4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

06 February 2016


With the Mayor Bob Manning EventsNQ bankruptcy raising serious questions about the ethics and competency of the Cairns (non)Regional Council Mayor, the Cairns Post gave the Bob & Claire Manning a "free kick" in Saturday's ComPost.

The puff piece does manage to confirm the allegations raised by Hillbilly Watch almost two weeks ago - a massive entitlement shortfall made good by the Federal Government, the clear warnings the Mayor received and then ignored (and in the learned judgement of many, led to months of Trading While Insolvent), and the community embarrassment of having a Mayor who's Mayoral wages are being garnisheed as a debtor. 

Can you imagine?  A mayor who's salary is being docked because he's a deadbeat?  Is this an Australian first?? 

You can't make this shit up.

It also explains why this 70-year-old man who promised people like Cr. Terry James and former Mayor Kevin Byrne that he would only stand for one term as Mayor has reneged on this promise in order to allow ratepayers to give him even more money!

Individually any one of these now admitted charges would lead to a resignation by an ethical man.

Robert Manning has now been shown clearly that he's NOT an ethical or moral
leader, and should stand aside immediately for the good of the Residents of Cairns.

With Cairns Post "reporter" Jim Campbell clearly disinterested in facts and happy to churn out CRC puff releases as news, it's clear that the community can only rely on the blogger community for the real, unvarnished truth.  

The Manning story is filled with untruthful statements that should have been challenged by the "reporter", using the documents on record. (We note that there were three downloads of the Liquidator's Final Report, a document we've hosted for public access, from an IP address listed to the Cairns Post).  Did Campbell not even speak to the Liquidators?  The Mayor's statements in this Jim Campbell puff piece are contradicted by the public record.  

The story desperately tries to paint the Mayor and his wife in a favourable light despite the facts - with Campbell referring to the public who've asked for more information as "relentless scrutiny", "intense rumour and speculation", and "reopened old wounds".  Several of the over 10 employees summarily ejected from their jobs (which many had for over a decade) had brought this matter to the HBW's attention when the ComPost ignored the facts in the collapse for months.  So too were the many wedding couples and others who contracted with EventsNQ who were left out of pocket and in a lurch when the Mannings put their business into liquidation.  We're not going to feel bad about "relentless scrutiny" of our elected Mayor in his dealings - public OR private.  

Manning proffers as an excuse that he was working "60-hour weeks in his role as Mayor".  So what, Bob?  That's YOUR JOB.  That's the job YOU told us you would do, and that we elected you to do.  That's why we pay you over $210,000 a year, Bob.  So you work for US, and don't spend your time on setting up tables and chairs for your own events planning company.  

Excuse rejected.  Go fish.   

Manning pleads that the bankruptcy is a family matter and doesn't involve his role as Mayor.  BULLSHIT.  As we've all come to recognise, this is a blatant falsehood.  As public records show, just weeks before the collapse (and apparently after he had been "advised to get out"), Manning had the Cairns CEO Peter Tabulo put forward his company to the CRC as a "Preferred Supplier" that would cater Council events without any further bidding!  While Manning recused himself from the vote, clearly his councillor poodles all voted to approve.  Manning apparently dishonestly withheld this critical information from the Council - one councillor has told us that they had no idea the business was going to shortly collapse.  In today's story, Manning now admits he knew at the time this approval was before Council; he knew that the business was close to collapse, likely trading while insolvent, and operating with professional advice to "get out".  He now says he was ". . . thinking something would happen".  Yea, he was hoping that Council and ratepayer money would bail him out!  We all see that now, Bob.  Pretty despicable.    

How can a man who's withholding material information from his fellow councillors be trusted?  Like in a courtroom, once a person makes a material falsehood about one fact, the jury is instructed they can infer EVERYTHING that's being said is untrustworthy.  

Bob Manning should immediately stand aside as Mayor of Cairns.

