Are the City Tatts elections rigged? – No Opposition ever elected

If you’re interested in the City Tatts committee elections here is something to ponder:


Just think about that.

Since 2006 more than 20 people known to be opposed to the existing Committee and management have stood for election at various times. And not one has been elected.

You would expect at least one of them to get up just on the law of averages.

Many of these were well known. Some of them were even popular. In addition a lot of what they said about the club and it’s management had been proved right by the time they stood for election.

And still they couldn’t get elected.

Another interesting point is that while members who spend a lot of time in the club would know who was opposed to the current management most voters wouldn’t. Members who rarely come to the club and have to rely on candidates’ 100 words would find it hard to tell who was for or against the current management.

But somehow they still managed to vote strongly against any opposition candidate!

An extreme example of this happened a few years back. A candidate who consistently warned about the club’s direction, and was vindicated by events in every way, finished last on the ballot, hundreds of votes behind even totally unknown candidates.

Very strange.

City Tatts Information Desk


So now we’re down to Zest?

The City Tatts Chinese restaurant closed at the end of September. This means it lasted six months.

But hold on.

They just closed the Esperanto at the end of August. Would they really have closed the Esperanto if they knew the Chinese restaurant would be gone within a month. This looks more like a sudden decision made in mid-September.

And it leaves Zest as the only restaurant in the club.

Is this a good idea?

Zest was rejected by members almost from the day it opened. Basically it was mostly Tony Guilfoyle’s ego trip. Because he and the committee could eat there for free it didn’t seem to occur to them that members who had to pay $40 or $50 for the same meal probably wouldn’t.

And where does this leave the supposed Strategic Plan? (See Strategic Plans for Clubs and Colour Coded Nonsense) Remember Cafe 2 also closed in September last year.

The only conclusion you could reach is that there is no strategic plan, as many members have suspected for a while. (See This just looks like chaos)

And does this mean Campion’s Cafe on Pitt Street is back on the agenda?

City Tatts Information Desk

Are the City Tatts elections rigged? – Committee returned

If ever a committee deserved to be thrown out it’s the City Tatts committee.

Compared to it’s potential City Tatts has probably been the worst managed club in Sydney over the last 15 years.

With 400 poker machines and a large freehold building it should have made a profit of $3 or $4 million every year during that time. Instead it’s up to it’s neck in debt.

And this view is widely held among members who take an interest in the club’s operation.

But, incredibly, the committee are re-elected easily year after year.

It doesn’t make sense.

At other clubs committee members are voted out all the time, even when the club is well run. Sometimes it’s just a new face or someone who has a different approach who attracts support and replaces someone already on the committee.

But at City Tatts the same underperforming committee are always re=elected.

So this is another mystery of the City Tatts elections.

City Tatts Information Desk

Are the City Tatts elections rigged? – The Returning Officer

Probably the most common question people ask after they have watched City Tatts for a while is: Are the elections rigged?

This is a question that deserves further investigation.

Let’s start with the Returning Officer.

In December 2006 members called a Special General Meeting to halt Tony Guilfoyle’s destruction of the club. In response Guilfoyle and John Healy, the Chairman at the time, made one of the strangest moves ever by a management under pressure from members – they changed the Returning Officer!

This was strange in every way.

Up until then all City Tatts ballots were handled by the New South Wales Electoral Office without any problem.

So why the change?

Under questioning from members Guilfoyle became quite flustered and wasn’t able to give a straight answer. He offered three or four different reasons in the space of five minutes.

But the explanation he settled on was that they had to change because the NSW Electoral Office couldn’t act for City Tatts due to the state elections held at the time.

The problem with this explanation is that it’s a lie.

Members went down to the NSW Electoral Office who told them that they could have easily handled any City Tatts ballot because a different section handled club ballots.

Then there was the choice of replacement.

Guilfoyle awarded the contract for all City Tatts ballots to Phillip Binns who, incredibly, worked at the NSW Electoral Office at the time!

While working at the NSW Electoral Office Binns had built up a substantial business on the side by taking work from his employer. To hide what he was doing he operated under his wife’s name, Ema Estevez.

So in every way the decision to change the Returning Officer was strange.

And there other mysteries to the City Tatts elections.

City Tatts Information Desk

Good old Elenberg Fraser!

Elenberg Fraser are very much in the news at the moment.

They were the architects who approved the combustible cladding at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne that is the subject of a tribunal hearing.

Elenberg Fraser first became involved with City Tatts in March 2015 when the Chinese developer was selected to replace Mirvac.

But there were always doubts about how much work they actually did on the City Tatts project. (See 2016 blog Are Elenberg Fraser still working on the City Tatts deal?)

Then, of course, there was their sudden departure from City Tatts in February this year. The highlight of this was Patrick Campion’s hilarious explanation implying that Elenberg Fraser lacked everything needed to prepare a successful DA!! (See The strange rise and fall of Elenberg Fraser)

This came from the man who repeatedly told members how good they were!

City Tatts Information Desk

Chinese developer buys Park Regis

There was an interesting story in the Financial Review a few says ago.

The Teh family from Taiwan bought the Park Regis hotel on Park Street for $54 million.

Students of City Tatts would be familiar with the Teh family.

They bought 88 Liverpool Street from the Spanish Club in 2011 for $9 million. They spent $15 million on renovations to turn it into a hotel and put it up for sale earlier this year at $75 million.

Yes, $75 million.

Clearly there is big money to be made buying property from clubs.

And who was the selling agent for the Park Regis?

Colliers International.

City Tatts Information Desk

The economics of the City Tatts property development

The recent blog about the loss of rental income is a reminder to examine the whole rationale and economics of the City Tatts property development.

Actually the combined rent from the NAB and the Lotteries Office came to over $700,000 a year, before the club got rid of both of them around 2010 for Tony Guilfoyle’s dream of a property development.

Now let’s think about this.

The club missed out on at least $6 million in rent since then.

Then they spent $6 million, so far, trying to get planning permission – with no success. Based on that if they actually got full planning permission (Stage 1 DA and Stage 2 DA) for another $1 million it would be a major achievement.

If the property development ever happens the plan was to use 202-204 Pitt Street as a temporary club during construction. Leaving aside the question of whether this is even feasible the fact is a lot of money would need to be spent to do this. First they would have to build the “Wailing Wall” to divide the two parts of the site: the construction site at 194-200 Pitt Street, and the temporary club at 202-204 Pitt Street. Then there would be the other work required to make the temporary club operational. Together this work would cost at least $3 million.

So let’s recap.

$6 million in lost rent

$7 million to get planning permission

$3 million for the interim club

That’s $16 million.

But they only get $25 million from the developer.

If this was your building would you agree to this deal?

City Tatts Information Desk