Watching out for corruption?

A member told us how paying his water rates reminded him of City Tatts.

He got his water rates bill from Sydney Water in the mail as usual. Along with the bill there was a flyer with the usual sections on water quality, conservation and similar stuff.

There was also a a section titled: Watching out for corruption.

It said “We expect our staff and contractors to maintain high standards of ethical conduct in their dealings with you. If you have any reason to suspect that our staff or contractors have behaved in a fraudulent or corrupt way, please let us know. We’ll investigate all complaints.”

Mention of staff and contractors behaving in a fraudulent or corrupt way naturally made him think of City Tatts. He couldn’t help laughing when he thought how this would have to be modified for City Tatts. He felt that this policy would have an additional line at City Tatts “….. and you will be barred for life for making the complaint!”.


City Tatts Information Desk


Psychological Analysis of Patrick Campion

It was interesting to read the Club Corruption Vigilante’s analysis of City Tattersalls Club.

It reminded us of one member’s observations about Patrick Campion over a year ago.

Campion’s behaviour since he became chairman has always been a bit of a mystery, even to people who know him. In fact it has been so strange that they have wondered if he believes he will get a free apartment or some other benefit from his actions.

This member didn’t think so. His assessment of Campion was that he was such a weak and sensitive person that he couldn’t accept criticism. And in his mind any comments or suggestions from members that he should be doing something he was not doing was criticism. (Which means that he is totally unsuited to be the chairman of the Club, or of anything else for that matter.) So when he is told that he should do something about Guilfoyle before he ruins the Club his immediate kneejerk reaction is: “No, ypu’re wrong!” and to justify this idiotic response in his own mind he increases his support for Guilfoyle.

This leads him to say and do stupid things. For instance, when the Sydney Morning Herald questioned his decision to spend $50,000 on a holiday for the Committee and a few favoured employees, his instant kneejerk reaction was to defend the trip and offer many reasons why it was necessary. Three days later he cancelled it – because of adverse publicity. Another example was his total support for Guilfoyle after he discovered that Guilfoyle had taken $200,000 years before without the knowledge of the Committee.

The amazing thing is that his actions are not even in his own interest. This is a man who is willing to risk his career, his reputation and even going to jail rather than admit he’s wrong.


City Tatts Information Desk

Club Corruption Vigilante examines the psychology of CTC



Reason Number 1: Falling for the Big Fib

It seems that people are wired to believe the statements of their esteemed leaders even when they destroy memory and remove any sense of reality. “Your Committee and Management is totally committed to securing the best possible outcome for members. That commitment has not and will not change”.

After so many years of downgrading the amenities and member benefits, why would any member believe such a statement?

At the very least one should ask if being committed actually means that they believe in something, and if they do, why not just say so. Being committed doesn’t specify what action will be taken. What outcomes are members given to compare, to decide on?

The above commitment cliche has lost all meaning through everyday political overuse and can now mean anything the writer needs to make of it. It is a cliche that may also be called a lie. It also insults the member’s intelligence.

The Committee and Management are committed, but the “Club and Mirvac” ….. after extensive negotiations could not align their objectives.

What were the Committee and Management doing while the “Club and Mirvac” were negotiating?

“Our Club will now work with property agent Colliers International” ….. will the Committee and Management be involved or will they be too busy with the creation and use of more glib, slippery cliches which hide the leaders true intentions?

In order to analyse the first reason of why they can get away with lies, let’s look at a quote from a master liar, a man who managed to get millions of his own people to die for his lies:

“In the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so, may be brought clearly to their minds, they will doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation”

Adolf Hitler in “Mein Kampf”


The Club members have been presented, on numerous occasions, with facts that prove the illegal actions of the management. Members that dared to present such facts were driven away from the club.

Why would the majority of members refuse facts?

Here are some possible reasons:

  • People get deeply attached to their beliefs, and form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in their personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter.
  • The sheer fact that the Committee and Management have been at the top of the pyramid for so long is a seemingly valid justification and belief in their honesty
  • The Club’s internal propaganda dumps a lot of information (that negates clear language as in the examples above) and members just regurgitate it.
  • Evidence suggests people are less likely to pay attention to facts within certain emotional states and social situations. As in intimate club meetings and dinners with nice wine. It is well known that fear (you will lose your club if we don’t lead) clouds a persons ability to understand facts.