The Manning story quotes him as suggesting that everything was OK until Claire Manning was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2013.  But this is contrary to the Mayor's previous statements that "they'd never taken a wage" or any other money out of the business.  This statement also by inference blames the professional staff who had in many cases been running EventsNQ for years.  

Where is the the recitation of the real facts surrounding the operation and collapse of this formerly profitable business?   Instead we get a cheap attempt at sympathy.  

Bob Manning should immediately stand aside as Mayor of Cairns.

And then in the height of arrogance, Manning suggests that his mistake was "failing to do due diligence" before spending investing his money in this business.  Due Diligence.  Otherwise known as Consultation.  We now have the only two big-spend projects underway by this Manning Council - the Tobruk Pool Reconstruction, and the replacement to the Civic Theatre.  NEITHER HAS HAD PROPER DUE DILIGENCE BY THE COMMUNITY but were rushed through Council at Manning's insistence.

This is sadly a personality trait in Bob Manning that has cost him a few hundred thousand dollars, but is about to cost the Cairns Ratepayers almost $100M dollars!  Most professional staff at Council believe the Tobruk Pool is in the wrong location for our city in 2016, and none want to be responsible for what many believe will be a white elephant.  And the proposed Cairns Civic Theatre replacement is so misplanned that the State Government won't put a shilling into it!  Manning is laying the groundwork for ratepayers getting stiffed at the feet of the Queensland Government with his public statements.  But the facts clearly show that the CRC professional staff, primarily the General Manager for Planning Kelly Reaston, have failed to lodge the appropriate funding request with the state government.  Unlike bats, even state government money doesn't grow on trees!

Bob Manning should immediately stand aside as Mayor of Cairns.  

The final troll for sympathy is the statement that the family "that never wanted for anything" have somehow been reduced to paupers by the bankruptcy of what was a rather small business.  Pensions and superannuation from 8 years as CEO in Longreach, 18 years at the Cairns Port Authority, General Manager at NQEA, CEO at airports in Cyprus - we're supposed to believe it was all squandered by a few hundred thousand in debts at EventsNQ?  

That doesn't pass the laugh test.  

You can't make this shit up.

Stupidity alone disqualifies Bob Manning to be Mayor of Cairns.

To his credit, Mayoral candidate Jim Brooks has remained mum on this issue, despite Manning's allies at the ComPost already using their position to attack the Connect Cairns team.  But these are not trivial issues.  The fact that Manning put forward the business when it was known to be failing for no-bid Council contract approval alone is worthy of investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.  



Tony Hillier said...

A powerful, well-written, well-researched and well-argued piece of journalism that puts today's Cairns Post PR job to shame. In any thinking community, the current mayor would be properly held to account, but this is Cairns, where "professional" media surveillance is superficial at best and failed businessmen, the old boys' brigade, bogans and other boneheads rule the roost.

CBD Warrior. said...

I voted the Manning team. This despite knowing he had a dodgy history running the Port Authority from which he was stood down. I agree that this is a sordid event that requires his departure even though that would surely mean the return of Kevin Byrne. But Byrnsey can't get reelected.

And the Cairns Post is pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Cairns in a lot of people's minds,is definitely a Hillbillies Heaven.

Ed in Edge Hill said...

Can you imagine the outrage if the Mayor of Brisbane or the Gold Coast did this? They would be put on their ear quick smart. This is exactly why Cairns doesn't get its share of government investments. They don't trust our leaders. Where was the outrage when the Mayor of Queensland's fasted growing Council took a second job?

Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that Manning's son was supposed to be running this place. At least Bob didn't throw his kids under the bus like Paul Freebidy did.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to see just how much ratepayers money was gifted to NQ events after they were made preferred supplier.

Anonymous said...

