the second man pictured in the colour image provided,” Friend said.
A silver Toyota Mark X with the registration HTU397 is also sought, along with another man, who was captured on CCTV.
Overnight Thursday: two robberies in two hours
In those attacks, multiple people launched armed robberies on premises in Pt Chevalier and Mt Albert.
That included two robberies in the early hours of Friday morning.
In the first incident, multiple people armed with hammers and a firearm robbed staff of Harlequin Bar & Restaurant at 1am.
“One person has fired a shot inside the premises which has struck a TV on a wall behind the bar,” Friend said.
“The offenders have taken money from the tills and gaming machines before fleeing. It’s incredibly lucky no [one] was physically injured during this incident.”
A photographer at the scene could see a smashed register lying on the ground afterwards.
Later on Friday morning at 2.21am, police were called to the GC VapeShop 247, on New North Rd in Mt Albert, less than 1km from Harlequin Bar.
Police said a large group of people were also involved.
“Up to seven offenders armed with hammers have entered the building on New North Rd, which at the time had a staff member and four customers inside.
“Two offenders have threatened the victims inside the store while the other offenders have taken a number of items before fleeing.”
Police said no one was injured but all were left shaken afterwards.
Friend said the group left in a stolen vehicle which police found a short distance away in a neighbouring suburb on Holbrook St, Blockhouse Bay.
Overnight Wednesday: Mt Albert robbery
Police now say they believe the same group of offenders involved in the Harlequin Bar & Restaurant robbery are also responsible for an aggravated robbery at another commercial property in Mt Albert on Wednesday night.
In that incident, which happened just before midnight, four masked offenders with weapons including a firearm smashed their way into the Mt Albert Sports Bar and stole the contents of the cash register.
Police said a staff member was inside at the time. They were uninjured but shaken and were being supported.
“We believe these two incidents are linked and are following positive lines of inquiry,” Friend said.
Authorities are appealing to the public for any information that may help find those responsible.
“This type of violent behaviour is unacceptable,” said Friend.
“We are now working hard to identify and locate those involved so we can hold them accountable.
Police have asked anyone with information to get in touch by calling 105, or if they wish to give information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.
The public can quote the following file numbers in relation to these events when reporting information: 230914/9893 for the Mt Albert Sports Bar robbery on Thursday, September 14; 230915/4397 for the Harlequin Sports Bar on Friday, September 15; and 230916/8450 for the Wapiti Sports Bar on Saturday, September 16.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) – College students started moving into their new homes in Manhattan today.
Incoming freshman and returning students have been moving into their dorms throughout the week.
“We see a lot of students that get here are really nervous to leave their families but are really excited to build community here and so I’m really excited for this next year just coming in and just seeing the excitement in them and wanting to make friends and get involved,” said Meg Johnson, community coordinator at K-State.
Though many incoming students can be nervous most are excited to make new friends and get involved around campus.
“It’s been really fun so far I moved in on Sunday and it was very easy, they have little carts for us that we can use and I was able to take all my stuff up in one trip and it’s been really fun so far everyone here is really nice and I can just come down to the front desk and hang out whenever I want to and they always have a smile on their face,” said Catie Burr, an incoming freshman at K-State.
Move-in gives returning students the opportunity to help the freshman get involved and learn what the campus has to offer.
“It’s a great time for the returning students for a perfect opportunity to jump on and get them to do things nobody’s found their niche yet so everybody is always open to go do stuff so it’s a great time because now’s the time to just get everybody to go do things, get involved,” said Justin Deas, senior at K-State.
Johnson has a message for all those new students moving into a new home.
“If you’re living in the halls this next year make the most out of it, go into your floor lobbies, talk to people, and get involved, it was always the best time in my college career and I hope that for you too,” said Johnson.
Classes for the students start next Monday.
Copyright 2023 WIBW. All rights reserved.
A hefty revaluation has pushed Investore into the red. Photo / NZME
Investore Property has lifted its net rental income in the past 12 months but, like other property companies, a hefty revaluation has pushed it into the red.
And its announced a it will look to
Carla O’Neil lost $100,000 in an elaborate investment scam in which she thought she was putting the money into a Citibank term deposit. Photo / Michael Craig
A real estate agent tricked into wiring $100,000 as part of a sophisticated investment scam says police told her the recipient bank account holder was likely a “mule” targeted by the same overseas criminals to help shift the cash.
Carla O’Neil thought she had done proper due diligence and was convinced her life savings were secure, telling the Herald “there were no red flags”.
The professional 45-year-old was scoping investment opportunities this year to grow her money while she saved for a house. She found a website comparing bank term deposit rates and registered her details.
She was contacted by an “intelligent and well-spoken” man with an English accent claiming to be a Citibank portfolio manager. He sent her prospectus information about the US financial institution’s fixed-rate bonds and term deposit options.
He appeared to use a Citibank email address and provided an Auckland phone number. The pair talked repeatedly while O’Neil researched the 12-month fixed-term investment at 7.1 per cent interest, described as “low-risk”.