Reason Number 2: The Urge to Defend Bad Systems

From the mysterious destruction and predictable property deals in many clubs in Sydney, the bust of the housing bubble and mortgage meltdown, to Bernie Madoff and Jerry Sandusky in the US, to political candidates and war campaigns, it seems not a week goes by before another story of corruption and scandal breaks. And, very predictably, the following questions always seem to follow:

“How could they get away with this?”

“Why didn’t someone say or do anything about it?”


Here are some of the possible reasons:

  • Psychological process of defending the status quo, scientifically called “system justification”, could be to blame. Obviously, the reasons why there is a scientific name to this process is the simple fact that human behaviour is studied in depth and used by the good and the bad guys.
  • People need to believe that the systems they believe are legitimate. But this can cause bias and very dangerous blind spots when it comes to the issue of corruption in these systems. According to the research, four particular situations significantly increased the likelihood that system justification would occur:
  1. When a threat to the system occurred (the club debt cannot be serviced)
  2. When one is dependent on the system (Members need the club, the Committee needs their status and benefits)
  3. When there is no potential escape from the system (Could the Committee be blackmailed into compliance?)
  4. When one has low personal control of their lives


When we’re threatened we defend ourselves – and our systems. This may be the reason why the presenting of facts, by some excommunicated members, actually works in favour of the current Club leaders; an outside attack consolidates their power.

The research on system justification should not be overwhelming or demoralising. If anything it can really help to enlighten those who are frustrated when people don’t rise up in what would seem their own best interests. The awareness of this psychological tendency is in all of us and it is also the first step in trying to minimise it’s impact. Awareness is critical if one hopes to meaningfully change systems.

Whenever new information is presented, more members will understand the process activated by the select few in order to destroy the club.


Reason Number 3: Assuming that the Committee and Management are “like us”

People in power may have traits that are linked to criminal behaviour:

  • Vanderbilt researchers have found that the brains of psychopaths have a dopamine abnormality which creates a drive for rewards at any cost, and causes them to ignore risks (the CEO taking $200,000 may be a good example).
  • The research uncovers the role of the brain’s reward system in psychopathy and opens a new area of study for understanding what drives these individuals.


David Zald, associate professor of psychology and psychiatry and co-author of the study, said “These individuals appear to have such a strong draw to reward – to the carrot – that it overwhelms the sense of risk or concern about the stick.” “It’s not just that they don’t appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns.”

Has anyone tested the heads of the CTC ivory tower for this dopamine abnormality?


Reason Number 4: The Struggle to Defend Our Beliefs

This need to defend our beliefs must be clearly understood, by members fighting for the history and possible future of CTC:

  • When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.
  • Once something is added to your collection of beliefs, you protect it from harm. You do it instinctively and unconsciously when confronted with attitude-inconsistent information. Coming or going, you stick to your beliefs instead of questioning them. When someone tries to correct you, tries to dilute your misconceptions, it backfires and strengthens them instead. Over time, the backfire effect helps make you less sceptical of those things which allow you to continue seeing your beliefs and attitudes as true and proper.

More members will need to be aware of the facts, but they are blinded by this “backfire” effect. The facts will need to be be presented over and over again as it is very difficult for anyone to really listen to evidence which contradicts our beliefs. But unless we learn how to grit out teeth and do so, we will forever be victims to the divide and conquer game of the people in charge of the future of CTC.


Reason Number 5: Our brains assume that we can tell truth from fiction

The interesting thing is that we have this ability, but only if we are in a position to ask questions and observe the effects of words and actions. If CTC members could be constantly close to our esteemed CTC leader, just for a day, I mean really close, so close that they could hear the private meetings, his created myths about commitment would be less powerful, as real action would be observed. No matter how nice the leader talked, members would immediately see what he was DOING.

If we believe in their propaganda, in a few cliche riddled speeches, in occasional smiles and in their sacred proclamations, we will never get to the truth.

Let us not forget that, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.

Members of City Tattersalls Club must do their own thinking if they wish to save their club.


Club Corruption Vigilante


Clinch Long Letherbarrow ditch City Tatts

For most of it’s history City Tattersalls Club was the sort of place you wanted to be associated with.

But not any more.

Mirvac had a long hard look at City Tatts, ten months in fact, and walked away. National Australia Bank had inside knowledge of what was happening at City Tatts and walked away last year (after 40 years as the Club’s banker).

Now Clinch Long Letherbarrow have disassociated themselves from City Tatts (or should that be discontinued).

Who are Clinch Long Letherbarrow?

