HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 577: 17 August 2011

Tepaki considering his options

On the face of it, property developer Tim Tepaki appears to be between a rock and a hard place. However, the embattled and besieged developer remains upbeat and as he puts it, “poised for a major comeback”
On Tuesday, property developer Tim Tepaki updated the Herald on progress with his intention to consider filing a complaint with Police regarding fraudulent activities he alleges occurred at the Lagoon Lodges, Castaway Beach and Manuia Beach hotels.
Tepaki has substantial investments in these hotels that are now in receivership and also up for sale.
Tepaki said it was a case of waiting to see the outcome of his complaint to BTIB about breaches of its investments act by operator Rarotonga Resorts Management and his financier Strategic Finance (in receivership and liquidation) before deciding whether or not to file a complaint with Police. He said it appeared the BTIB had hit a wall of silence with the operator and to a lesser degree his financier, so he was now considering his options.
Tepaki told the Herald from his discussions with BTIB it appears it has issued notices to revoke the operator’s right to operate in the Cook Islands and partially revoke his financier’s right, more specifically his financier’s right to provide financial services but not its right to recovery by sales.
When informed that sales of the three hotels may be imminent, Tepaki said he found that interesting, as according to BTIB no one had applied for approval to invest, which can only mean if offshore investors are involved, they may be using a local “front person” to avoid BTIB. Tepaki said his financier’s receivers did likewise when forcing receivership on his companies. They avoided BTIB and by appointing a local who also happened to be the accountant for the operator.
Tepaki said he was not worried about a local lawyer’s threat to sue him if he decides to file a complaint with the Police against his client (Rarotonga Resorts Management) as reported by CI News on 17 May 2011.
Tepaki said some people who are not of this land, think they only need to say “boo” for locals to forfeit their land, investments and run off to distant lands with their tail between their legs.
Tepaki said he will not allow anyone to intimidate him and that he intends to say “boo” back.
Tepaki said if the hotels were sold it would be an accelerant for crashing the investment property market of the Cook Islands, as selling three hotels on the back of operational failure and toxic return in a global recession can only be described as “fire sale”, and as such would attract predator investors looking for bargains to rebuild and sell for profit and depresses the market further.
He said Strategic Finance itself never forced receivership or sales of his investments as it knew it would depress the value of its own security, but unfortunately it is in receivership and liquidation itself and has no say, and its receivers seemingly could not care less about what happened to the Cook Islands or its property market.
Tepaki said all the three hotels ever needed was a good operator and the debt would have been serviced and receivership and sale avoided. Lagoon Lodges had paid its debt to Strategic Finance, as had Castaway Beach, with only Manuia Beach to settle its debt. He said it would have made sense to replace the operator.
Asked if the sale could be stopped, Tepaki said he believed the BTIB had provisions in its legislation to investigate the sale even if a local was being used as a front and can stop the sale while it investigates the matter, given that foreign enterprises initially involved are conducting the sales process.
He added that BTIB needs to know how the Unit Title Act provisions are being dealt with, as land is common area and can’t be sold and unit title developments are reserved for locals. He said the Unit Titles Act impedes the sale of Lagoon Lodges and Manuia Beach in particular, where developments are still in progress.
Tepaki said the sale or otherwise of these hotels is a fight between foreign predators straddling our sovereignty and forcing the sale and BTIB defending our sovereignty and stopping it.
Tepaki said someone has to stop the erosion of our land and people before it’s all too late. He said if the current rate of mortgagee sales and depopulation continue our generation will go down in history as the generation that lost our country and people.
Not one to take adversity lying down, Tepaki ‘s mind is constantly at work. Plans are afoot-watch this space, Tim will return.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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