O’Neil, who says she’s tech-savvy, “stalked” the man online to confirm he was real and based at the company’s downtown Auckland office.
Satisfied the investment was legitimate, O’Neil handed over her passport, address and bank account details.
She then visited her local BNZ branch and instructed staff to transfer $100,000 on February 17 to an ASB bank account specified on a Citibank-branded payment invoice.
Next, she was emailed log-in details to an elaborate online “client portal” where she could see her money had been received into the term deposit account and track her investment as it accrued interest.
But none of it was real.
The man with the English accent had been impersonating a genuine Citibank employee, and her money was gone in a scam that’s been on authorities’ radar here and in Australia since last year.
A month after wiring the cash, O’Neil received a bombshell phone call from BNZ.
“He said, ‘You’ve been involved in a scam’. I said, ‘No that’s not possible’.”
She hung up and visited her BNZ branch where staff confirmed she’d been taken in.
“I just burst into tears. It’s my life savings. It’s just heartbreaking.”
With the scammer’s number now disconnected, O’Neil contacted police who obtained a court order to force ASB to hand over the recipient account holder’s details.
But police told her the recipient was likely a “mule” caught up in the trickery, either moving money on as part of a romance scam, or their internet banking had been hacked by the thieves.
The banks meanwhile tried to freeze the stolen money to prevent its likely transfer offshore.
Emails obtained by the Herald show O’Neil sought repeated updates from BNZ about efforts to track the funds, telling the fraud protection unit: “I am a single mum and this is my entire nest egg … I am beyond devastated that this has happened”.
Another email last month said: “I find it impossible to believe that funds of this magnitude can just go missing and not [be] tracked and retrieved immediately”.
BNZ responded that the money appeared to have been transferred out of the recipient account and ASB was attempting to recall the money.
“There is nothing more the BNZ can do as we wait [for] an update from the ASB.”
Then last week, a mystery payment of $19,703.63 appeared in her savings account with the notification “ASB fraud”.
O’Neil said she’d not received an explanation from either bank about the payment or clarification about the status of the rest of her stolen money.
She claims no one at BNZ questioned the initial $100,000 transfer or confirmed with her the legitimacy of the recipient.
In her opinion, the Citibank-branded payment invoice listing an ASB account should have triggered the bank’s suspicion.
O’Neil was now worried the scammers had her address. She asked police if she needed to move for her safety, but they told her the con man was probably based overseas.
She was speaking out to warn other Kiwis about the highly sophisticated scam.
“If I can get sucked into it I’m sure there are other people.”
‘Prey on people’s trust’
A BNZ spokeswoman said O’Neil unknowingly engaged with a scammer during an online search for financial services.
The bank had worked hard to recover the stolen money and assist police investigations.
Documents provided to the bank by O’Neil showed no evidence the $100,000 transaction was a scam, BNZ said.
It was not unusual for legitimate financial service providers to have accounts at New Zealand’s main banks. The $100,000 transfer was made to a valid bank account and term deposit transfers like this were common across the banking sector.
After being alerted to the fraud by ASB, BNZ immediately informed O’Neil and began urgent work to recover the money – $20,000 of which was successfully frozen and returned.
An investigation into the remaining funds continued.
“These investment scams prey on people’s trust in reputable brands and mimic investment firms and banks closely. No organisation is immune from impersonation.
“Anyone seeking financial services should contact investment firms through their official New Zealand-based websites and never via unprompted online contacts, emails, links or phone numbers sent directly to them, or on other websites they find on the internet.”
An ASB spokeswoman said transtasman banks learned in January that customers were being targeted by online ads offering term deposit rates significantly higher than the market, and issued warnings about the scam.
When ASB became suspicious about O’Neil’s transfer, it froze the remaining funds and sought an explanation from the recipient account holder.
“We have returned the sum of money, which was available in the ASB account at the time the fraudulent activity was identified and the account frozen.
“Where funds have been on-sent either within New Zealand or overseas, we will do our best to recover those from the receiving bank.”
ASB had provided all requested information to police.
Waitematā CIB Detective Senior Sergeant Ryan Bunting said police were investigating a fraud where the victim lost a significant amount of money to a bogus term deposit scheme.
“This is an emerging scam but is the latest in a long line of schemes designed to deceive people for financial gain.”
Scammers behind these schemes usually resided overseas, which posed challenges around enforcement action, Bunting said.
Police were making inquiries into the New Zealand-based account the $100,000 was deposited.
A Citibank spokeswoman said scammers in New Zealand were impersonating its brand. People should be vigilant when receiving “unsolicited offers from unknown parties”.
Citibank did not offer financial products or services to retail clients, or email unsolicited investment offers to individuals.
TIPS TO AVOID SCAMS
• Scams continue to evolve and use more sophisticated methods to deceive the public – the age-old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, is a good rule of thumb.
• Police encourage people to research “broker” companies online before engaging with them.
• Scammers will pose as brokers for a number of established banks.