Cairns Post needs to be investigated. We cannot afford to have this level of cronyism. He failed to respond to the invitation for the talks on lock out laws and blamed everyone but himself. Now we hear he did not make formal application for funding yet once more blames everyone but himself. Cairns Post headlines lie that he is the victim in both cases. I hear the same happened with ports as he did not respond when the time was appropriate when LNP were developing port policy then came blaming ALP. I am not sure Brooks in the answer but I know 100% that Manning is incompetant and it is a crime the CP try to cover that up and act as his PR. I have provided press council with evidence a few years ago of CP fabrication but never heard back. Maybe we need a more concentrated effort to report the constant lies which I can see are innocent but not being able to think should not disqualify the CP from being held accountable.

Re his wife's illness, he should have stood down as Mayor to support her. He is retirement age so work should not come first. To say the business went under because of her illness but that it never stopped him working 60hours appalls me but then to say it was a legacy for 30 odd year old children beggars belief. They were of age to run it now so if they could not then it would be a worthless legacy. Just more excuses. It seems he got a long way on contacts and ego because he is really not very capable. Blaming the ALP for his problems when he was Ports CEO now look like just another excuse to deflect away from his incompetence. Sems a habit of his.

Anonymous said...

Spot on he should be man enough to step up and take the blame.

Anonymous said...

Manning is looking for 'financial sympathy' from a region in which high unemployment an shit wages reigns supreme. This clown is earning over $200k per year, and that doesn't include all then other little 'perks' that come along from business developers. This fool has drawn a government funded wage for over a quarter of a century (25 + years). He gets Government level superannuation indexed at between 12 and 15% (much higher than the average shit kicker on the street who stacks shelves). Bob has earned bonus after bonus, tinkered in other business interests, enjoyed the use of government credit cards, Ollie jollie trips and other public servant perks. The guy owns numerous investment properties and yet he still looks for 'sympathy'! The guy even made sure he owned a business that DID make money and it got the money from his Council! Fuck off you clown, you've got a lifetime of government superannuation coming which will see you out of this world and into the next world.

Bob, you've earned all of this money all the while being a non-performer! Not bad if you score that gig! And you want us to shed a year? For Christ's sake mate take a reality pill and wake up. Your days are numbered for apple bobbing in the taxpayer trough. You've had a good run, decades worth of big money an trough swilling for little output, plus you have a big fat government pension coming.

This region is totally rooted having been run by a failed businessman for 8 years. Bob Manning - you are the weakest link, goodbye.

Anonymous said...

If he does make Mayor again I doubt he will have the same number of councillors giving him a free ride so next term will be hell for him. Nowhere to hide plus debt issues will start to surface,

Anonymous said...

It's time to get external financial auditors in to do a forensic audit. Pull each and every tender or quote that was won by his company and match that against other people who submitted tender applications or provided quotes. Let's see how many jobs that EventsNQ won against the others, and by how much etc. Have a close look at all Council signatories, who approved the jobs, dates and signatures on the paperwork etc. Bob is such an ignoramus and clusterfuck that I doubt all of the 'T's would be crossed.
What a joke Cairns is, fucktard Central run by bat loving dickheads.

Muck in Boganville said...

Kudos to Rob Pyne for wanting investigation into dodgy CRC councillors and Mayor. Gutless CP not game to write truth about Manning and his stooges. How is it possible that a bankrupt can be in control of a multimillion dollar business(CRC)?? Is that even legal?moral? or ethical? Way too much corruption in this town between the business community and council/councillors.

Anonymous said...

The Councillors have supported Manning. They are equally culpable. They are all chasing easing money. As for Bob whining about working 60 hour weeks well boo fucking hoo mate. Any person earning over $200k per year should be expected to earn it. What you want all that coin for a 20 hour week you lazy fuck? Welcome to the world of a CEO, Mayor, whatever. And so your missus got breast cancer, you want a fucking meddle? We all go through health shit mate, including Cancer. At least you could afford to put her in private, unlike the rest of us. Bob you are 70, please just piss off into retirement. Because if you come back as Mayor again we are going to really apply pressure to you an your snivelling Councillors who are hiding out of the spotlight while you cop the heat. You are all completely fucked and you all need to go. You fucked the Ports, the airport design and the region completely. Piss off

Smithfield Sam said...

