Looks like this could go on for another 4 years
From the linkable Standard:
AmCham's $75m advance
The government gave the American Chamber of Commerce HK$75 million before it signed a contract with the Harbour Fest organiser, documents seen by The Standard reveal.
AmCham was also given custodial rights to the festival for five years, according to the contract, which was signed more than a month after the event was announced and without consultation of the Legislative Council.
Last night InvestHK director general Mike Rowse said: ``There's not lots of nasties hidden away here. I know the media love this story, but it's really been out in the open.''
Legislator Emily Lau of the Frontier said she was shocked to learn the event could be held for five years.
``I say forget it ... I wouldn't want taxpayers' money to be spent like that.''
The 21-page agreement between the government and AmCham was signed on October 10 - the day they withdrew the contract to the headline act, the Rolling Stones. Four days later, the British rock icons announced that their managers were holding a deposit from AmCham, had signed the contract and would play at Tamar on November 7 and 9.
The document, which was on the letterhead of the government's investment promotion arm InvestHK, was sent to Legco's financial affairs panel on October 25 and was signed by Rowse.
On page two, the government said it agreed to ``underwrite the shortfall between the organising expenses for and the revenue generated from'' the festival.
That amount, called in the contract a ``sponsorship fee'', was set at a ceiling of HK$100 million.
The money was paid into an account operated by Red Canvas Ltd, a company ``wholly-owned by members of AmCham,'' the document said.
``HK$25 million was paid to AmCham upon execution of the first [memorandum of understanding] on 31 July, and a further HK$25 million on each of 29 August and 3 October,'' it said on page seven.
Rowse told The Standard the amount given was now HK$100 million. ``The sponsorship agreed is HK$100 million, and that's an absolute ceiling, but if they do better than they anticipated when they presented the case in the first place, then we pay less, so effectively it's a kind of underwriting,'' he said.
Should AmCham sell more than its estimated 50 per cent of seats to all shows, it would give some of that money back. Asked why AmCham had the festival rights for five years, Rowse said: ``Because it's their idea.''
The contract stipulates that the government will review its financial commitment after this year's festival.
Rowse said when the Legco finance committee approved the HK$1 billion Relaunch Hong Kong fund in late May, it was informed that HK$200 million would be spent on ``mega'' sporting and cultural events.
Harbour Fest began on October 17 and concludes on November 9.
Lau and medical constituency member Lo Wing-lok last week said the government did not give it adequate details about how the HK$200 million would be spent.
Rowse said there were no specific details given ``because nobody knew at that time what the details were.''
The public demanded the government do something quickly about the empty hotels and high unemployment.
``So, [legislators] voted the HK$1 billion and we then went around and did a lot of things very quickly,'' Rowse said. ``And the result is there at a macro level for everyone to see - ... the tourist numbers are up, the retail sales figures are up, unemployment's on the way down.''
Page 16 of the document outlines an ``indicative budget'' using estimates dated September 22.
Among the estimated expenditures are HK$85.8 million for artists' fees, HK$30.4 million for operations and HK$6.6 million for television production. The estimated revenue included HK$52.5 million from ticket sales if 50 per cent were sold, HK$3.1 million in sponsorship and HK$1.6 million from television rights. The estimated shortfall as at September 22 was HK$77.1 million.