• The Financial Markets Authority publishes the names of suspicious companies on their website.
• Always talk to your bank or another financial professional before making large online investments.
• If returns are higher than usual,it’s probably a red flag.Do your research and make sure the website is legitimate.
Source: NZ Police
‘We look forward to collaborating with the
Currently under renovation, the 94-guestroom property will feature a range of exquisite dining options with six food and beverage outlets including all-day dining venues, two specialty restaurants, a lobby lounge, the
‘We are delighted to announce our first property in
‘We are honored to work alongside Hyatt to introduce the first Hyatt-branded hotel to
The hotel will be in close proximity to
The term ‘Hyatt’ is used for convenience in this release to refer to
For further information:
The Hyatt Regency brand prides itself on making travel free from stress and filled with success. More than 220 conveniently located
Forward-Looking Statements in this press release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our actual results, performance or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as ‘may,’ ‘could,’ ‘expect,’ ‘intend,’ ‘plan,’ ‘seek,’ ‘anticipate,’ ‘believe,’ ‘estimate,’ ‘predict,’ ‘potential,’ ‘continue,’ ‘likely,’ ‘will,’ ‘would’ and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by us and our management, are inherently uncertain. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks associated with the acquisition of
Item 1.01 Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement.
“Company”) investment in a student housing complex,
a direct, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company (“ARF”) entered into guaranties
related to a
the Company has a membership interest. Pursuant to the Guaranty Agreement, dated
the “Guarantors”) for the benefit of
“Lender”), the Guarantors provided limited (“bad boy”) guaranties to the Lender
pursuant to the
Drive East, LLC
Lender (“Loan Agreement”) until the earlier of the payment in full of the
indebtedness or the date of a sale of the property pursuant to a foreclosure of
the mortgage or deed or other transfer in lieu of foreclosure is accepted by the
Agreement for the benefit of the Lender to guaranty the timely completion of the
project in accordance with the Loan Agreement, as well as a Carry Guaranty
Agreement, for the benefit of the Lender to guaranty the prompt and
unconditional payment by Borrower of all customary or necessary costs and
expenses incurred in connection with the operation, maintenance and management
of the property and an Environmental Indemnity Agreement jointly and severally
in favor of the Lender whereby the Guarantors serving as Indemnitors provided
environmental representations and warranties, covenants and indemnification
(collectively the “Guaranties”). The Guaranties include certain financial
covenants required of ARF, including required net worth and liquidity
The foregoing description of the Guaranty Agreement, the Completion Guaranty
Agreement, the Carry Guaranty Agreement and the Environmental Indemnity
Agreement are only summaries, do not purport to be complete and are qualified in
their entirety by reference to the full text of such agreements, which are filed
as Exhibits 10.1, 10.2, 10.3 and 10.4 hereto and are incorporated herein by
Item 9.01 Financial Statements and Exhibits.
Exhibit No. 10.1 Guaranty Agreement executed
January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.2 Completion Guaranty Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.3 Carry Guaranty Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.for the benefit of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company10.4 Environmental Indemnity Agreement executed January 24, 2023by Jason Pollack, Frank Dellaglioand ACRES Realty Funding, Inc.in favor of Oceanview Life and Annuity Company104 Cover Page Interactive Data File (embedded within the Inline XBRL document).
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Five Star Bank’s
Larry Alampihas over 20 years of banking experience and serves as Commercial and Industrial Banker, assisting companies with their depository and borrowing needs. He previously worked at HSBC, First Niagara and KeyBank, and most recently served as Business Development Manager for CH Insurance. A graduate of Le Moyne College, he is also a loan committee member of the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corp. Thomas Breed, who has more than 30 years of local banking experience, serves as Commercial and Industrial Banker, assisting companies with all of their depository and borrowing needs. He previously worked for KeyBank, First Niagara, Citizens Bankand JP Morgan Chase Bankand is a graduate of Syracuse University. Andrew Marchserves as Commercial Real Estate Banker. The 34-year banking veteran joined Five Star from Solvay Bank and spent the majority of his career in the Central New Yorkbanking space at institutions including Berkshire Bank, M&T Bank, KeyBank, Community Bankand more. He is a graduate of Clarkson University. Sara Smithserves as a Senior Portfolio Manager for the team, handling the service needs of commercial clients throughout Central New Yorkand beyond. Smith, who previously worked at First Niagara and KeyBank, is a graduate of SUNY Oswegoand the class of 2016 of Leadership Greater Syracuse.
“As part of Five Star Bank’s continued growth and evolution, we’ve expanded beyond our historic rural Upstate New York footprint to serve metros like
Chief Commercial Banking Officer
For additional information contact:
W. Jack Plants II
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
2023 GlobeNewswire, Inc., source
New Zealand faces an economic hangover in 2023 – we’re just not sure how bad it will be yet.
We are, as new BNZ chief economist Mike Jones puts it, “well into the hangover phase of the economic cycle”.
To stretch the metaphor a bit further, we’re awake, we’re feeling queasy and we know