Tracey Anne Gordon, the woman who is reported to have been jailed in New Zealand for fraud and was jailed there for eleven years as a result, last week made contact with the Sunday Samoan where she told her “side of the story”.
She said she wanted to tell her story after she’d heard that a local business owner was planning to alert the local community about her alleged reputation, which was when she turned to the Sunday Samoan.
Ms Gordon, aged 42, said she was disappointed with the accusations that had been made against her, so that this time she’s decided to talk.
She said: “I have been advised that it’s best to keep quiet and let people go on and on. But I’ve had enough."
“I was in the hospital when the first story came out on Sunday. So I wasn’t aware of anything like emails, because I was under medical care of a medical team because I do have some health issues and I am still recovering from it."
“I had an email from my legal team in New Zealand, I have a medical issue and I had to ask my legal team to handle things for me.”
On Sunday, a story was published in the Sunday Sunday where a local business woman warned the business community especially the tourism industry about Ms. Gordon.
The issue was raised by the media to the police during the weekly press conference on Thursday, and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Police, Su’a Muliaga Tiumalu confirmed that there was no official complaint filed against Ms. Gordon.
And this had saddened Ms. Gordon.
“To be honest, I don’t know where the Samoa police come in. I question that."
“I don’t know why the reporter or people are going to the police. I am not wanted by the Police in New Zealand; it’s not a criminal matter so there is no investigation going on in New Zealand."
“The only issue I have in NZ is to do with the Surrey Hotel, which is to do with an account that has been disputed. I never left the country without paying. Because if you think about it, no hotel or no business will let a bill go so high and let someone stay there and go up to $18,000 and not receive one dollar.
“So you have to question that. I stayed there for five weeks, and they never charged the credit card once for five weeks. How can you let anyone stay at the hotel for five weeks and not pay one dollar?
“This hotel is in dispute of the account and the NZ legal team was handling it, and they’ve been handling it before the article came out in NZ.
“It’s been ongoing since May and April this year. And they want to negotiate now. It’s a civil matter and a lot of what this woman said, I don’t think she expected it to be in the paper. It was all too personal.”
Moreover, when reports from the media surfaced in the beginning of the week warning the business community and people about Ms. Gordon, she was shocked and unhappy.
Therefore, she went to the Police station and asked them why she was wanted.
“I had a text message from a friend to a friend; they contacted me because I just got out of the hospital. They told me that on the radio and on T.V. the police were looking for me in Samoa.
“I went to the Police Station and they didn’t know anything. So you might want to say that. So that was the only time I went to the Police. I went to ask what they wanted me for, but they don’t know.
“I didn’t come to Samoa for business; I came to Samoa for personal reasons. I did not come here to do business.”
Nevertheless, Ms. Gordon also dismissed the reports and comments made by the local business woman who spoke to the Samoa Observer.
“You know how she said that “she’s not who she says she is, “I’ve worked in international business around the world, and the people that I work with know me. And I have been working with them for 17 years. So if I was this character, why would they still work with me?
“And you know you can Google my name and the articles will come up. I’ve been very upfront with the people I work with. I’ve been advised by the lawyers that I don’t need to bring up the past but I don’t like to not inform them because it’s something that I would like to be upfront about.
How can I be not what people think, when I am doing an international business? It doesn’t make any sense. Like I said, she can say what she wants, I can’t change what people think, it’s something you can’t do.
The local business woman also accused Ms. Gordon of passing her a forged cheque which she said the police are investigating.
“I have never forged a document in my life,” she said.
“So where did I get the cheque from? But it is not my cheque and signature. That has been handled by the owner. It’s them; it has nothing to do with me.
“I don’t know because I have been in the hospital. Because the police would be probably looking for me if I had forged a signature. I never signed and never took it.”
She also rebuffs the claims that she stayed at Lynn’s Gateway at Moto’otua for two weeks.
“I never stayed at Lynn’s Gateway for two weeks. I went there on a Wednesday and then I was under emergency care on Tuesday and I wasn’t able to communicate with them until I got hold of a friend because I needed to make contact with somebody in case something happened.
“So I was just on my own, going through some medical stuff, my friend came and told me, and made contact with Lynn’s Gateway and let them know where I was.
“So I never stayed there for two weeks, it wasn’t even a week. But they have been contacted twice. They were told that as soon as I come out of the hospital, we will make arrangements on what was owed at that time. And I will pay them. And that was the message and they responded to my friend. It was my friend that made contact with Lynn last week. Now I am okay, but I am not 100% okay.
She also confirmed her case with Sinalei Resort. However she did not want to comment as the matter has been referred to the lawyers.
“Like I said, some of the accounts have been disputed and the amount reported owed has not been confirmed.
“So what we are arguing about is that the amount that they have charged hasn’t been itemized. That’s why the credit card company went back to the hotel and disputed it, they have already charged the credit card, like I said, you don’t stay somewhere for five weeks and not pay a dollar.
