Kim Dotcom fronting up to Coatesville residents tonight - for $10 a head
UPDATE June 29: Kim Dotcom did attend the Coateville meeting, leaving the Settlers' Hall through a back door without talking to press. The alleged pirate seemed to have charmed the crowd, with various departing attendees telling RNZ he seemed "warm", "genuine" and "friendly."
June 28: Kim Dotcom's charm offensive continues with a $10-a-head meeting in Coatesville tonight.
Meeting organiser David Weller, chairman of the Coatesville Ratepayers and Residents' Association, confirmed to NBR ONLINE that Kim Dotcom would be the mystery speaker at the event, starting 7pm at the Coatesville Settlers' Hall.
Mr Weller said it was not a case of cashing in on the giant German's celebrity.
Rather, the door charge was a joining fee for the residents' association, with the meeting functioning as a membership drive.
Mr Weller said the association had around 100 members. Flyers had gone out to 850 homes in the exclusive semi-rural community on Auckland's north-west fringe.
Mr Dotcom had asked the meeting be closed to media. The association intended to enforce the requested ban by asking for proof of Coatesville residence, such as a utility bill.
Around the time of the January 20 raid on his $30 million rented mansion, Mr Dotcom appeared to be enduring a hostile response from his immediate neighbours. Some did not appreciate the ironic humour of a "intimidating" email to residents.
Others said he was – literally – scaring the horses by racing his cars up and down the street.
But Mr Weller, a retired HR director who has spent most of his career in Hong Kong and Singapore, said he had no beef with the alleged internet pirate.
It was only a "small group" of residents who had issues with Mr Dotcom, the chairman said.
He didn't expect complaints about helicopters or guns, but rather questions such as "What do you think about the FBI?" and "Why did you choose Coatesville?"
That expectation seems sure to be dashed.
Kim Dotcom's near-neighbour France Komoroske told NBR ONLINE she intends to go along to the meeting.
The retired lawyer has been one of Mr Dotcom's fiercest critics, battling his residency and and home ownership applications, and complaining about his behaviour.
Today, she told NBR ONLINE, "The only surprising thing about this is why didn't Dotcom ingratiate himself to the neighbours when he first moved in instead of going out of his way to piss off those of us who live on the same road with him.
"But then he didn't need favourable coverage back then and was still going with his bad-boy image, which hasn't worked out all that well for him."