Former security staff allege Dotcom paid them less than minimum wage
Whale Oil blogs:
This is a story of slave wages, bullying, intimidation and the sheer effrontery of a man spending literally millions on himself but short-changing his most loyal staff.
Before the raid on the Dotcom mansion there was a staff of approximately 8 security guards working 40 hour weeks in shifts. These guards were in addition to the personal protection staff that included Wayne Tempero and Regan Stewart.
They were on the normal pay rates for static security guards, just a few dollars above the minimum wage but at least with some sort of regularity and job security.
After the raid on the mansion and the subsequent court orders limiting the finances of Dotcom, the security contingent was reduced to just 4 staff. The job still needed to be done and the remaining 4 workers worked in excess of 90 hours per week. But with a catch. Their pay was never increased.
Essentially these important and loyal staff were now working more than twice the hours they worked before but for the same amount that they worked for 40 hours.
They went from just above the minimum wage to well under. Sources have told WOBH that they were effectively working for $8-00 per hour.
Surely not. Surely a man who flys to Huka Lodge to relax, lives in a huge mansion, and has enough spare cash to set up a political party pays his staff above the minimum wage?
Or are they treated the same way as his many small business creditors who are owed money?
The Greens, Labour and Mana all make a lot of fuss about the minimum wage. Russel Norman met him twice seeking his endorsement. Do the Greens membership want the endorsement of someone who allegedly pays below minimum wage? Isn’t it parties of the left that would normally condemn a multi-millionairre who pays his staff below the minimum wage? So do the parties of the left have principles, and will condemn this (if correct), or will they say nothing as they hope for an endorsement or donation?
There was an understanding with these loyal and hard working staff, who had stuck by Kim Dotcom in the aftermath of the raid that the overtime would be treated as back pay and that they would be paid just as soon as money started to flow from Mega.
And the money did start to flow. Kim Dotcom, through his wife, has reportedly pulled in nearly $10 million from share sell downs, and have pretty much spent the lot on frivolities and personal vanity projects like his album, like Rhythm & Vines where he allegedly spent more than $500,000 in order to secure access to the main event and essentially hijack it. On top of that reports suggest that more than $2 million was spent on the album and there are confirmed reports of a not inconsequential amount being spent on another vanity project that is supposedly an “independent” documentary about the fabulous life of Kim Dotcom. In addition sources tell me that more than $1 million a month has been spent on forming the Internet party. These expenses and projects will become the subject of further stories in coming weeks.
Yet no money for creditors!
Finally, earlier this year matters came to a head and when new contracts were offered to the security staff which reflected slightly increased hourly rates but not a mention of unpaid back pay, the staff walked, sick of the lies and the delays.
These 4 staff are each owed over $50,000 in back pay and entitlements. Understandably, after months and months of working on just $8 per hour they sought legal advice but their entreaties to the mansion to honour deals have been met with silence.
Where’s the UNITE union when you need them!
And that is when the threats started to flow. WOBH has exclusively received a recording of one of those calls. A call where Kim Dotcom threatens the underpaid security guard with “the full wrath of [his] legal capabilities” and he promises to “destroy anybody” who challenges him.
You can listen to the audio at Whale’s site.
When WOBH called Tempero to clarify details of these matters he refused to speak citing confidentiality agreements.
Further to that, WOBH was sent a copy of a gagging order (an interim injunction) against Wayne Tempero from the bully boys and girls at Simpson Grierson. This entire article complies fully with the gagging order. Though one would now question just what it is that Kim Dotcom is scared of and what is he trying to hide by applying a gagging order against one particular staff member.
These threats and intimidation of vulnerable workers are unacceptable to the New Zealand public but they show the true nature of Kim Dotcom. A nature the mainstream media have gone out of their way to ignore and to gloss over as they fawned for access.
Is this the sort of behaviour that we as Kiwis expect from would be politicians?
I’m now thinking it would be a great thing if Dotcom does endorse Labour, Greens, NZ First and Mana!!
Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.