Posted March 14, 2012 Twitter: @PaperlinXsuX
Why Loch Lomond Golf Club is important to PaperlinX employees and investors.
It’s a PaperlinX axiom that a Loch Lomond Golf Club (LLGC) membership exists, but Harry Boon and Toby Marchant only deny it privately never publicly.
This posting is designed to force them to tell everyone the truth. As I've said previously, if I'm wrong I'll withdraw and apologise when presented with facts, not obfuscation.
This is a current live example about:
• corporate transparency;
• truth; and now
• crisis management.
It’s come to my attention that Toby Marchant dismisses LLGC and disparages me in the process. This reportedly swayed at least one institutional investor about the truth of other adverse material about PaperlinX reported by suX. Time for resolution.
1. The Ultimatum
2. The Answer to Q1 of Ultimatum
3. Preamble to Proof, or don't blame the messengers
4. Affect on Votes at EGM
5. Why the fuss about one golf club membership?
6. Hard Evidence
8. Protecting whistle blowers
In a recent post I issued Toby Marchant with the ultimatum below. He didn’t respond. I will now fulfil my part of the deal below.
Here’s what you must do:
Tell the Australian institutional investors, in writing, the truth about the following things:
- How long membership of LLGC has been held or paid for by PaperlinX, directly or indirectly;
- Why PaperlinX lost the circa $100,000 debenture invested with the Club;
- How was this loss shown in the accounts of one of PaperlinX’s UK subsidiaries;
- Identify that subsidiary; and
- How many current board members have been to LLGC – who, why and when?
Simultaneously copy that written advice to me, which I undertake to keep private. This will be my evidence that you’ve met the deadline.
Please be certain to tell the truth as I know most of the answers.
Dear reader, if you think this is too harsh then you should know that Toby Marchant has constantly rebutted my attempts to talk with him about this, and James Orr has proven to be an unreliable conduit to the Chairman or MD.
Why a tight deadline – because it’s about votes at the EGM. You and others have stooped low in this campaign, so now is payback time.
The Answer to Q1
PaperlinX has held or paid for membership of LLGC, directly or indirectly, for over a decade.
Membership has been held well before any current director or senior manager was in a position of responsibility, i.e. when PaperlinX completed its last major acquisition in Europe, Buhrmann, in late 2003.
The original membership was probably a personal indulgence by a wealthy private paper merchant in the days when paper wholesaling was a good business. His business was subsequently acquired and re-acquired to ultimately belong to the PaperlinX Group. Maybe it goes back to the Club’s creation in 1994.
Longevity is an important part of the PaperlinX axiom. Everyone who ever needed to know about the existence of a LLGC membership knew it was for privileged use.
Preamble to Proof, or don't blame the messengers
Harry Boon has said that my attacks on his credibility have become personal. Don’t flatter yourself sir, it’s about money; my money being wasted by you and others under your stewardship.
My proof is based solely on the good grace of whistle blowers who desperately want change at PaperlinX. They can read the mood of the market about PaperlinX’s survival and their livelihoods.
On Feb 20, 2012, I received this anonymous posting from Scoresby:
Readers should be aware that many comments are unpublishable.
This comment tells me a lot about PaperlinX leading up to release of its interim accounts on Feb 22. It was being collaborated by other sources.
This led me to comment upon the Company’s T&E policy at From inside the Bunker at Scoresby:
which quickly led to this anonymous comment about LLGC at the foot of the same posting:
Subsequently that commentator identified him/herself and other commentators soon confirmed the story of LLGC.
The rest is history. The foregoing is a beautiful example of the "butterfly effect" in chaos theory - see here.
Affect on Votes at EGM
Late last week it was suggested to me by Andrew Price that one institutional investor, Maple-Brown Abbott, may be interested in knowing the truth about LLGC. My written submission to them was politely rejected without discussion.
If you’re interested in the quirkiness of professional funds management I’ve written about Maple-Brown Abbott’s curious voting philosophy here titled Ian McIllwraith on Boon, Price and PaperlinX.
How does one suffer a loss of circa $180 million or 97.4% of an investment, and still give any credence to the existing management?
Maple-Brown Abbott’s rejection without discussion, they were very polite, is what caused me to issue the ultimatum.
Why the fuss about one golf club membership?
I well understand the role of corporate hospitality, and its importance to an intermediary like a wholesaler.
But LLGC isn't any golf club. It’s exceptionally beautiful, see here, and until 2009 hosted the Barclays Scottish Open, see here; but that is nothing compared with its rules of membership and members’ use of the facilities.
- An application costs circa $100,000, membership is circa $8,000 per annum plus green fees;
- For this the member may play only 14 times per annum; and
- Guests can only play when accompanied by a member.
I don’t care who you are, that is über expensive. It is an executive wank.
It may have suited the pocket and tastes of a wealthy private paper merchant however its utility factor makes it an unacceptable proposition for a struggling PaperlinX that hasn't paid a dividend in four years.
A critique of Loch Lomond Golf Club by The Guardian is here.
Do you honestly believe that Harry Boon, a director since May 2008, hasn’t heard of let alone visited this treasure trove of corporate excess? Even by his Toorak standards, it’s exclusive.
Even more unbelievably, Toby Marchant claims he doesn’t play golf (really, is that so?) and hasn’t been to LLGC. I’m reliably informed there were always lots of PaperlinX personnel in the members’ tent at the Barclays Scottish Open.
I guess Toby kept missing the cut when he was MD of Robert Horne, Regional President of PaperlinX UK and CEO of PaperlinX Europe.
Here we are concerned about a tragic event in East Kilbride, a suburb of Glasgow, in early 2011. You'll note that LLGC isn't far from Glasgow, about 30 miles.
Two-year-old Ross Dunn suffers from spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy which affects his ability to walk. The condition will get worse as he grows older unless he undergoes specialist surgery at a cost of over £40,000 in the USA. It is scheduled to take place at the St Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri on July 19, 2011.
Local people and businesses rallied to the cause. You may read more at a dedicated website http://www.helprosswalk.co.uk. By June 8, 2011, £63,000 had been raised, see here.
PaperlinX subsidiary Donald Murray Paper made a generous albeit unusual donation.
It attracted my attention while Google searching "Loch Lomond Golf Club" + "name of PaperlinX OpCos" in the UK. My own work. I must get out more often.
See more of the story in the East Kilbride News here under the headline Teeing off for Ross.
The actions of Donald Murray Paper in supporting its local community are commendable. It would have required a very special members’ favour from LLGC to auction off a round of golf and luch at “the Club”.
Here again is the programme for the 2009 Barclays Scottish Open, see here.
The credits for the printed programme are shown below.
This answers question #1 of the ultimatum.
The other questions will be answered soon. Perhaps Maple-Brown Abbott would be interested too?
I do know for sure that the Board of PaperlinX attended LLGC in 2011. Question #5 of the ultimatum is who, when and why?
The bigger question is why Toby Marchant and Harry Boon deny this privately, but not publicly.
Protecting whistle blowers
Toby is desperate for a scapegoat. I doubt he'll be successful.
There is a potential cast of hundreds; given the many years of membership of LLGC, the number of current and former PaperlinX staff who would know about LLGC in the course of their daily work, the current and former staff at the Club, the current and former staff of clients and suppliers, etc the list is endless.
I know because I have had more than one whistle blower on LLGC.
Even if Toby suspects a whistle blower, where is the proof? It’s a PaperlinX axiom that a LLGC membership exists.