Lame questions for Crown in 1996

By Stephen Mayne
January 29, 2008

The 1996 Crown AGM was one of those gatherings which really needed some decent questions. This report appeared in the Herald Sun on October 17, 1996.

The Crown annual meeting was a pretty docile affair yesterday, with the record 300 or so shareholders who showed up obviously happy with their capital profits of more than 300 per cent.

Any agitators that walked in might have been pacified by the $25 gaming voucher, Crown cap, key ring and pen that the casino giant handed out to each shareholder in well-presented showbags.

The tame questions ranged from when shareholders would receive their dividends to what plans were in store to take Crown into Asia, and whether trams were going to drop casino punters off in Whiteman St - a possibility ruled out by the government, according to Lloyd.

One of his first tasks, however, was to apologise for the absence of board member Kevan Gosper, who was "flat on his back" in the Epworth hospital. His predicament made no difference to the assembled shareholders, who re-elected him to the board unopposed, along with big-spending GP chief Ron Walker and Barry Hamilton.

One man who showed up to the meeting was John Haddad, Ron's close mate, who is on a lucrative five- year consultancy with Crown worth about $2.2 million all up.

Haddad gave Insider a spray yesterday, apparently for not treating Ron Walker as two totally separate persons - the one who has made $100 million from the casino and the other who has spent $60 million of taxpayers' money on Grand Prix-related matters when it was meant to cost $10 million.

Despite his lucrative consultancy, Haddad must be regretting his Federal Hotels jumped out of the Crown bid BEFORE final bids for the casino were lodged.

All up, Federal has missed out on more than $200 million in profits, but its Trojan-horse style appearance in the final bid documents did give Crown that all important "casino expertise" in the eyes of the Casino Authority.