Aussie fireworks over unpaid Commonwealth Games bills

Andrew Howard said his company, Howard and Sons, was still owed 300,000 dollars (292,250 US) in payments, while much-needed equipment remained in India because officials had yet to complete the required paperwork for export.

Howard said his was one of about 20 companies from around the world which had worked on the glittering opening and closing ceremonies and was still waiting for payment or equipment, six weeks after the Games closed. "We've fulfilled our contract in its entirety to a very, very high standard and at every step of the way the organising community has failed to deliver its end of the contract," he told AFP. "It's an extremely frustrating situation."

"We are all so sick of the unprofessional, unlawful and unethical conduct of the OC (organising committee) and they need to be held accountable to their contracts," he said.
The Australian government confirmed it had raised the issue of a number of Australian companies "which have not been paid for various services performed for the Games"
with the Indian government.

"We have asked for early finalisation of these accounts in accordance with the relevant contracts," a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said, without giving further details.

A letter to organising committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi on behalf of the international suppliers, consultants and contractors who worked on the ceremonies claimed that none had received their full payments.

Ric Birch, who directed ceremonies for the 2000 Sydney Olympics and whose production company Spectak was involved in New Delhi, wrote in the letter that the work of the unpaid contractors on the opening ceremony had turned around the storm of negative publicity which had engulfed the Games until then.

"You yourself basked in the praise of world media and made your famous statements that you were now ready to advise London 2012, and that Delhi 2010 had surpassed the Beijing 2008 Ceremonies," he wrote to Kalmadi. But Birch said the committee had "treated every international supplier, consultant and contractor with scant respect and total disregard for your contractual obligations" and final payments were long overdue.

"Not one company has been paid in accordance with their contracts, and further, much of the equipment that was brought to Delhi for the Ceremonies is still sitting in Indian ports, docks or even still at the JLN Stadium because your Organising Committee has not fulfilled its duties and its contractual obligations -- leaving your Committee open to litigation for very considerable damages," he wrote.

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