John MacKenzie, who spends the first 45 minutes of the show reading the Cairns Post, will of course fail to mention this little nugget, or just gloss over it like he does for the "mates". Manning wonders why he can't have a meeting with the Premier and get a commitment for the new theatre on a handshake. Handshake deals can only be had between people who trust each other. Manning is so untrustworthy he couldn't get any deals with Campbell Newman nor now with Anastacia Palaszczuk for exactly this reason.

If Manning stays on the ticket, we need to vote the Unity Team LAST in every division. They're all guilty of gross stupidity.

Anonymous said...

Must be voted last but if we have anyone thinking of Cairns first and its reputation then he will not contest the next election. All the councillors should be removed for supporting a mate instead of the best interests of the city.All of them. Cronyism is legal corruption. The reputation of Cairns is already tarnished so our highest priority should be to ensure we have the best. Bad enough with Entsch and CEC.

Anonymous said...

He could afford to have his eye lids lifted for the election. What about his creditors. This just makes me want to vomit my lunch up worried about his vanity at 70 and not his company's employees entailments, scum of the earth I say.

TAS said...

Manning, after being elected as mayor, bought EventsNQ. It has been alleged that the business then became the preferred tenderer to CRC (funny that) and therefore did not have to tender for each and every job that council awarded.

But even with the playing field unethically skewed in his favour, he still manages to send the business broke. Not only does he lose his money, employees lose entitlements, customers lose deposits and have to queue with other creditors in futile attempts to seek refunds.

Despite this, in a breathtaking exercise in cronyism, Bankrupt Bob still manages to retain the confidence of his council and continue on as mayor.

But it gets worse: at age 70, having lost the family fortune, he now need another term (on $220K plus pa of ratepayers money) to keep him in the lifestyle he and Clare have come to expect (flying down to Brisbane for shows, etc).

Bob, you should go now. In the unlikely event you are elected, the next council will likely not be so complicit, you will be watched and investigated. Have some self-respect, take the best, most modest retirement you can afford. It will still be infinitely better than most ratepayers of Cairns can enjoy.

Anonymous said...

This may well be the end of him. Even the shock jock can only dance around it for that long. If he had any decency he should just stand down. Those Unity councillors are constantly crapping on about their business acumen and now this. Move over Bob. Let someone young and energetic take over, sell your investments and pay your bloody bills!

CBD Tarzan said...

This is a really great exposé of the ruthlessly incompetent Cairns post and a ridiculous unworthy mayor. When is the movie being filmed I want to add a few stories about the swinggers on Lake St.

Anonymous said...

WTF did you say Shanghai? what a fucken mob of Parana's there are on this site, yep typical leftie mob mentality. Hahaha

Lyndon Parker in Palm Cove said...

I've never before lodged a comment at this blog, or any blog. But I'm very angry at the facts that have been presented - not just by you but the Cairns Post as well.

Think about what happened at the council meeting where EventsNQ was put on the list of no-bid contractors. And look at it in the most favourable light to Mayor Manning.

Staff at the business likely filed for this exemption some months before, maybe he didn't even know about it.

So the item comes up in the Council agenda - EventsNQ to be approved as a no-bid contractor.

Manning clearly SAW this item in the agenda, because he declared an interest in the matter and didn't vote.

However he has at this point already been advised that the business has failed and that he should get out. He admits to being told this - accountant? Solicitor? Someone who's professional advice he's paid for and then ignored.

Does Bob Manning quietly ask that the inclusion of his business be withdrawn from the list? Nope. Does he advise his fellow councillors privately that his business is failing? Nope. He lets them go on to vote this additional perk into his trough, knowing full well that the business is doomed.

You're right Hillbilly, this is the height of immorality at least, and perhaps criminal. It's the equivalent of Contempt of Parliament, a very serous charge in Westminster-style government.