Well, they are a firm of solicitors that employs Patrick Campion. And, on their website, they used to promote that Campion was chairman of City Tatts. Which is understandable, because in the past being chairman of the club meant a certain amount of prestige and goodwill, and could bring in some business.

But not any more – they have removed any reference to City Tatts in his biography on their site!

Let’s face it, he must be an extreme embarrassment to them. Apart from his lies, broken promises and spiteful outbursts, a lot of his actions and statements are really stupid. Even on legal matters he has made countless stupid statements. At one City Tatts meeting he said he would only answer questions if required to do so by the Registered Clubs Act. Even ordinary members with no legal knowledge could tell him that he was required by the City Tattersalls Act to answer the questions. In fact, even if the Registered Clubs Act never existed he would still be required to answer questions under the City Tattersalls Act. Another example was his promise that the Club would sell any apartments as leasehold only, with the Club retaining ownership. Within days every solicitor who looked at this said it was nonsense – which it proved to be.

Now that Clinch Long Letherbarrow have ditched City Tatts, how long before they ditch Patrick Campion?


City Tatts Information Desk

Health Services Union pair ordered to repay millions

The former mistress of disgraced Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been ordered to pay back millions in misappropriated funds.

The NSW Supreme Court has ordered Cheryl Rose McMillan, the union’s former procurement officer, and her close friend Alf Downing to repay more than $8 million to the HSU.

The court heard McMillan and Williamson devised a plan in early 2005 where Downing’s company Access Focus would invoice the union for supplies at an inflated rate. Under the trio’s agreement, Downing kept 50 per cent of the inflated amount while the other half was paid to McMillan on the basis that she shared it with Williamson.

The court ordered McMillan to repay the union $3.7 million, including interest and legal costs. Downing was ordered to pay $4.3 million, including interest and costs.

HSU secretary Gerard Mayer said the union will continue with other forms of recovery action. The union had also tried to recoup an extra $611,000 from McMillan which it claimed was deposited in a bank account between 2005 and 2011. “We have pursued these people for the past two years and this case shows the extent of the funds that were taken from HSU members” he said.

In October last year Williamson pleaded guilty to defrauding the union of about $1 million as well as enlisting family and friends to hinder the police investigation into his activities. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in jail, but he will be eligible for parole after serving five.


City Tatts Information Desk

Bernard Madoff’s secretary gets 6 years in prison

Bernard Madoff’s secretary, Annette Bongiorno, was sentenced to 6 years in prison by a U.S. District Court judge last week.

The judge called Bongiorno ” a pampered, compliant and grossly overcompensated clerical worker who supervised other clerical workers with a ferocious enthusiasm”.

Prosecutors said Bongiorno was “at the very heart of the fraud” for decades.

Bongiorno was one of five Madoff employees convicted earlier this year after a six-month trial. Madoff’s director of operations was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a computer programmer to 2 1/2 years in prison. Two others await sentencing.

Prosecutors said Madoff could not have carried out the fraud without them.



City Tatts Information Desk

Mirvac’s City Tatts Sticking Points: No. 6 – The Johny Bineham Case

The more Mirvac knew about City Tatts the more they worried about the type of people they were dealing with. The Johny Bineham case was one more warning about dealing with City Tatts.

Johny Bineham was suspended from City Tattersalls Club one Thursday afternoon – to prevent him speaking at a “Members Briefing” about the property development held that evening. He was suspended, over the phone, by Jan Ellks (Guilfoyle’s $140,000 secretary) without a hearing.

Mirvac were not responsible for this. But it was an blatant attempt to silence a member who had started to ask difficult questions about the property development – a high profile property development to be built by Mirvac.

Mirvac simply couldn’t predict what might result from this. The potential for adverse publicity was very real. This is a man who fought for his country. He even fought in the Korean War!! (Yes, the Korean war that ended in 1953) Now, when he should be enjoying his retirement, he’s suspended from his own club for speaking out against Tweedledum and Tweedledee’s insane property plan. If the media, or public opinion, picked up on this and got behind him who knows where it might lead. Apart from that, he had clear grounds to challenge his illegal suspension in the Supreme Court, which was exactly the kind of exposure Mirvac didn’t want.

He remains suspended today, despite never being brought before the Committee – as required by the rules. There have been other cases where members banned from City Tatts for physical assaults were allowed back within 6 months. But of course Bineham’s crime is far more serious to Tweedledum and Tweedledee – he helped derail their pet project and expose it for the fraud it was.


City Tatts Information Desk