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The Rhodium Scandal

By johnboy - 21 September 2006 58

Contributing to the general air of incompetence and neglect surrounding the administration of the ACT, yesterday the Auditor-General delivered her findings into the operation of Rhodium Asset Solutions (slick website!), one of the dinky companies the Government has set up to sell services back to itself. In this case the management of car fleets for the ACT Government, ActewAGL, and others wanting to do business with them.

The Auditor’s report is online but the greatest hits are in the media release.

Amongst the highlights were a $460,000 sponsorship deal for the Brumbies in contravention of guidelines and common sense, a cash advance for the CEO, and $232,000 in corporate entertainment.

The Chief Minister has put out a media release explaining that the bad days (last period audited) are all behind them and the board has put more guidelines in place.

Which would be more reassuring if the old guidelines had been observed.

Back in July Richard Mulcahy was dancing around the Rhodium issues.

Interestingly no one is game to name this “Former CEO”.

UPDATED: Well the last Rhodium annual report to go online is for 2004-5 (which includes the period in question) and names the CEO as Deborah Clark.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Canberra Times has got its coverage coverage online with more details of Deborah Clark’s business methods including the number of staff and contractors who were related to her, and her lovely Lexus convertible being payed for by the Territory Owned Corporation. Matters have apparently been referred to the Police.

Here’s her picture from the annual report:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Liberal leader Bill Stefaniak is pulling out all the stops in linking this debacle to everything else that’s gone wrong with John Stanhope in charge.

MORE UPDATES: The Canberra Times has really warmed to the task today with a long piece on the reactions for the board which let Ms. Clark loot and pillage at will (members: ClubsACT president Bob Samarcq, Minter Ellison Consulting chief executive Margaret Coaldrake, media and publishing executive Ian Meikle, and Sydney investment banker Melanie Willis). The board were paid for their oversight of Rhodium during this time. There’s also a bio on Deborah Clark’s life and times. It will be interesting to see what sort of welcome she gets next time she pops into the Commonwealth Club.

What’s Your opinion?

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58 Responses to
The Rhodium Scandal
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thetruth 8:52 pm 22 Aug 08

Deb foskey living in a Government supplied house while on $100k+, Porter employing her husband, Two shareholders (on our behalf)asleep at the wheel.

These guys nailed the libs, but will not do likewise – that moral superiority complex.

sepi 8:43 pm 22 Aug 08

Deb Foskey has pointed out that ACTEW is similarly part of ACT govt, run with govt ministers as stakeholders.

I hope ACTEW doesn’t ever get a chairperson as nutty as the woman who drove Rhodium into the ground. Looks like the police didn’t find anything to actually charge her with though.

thetruth 7:10 pm 22 Aug 08

Two years since this and what has happened? Everything points to Stanhope incompetence, but voters let the teflon man to stand

publius 7:22 am 03 Oct 06

The Board failed in their duty to carry out their role. They say they were duped. Not good enough. The Auditor-General also criticised the Shareholders (Stanhope and Gallagher). They argue they are innocent parties too. Looks like no-one wants to take responsibility. More than ever we need an ICAC type body in Canberra.

Mr Evil 9:21 am 27 Sep 06

Welcome back, CC!

Thumper 8:19 am 27 Sep 06


I sincerely hope that you do…

crazychester 7:17 am 27 Sep 06

Oh bonfire I would have been sorely disappointed if any of you self-righteous pricks had managed to clamber down off your high horses.

We’ll see how crazy I am after I’ve finished dragging them, kicking and screaming back through the courts.

bonfire 4:27 pm 26 Sep 06

if you take your tinfoil beanie off it looks OK.

crazychester 3:32 pm 26 Sep 06

Can’t edit my own posts? Oh well, someone else will have to fix the page formatting. Odd it didn’t wrap to the page.

crazychester 3:30 pm 26 Sep 06

Oops! Linky. Page 25 on.


crazychester 3:28 pm 26 Sep 06

It seems Rhodium was involved in some questionable business practices well before the A-G’s report was released. Up until February 2005, staff were permitted to accept gifts from clients. Hells bells the company was only set up in December 2004. Clearly from his comments, Mulcahy was aware of this prior to 26 October 2005. Wonder where and when he heard about it and who else knew. One might hope it would be the sort of practice by a territory owned company that would make our less than illustrious leaders take a second look, especially when they’ve been discussing possible slush funds with Ms Clark a few mere moments before. Not to mention those substantial injections of taxpayer $’s. But alas, as usual that’s too much to hope for…..