“Like when it gets to $4,000 or $2,000 dollars, they charge. The credit card is not the problem; the money is not a problem. It’s the hotel not itemizing it. Because sometimes we get bills and I say I didn’t eat that. That’s not my bill. So we left it in the hands of the credit card company. The credit card company is dealing with the hotel.
“The Sinalei Resort, that has been an issue that’s been handled by the lawyers. And that will be sorted and that’s not a problem.
“The businesswoman is telling you guys that everyone’s a victim. Can you verify the facts of what she’s saying? What is she a victim of? What grounds do you have to prove what this woman is saying is true? What is she a victim of? They’re not criminal matters.”
Furthermore, Ms. Gordon dismissed the reports on her being convicted for being a fraudster in New Zealand.
“According to the lawyers in N.Z., there have never been any charges against me for fraud.
“According to the lawyers in N.Z., what grounds do you have and proof to say I’m a fraudster? Also I have paid my dues in the past and there have never ever been any charges for fraud in NZ or anywhere.”
She also went on to say that she never went to jail before.
“And another thing also is I have never been to jail. Never. I’ve never been to prison. I was going to leave it, but then I thought I would come out.
“I have never been to prison. I have never had a fraud charge against me. The charges I pleaded guilty to were something to do with investment in business. I did not get proper legal advice. I trusted the wrong people and that was the only thing I was guilty of. My legal team will send someone here to work with the lawyers here in Samoa.
“All of these reports are all distortions of the facts. And the other thing like I said to you, what these people are saying to you, and what proof do they have? I am not worried about the businesswoman here. I am talking about the past; I am talking about the article in New Zealand.
“All these reports in New Zealand are all distortion of the facts, okay they never happened. What has been published in the NZ Herald it’s beaten of the Privacy Act, and that’s why the legal team is involved.
“But I never went to prison, and I never had any charges of fraud. I pleaded guilty because like I said, I was naïve; I trusted the wrong people and I didn’t get proper legal advice. So I got in trouble, but I have never ever been to prison.”
And why did she wait this long to come out and tell her story?
“I was too stressed at the time, and there were a lot of reports on the paper and my father said to me to leave it and come out later. The truth will come out one day.
“At the time, it wasn’t a very easy time,” she said.
“And my father always says that, you know you hear the news and you read the magazine every day but they are not all correct. But today, I want to come because I was concerned about some of the points especially about Lynn. They have been contacted. Because they knew where I was.
“Because at that time, my private counselor in NZ said to me, “get on with your life, be successful, your story will come out one day.” And I always was going to do it through a book.”
“I was going to come out in a book and it’s still going to come out in a book. You know if I had anything to hide, I wouldn’t be here.
“I’m not out here to get people; I’ve been involved in international business. And I have never ever had any problem until eleven years ago. And there’s a reason for it.
“And I have been getting on with my life, and all the evidence and facts from when the entire problem started, I have all the things locked in a safe. And it’s all going to be in the book.
“Because 11 years ago, people did not know what happened. People who know what really happened, are the lawyers, counselor and my father, it’s a very interesting story, especially because I am a very small person. And I became big for some reasons, but I am a nobody.
“But at the end of next year, 2017, I’ve got two international publicists who want the story of my life, from when I was born to where I am today. So at the end of next year, there’s going to be a book. So I am going to make a decision by the end of the year about which one (publicist) I am going to use.
“So that’s why I didn’t want to comment and I never wanted to comment 11 years ago because once you start talking, it just becomes bigger and bigger.”
Finally, Ms. Gordon said the reports which came out on the NZ Herald in 2005 had really affected her life and especially her family.
“I was more worried about my parents. And my sister. I mean I come from a good family here. So I just wanted peace, and my mother used to say to me, “forget it, and just ignore it. Be strong. Get on with your life and do the right thing.”
“So she passed away. I have a really good family and so lucky to have my parents and their support here. But when I came this time, I must’ve made somebody angry for them to say these things about me.”
However, Ms. Gordon said she is not mad at anyone.
“Can I say something about the report from 2005? It wasn’t a N.Z. Herald reporter; it was a freelance writer. The NZ Herald did not come to court. It was a freelance writer who put the story in, she was paid. And that’s why we didn’t sue the N.Z. Herald.
“I mean I am not angry at anybody, I mean its okay, even if they do these things. I mean people are humans. You know, everybody has got different personalities. I know about all these comments, and I have nothing against them. They have every right to say what they want to say.
“But I just wanted to come out here to get some of the facts correct. I’m not really into fighting and arguing.
“My dad is my number one supporter, always has been and always will be. And my relationship with my father and my family is personal; it has nothing to do with these people.
“I wasn’t going to come out like this, but I am doing this for me and my family. Because it’s not fair for them to see this. And I have a lot of family here, and I come from a very large family here.
“So what happened on Sunday, my friend bought me a newspaper at the hospital and saw the story and I said, okay let it go. But I said, well if there’s going to be another one, I will come and talk.
“So that’s why I am here. I am not blaming anyone, but New Zealand has a lot to answer for. The original writer 11 years ago and what has been done recently.”