Anonymous said...

Where oh where is the CCC? Why aren't they investigating this? I also think that a dirty grey cloud hangs over the heads of the Councillors, 'birds of a feather stick together'. The more of this that comes to light paints a clear picture that the Mayor has had support and coverage through all of this, courtesy of his fellow Councillors. The entire lot of them need to be investigated, no stone left unturned.

HBW solid work with your reporting. I reckon we need to put each Councillor under the spotlight, and the same applies to the management and reporters at the Compost. Strip through every owned business, business connection, assets, friendships, mateships, lovers and relatives and expose any nepotism, corruption or unethical behaviour and put it in print for the State to see.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:20
If they had any business acumen they would have kept the CEP and fixed the issues. Instead they slaughtered the investment reputation of the town for political gain. An example might be ALP and AQUIS and Adani. They probably know both are duds but as a government a process has started and as a government it must be allowed to reach completion giving business certainty. Business need the government to be the Cairns local government or the Queensland government not ALP council or LNP state government. Happened to me, thought the town was on the up and up Only to then find out it is polically unstable and so I made a costly error. Then the idiots say they have business acumen. They know how to kill it!

TAS said...

Manning has been an unmitigated disaster for Cairns on two fronts:

Firstly, he is a nasty spiteful operator. He came into office on the sole basis that anything achieved or pending by the previous mayor (Val Shier) must be undone/negated out of sheer partisan spite. It cost the city over $100 million in lost funding and the loss of what would now be a stunning waterfront entertainment centre and an image changer for Cairns. In it's place, and three years later, we are to get a revamp of a tired inadequate old 'cinema-looking' building in the wrong end of town and UNFUNDED.

Secondly, Manning is devoid of personality and vision. He can hardly string a coherent sentence together, is totally out of his depth in the machinations of running a city such as Cairns (evidence his inability to ensure he is included in vital discussions on lock-out laws, or his inability to formally lodge and lobby for project funding) - and is totally reliant on a small clique of Unity councillors (gang of four) for guidance - which has never involved consulting with their constituency for a consensus view of what we want. As for the rest of council, they need not have existed this past term for all the value they have been.

Connect Cairns is a new and largely unknown coalition. But they cannot possibly be worse than Manning and Unity.
I am of the vain hope that the Civic Centre project can be cancelled and we go back to the beginning.

Our entertainment centre needs to be where it was originally proposed, a place of civic pride where it is the first building you look upon when arriving on a cruise liner into our stunning Trinity Inlet.

Compare that to what Manning is offering: a sub-standard tarted up 'Roxy' cinema on the city fringe.

Manning did not have the decency or self-respect to resign over his EventsNQ bankruptcy debacle. It is now up to the electorate to give him direction.

Ernie said...

All the freeloaders who live in harbour lights are the scum of this town and want this city place for themselves, chapman was the one who set that up and now we have the city property scammers trying to shut the centre down for themselves, don't we betros , the almighty mouth of talkback.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or do some of Bobs photos make him look like an alien?

Anonymous said...

Manning is a DOG on a chain of the Cairns high fliers. Nothing but a pan licker.

Anonymous said...

I doubt whoever qualifies as high fliers in this town would support Manning. Unless they want to be grounded.

Anonymous said...

High fliers like Karl from Mooroobool?


Anonymous said...

Have ya seen ya head HBW , good luck '

Gavin Bland said...

Davros the lord of the Daleks. Very little makeup needed.

Anonymous said...

What about Kevin Browns peach fuzz head? Cairns coconut heads rule spupreme.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect from a fucking pie maker. Why cant we have someone smart who knows what we need in Cairns, we have the best part of Australia and our local culture rocks. But nooooo, this old wrinkled sack of shit wouldn't know it if it bit him on the ass.

Oh yeah, and the Cairns Post are racist bastards, we need to get rid of them, get some life long local people in there who actually know the community and make us proud.