Green faces fraud charges over pokies grant

Prominent Napier businessman Rodney John Green will deny fraud charges relating to alleged misuse of a charitable grant from pokie machine proceeds linked to one of his hotels.

Green, who turns 63 next Tuesday, has been charged after a lengthy Department of Internal Affairs investigation and appeared briefly before Judge Bridget Mackintosh in Napier District Court yesterday.

He is charged jointly with an officer of a Napier sports organisation with misusing a document and obtaining a grant of more than $10,000. It relates to funds received by the organisation more than two years ago from the Infinity Foundation, a Hawke's Bay-based gaming funds trust.

The document charge relates to written material supporting the organisation's application, and the second man, who was granted interim suppression of name and identity, faces another document charge relating to audit reconciliation of the grant.

No pleas were entered and both men were granted bail and remanded to December 13. Green was excused from appearing in court on that date because of commitments out of the area.

Through defence counsel Tony Snell he did not seek name suppression.

Mr Snell told the judge Green "denies any wrongdoing and intends defending the matter", although no formal plea was entered pending other decisions on the progress of the case.

The suppression order for the second man, based on an application by counsel Jonathan Krebs and not opposed by department counsel Anna Longdill will be reviewed on December 13.

The department would not comment further on its investigation, senior communications adviser Trevor Henry told Hawke's Bay Today.

Via an array of sponsorship arrangements, Green's name is associated with the Pettigrew Green Arena at Taradale, and the Rodney Green Centennial Event Centre (formerly Centennial Hall) at McLean Park.

A former butcher, building a business base from Napier Discount Meats and the Medallion bacon and small good companies, he now has a dominant role in Napier's hospitality and accommodation industries.

In 1999, he opened the Bluewater Hotel around the former Ahuriri Tavern.

He was also involved in a buy-up of several other operations, including the Napier Travel Inn on Marine Parade and the Tamatea Motor Inn, and other motels which have been transformed into apartments and unit titles.

The Bluewater Sportz Bar and the Tamatea Tavern, which has also doubled as clubrooms for the Napier Pirates Rugby and Sports Club, of which he is a member, both operate gaming machines from which funds are distributed by Infinity Foundation.

The Companies Office records Green as sole director of at least seven companies.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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