The Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise has called in police as it battles to recover $200,000 from its former ticketing company, amid concerns that ticket holders for cancelled events have not received refunds.
Ticket Rocket has provided ticketing services for a number of sporting organisations and venues since the late 1990s while its sole director, Canadian-born Matthew Davey, was until recently a director and major shareholder in the Highlanders Super Rugby Franchise.
At the start of the year four of New Zealand's Super Rugby franchises used the company's ticketing services but all have now severed ties with the Dunedin-based company, which was originally known as Ticket Direct.
The Highlanders are also trying to ensure that fans who bought tickets to cancelled matches during the Covid-19 lockdown receive refunds.
The Hurricanes have now confirmed the organisation was so concerned about its dispute with Ticket Rocket over its failure to pay for tickets to games dating back to February, that it called the police.
"Whilst the Hurricanes have sought to commence the agreed dispute resolution process with Ticket Rocket, Ticket Rocket has not engaged," Hurricanes chair Iain Potter claimed in a statement to the Herald.
"As well as money owed to us, we were concerned that there were refunds owing to people holding tickets to games that were cancelled during lockdown.
"After our request for evidence that money was held in trust was ignored, we laid a police complaint some weeks ago."
Potter claimed that the ticketing company was supposed to hold the proceeds from tickets to its home games in a trust account "but we have increasingly become concerned that Ticket Rocket has not done so".
The franchise urged supporters who were owed refunds to games which had been cancelled to contact the Hurricanes, saying it believed the majority had got their money back.
Attempts to contact Ticket Rocket or Davey, both based in Dunedin, were unsuccessful yesterday.
The Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders were also using Ticket Rocket for Super Rugby games at the start of the year.
A spokeswoman for the Crusaders confirmed that the franchise ended its relationship with Ticket Rocket this year but declined to comment on why it had done so.
The Highlanders did not comment on its current relationship with Ticket Rocket but appeared to distance itself from its former director.
"Matt Davey resigned from our board in April and no longer has any involvement with the day-to-day governance of the Highlanders," Doug Harvie, chairman of the Dunedin-based franchise said in a statement.
Harvie said his concern was making sure supporters who bought tickets for cancelled matches were able to get refunds.
"Our understanding is that all but a few of our supporters have received refunds from cancelled matches already."
Davey appeared to reduce his shareholding in the Highlanders in late May but still holds 27 per cent of the franchise according to Companies Office records.
A director of the Highlanders since 2016, he had previously been the majority owner of the franchise.
NZ Rugby did not respond to a request for comment.
Concerns about the state of the company appear to be growing this month, with reports of people who purchased tickets for sporting events and shows saying they had not been able to reach the company to get a refund.
Earlier this month the Palmerston North City Council won a High Court order over Fortress Information Systems Limited (FISL), a different company which is owned by Davey and which trades as Ticket Rocket.
The council applied for the order claiming it was owed $675,958.40 by FISL related to speedway events and under-18 Softball World Cup matches in the city in February, which it believed were supposed to be held in trust.
Justice Rachel Dunningham's judgment said Davey had both acknowledged the money was owed and that his company had "cashflow problems". She granted temporary freezing orders to prevent the funds being moved from a BNZ account.
"I accept there is a real risk that FISL has been using, or will use funds held on trust to meet its cashflow requirements, or debts unrelated to the trust fund."