CT, 20-09-06:
Senior managers also approved a $10,000 cash advance to Ms Clark in June 2005 when she lost her wallet while holidaying overseas.

So Ms Clark isn’t the only corrupt official involved here. What, she had 10 grand in cash in her wallet did she? Never heard of traveller’s cheques huh? I can’t quite figure what this had to do with Rhodium and why such a huge sum was involved. Struggling to join the dots. Maybe she was planning on picking up a couple of kilos of smack for the office Xmas party or something? Not bad going off on holiday a mere 6 or 7 months after the company was set up either.

CT, 21-09-06:
Mr Stanhope repeated his “enormous regret” yesterday at Ms Clark’s behaviour, but hit back at Opposition claims that he should have been aware of the problems earlier. “It is entirely inappropriate … in the extreme to suggest that a shareholder would override or supersede the responsibility of a board of directors and involve himself in the day-to-day management of a company,” he said. “That is fanciful and absurd.”

Oh Jon Jon, your capacity for bullshit is positively breathtaking. It’s a Territory owned company subject to both the Territory Corporations and C/W Corporations Act. As CM, I think you’ll find your duty to enforce the legislation takes precedence here. You’re not the only one in your government who doesn’t get that are you? And gee whiz! One of the other people who doesn’t get it is your fellow shareholder and trusty sidekick. Well, whaddaya know.

Anyway, keep up the good work Jon Jon. At this rate, we might actually see your sorry arse kicked out of office. Which, in my books, would be a far more humiliating and, therefore, fitting end to your woeful attempt at governing the ACT than the mere ignominy of electoral defeat.

(Read, aim and fire, your self-righteous flamethrowers, boys and girls.)

seepi 8:49 pm 24 Sep 06

And the original clerks who have been there forever and know how everything works are out on their ear at 45/50 trying to find new jobs.
Outsourcing is a cruel joke.

ant 5:59 pm 24 Sep 06

Outsourcing is an expensive joke. What a few clerks used to do, now requires a whole company…oh no it bloody well doesn’t! Our rates and taxes go up and up, user-pays reigns, but services become less.

publius 3:41 pm 24 Sep 06

The Auditor-General (Tu Pham) had a go at the two shareholders (Stanhope and Gallagher) about this Rhodium matter. The Chief Minister was in high dudgeon this week, describing Tu Pham’s comments as “gratuitious”. His incredible arrogance will cost the ALP dearly at the next election.

seepi 10:46 am 23 Sep 06

Their pay used to be 80 grand. Up to 100 ish now i think, with a bit more for chief minister and deputy katy. you get a car though and a phone.
but you also can’t go out to dinner without people coming up to tell you what they think.

I wish you would stand for election. I hope the next election is a bit interesting. Labor is on the nose, libs are deadly dull. maybe we’ll get another mixed bag like the first assemblies.

Maelinar 11:51 pm 22 Sep 06

She looks like a local person from a local town, and there’s nothing for you here. (Queanbeyan for the rest).

After watching Barr on motorsports Stateline tonight I’m seriously considering joining politics. If somebody as dumb as S7S or Barr can get gainful employment for several hundred G’s a year, I’m obviously doing something wrong.

Vote for me.

madam muck 5:50 pm 22 Sep 06

Barking Toad, Mulcahy as an alternative? Now that IS scary! Heavs and Vic Bitterman are right, the staff at Rhodium provide great service IN SPITE OF the goings on of the upper management. And the board – sure they didn’t know anything either. What were they being paid for?? A cushy part time job reeking in the $s? Some of you need to learn how to carry on a discussion without turning it into a personal attack on someone’s looks or marriages. These things do not go hand in hand with their ethics or ability to run a company!

Big Al 5:38 pm 22 Sep 06

I read somewhere that she won the Telstra “Businesswoman of the year” award…

…on the downside there’s probably a bunch of people in the motor and finance industries that will have to buy their own Brumbies tickets this year.

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