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Horan's pay offer to family 'unacceptable'

Published: 7:34AM Sunday December 09, 2012 Source: Fairfax

MP Brendan Horan offered to pay $25,000 to his mother's estate after he was accused of taking money from her bank accounts, but the deal collapsed, the Sunday Star-Times has learnt.

Horan was kicked out of NZ First last week by leader Winston Peters, who said "substantive" information provided to him meant he no longer had confidence in his MP.

Peters urged Horan to resign from Parliament but he is vowing to stay as an independent.

The sacking came just over a week after the concerns over money missing from Horan's mother's accounts was revealed.

Sources close to the family say they offered to settle the dispute by allowing Horan to take a $40,000 reduction in his share of his mother's estate.

It is understood Horan agreed to a figure of $25,000, but that was unacceptable to the family.

Horan's share of the estate once Olwen Horan's Mt Maunganui home was sold was $91,000. He has not received any of the money because the executor was directed in Horan's will to retrieve money loaned to him or "taken by misadventure".

A non-family source who has seen Olwen Horan's bank statements said there was heavy use of eftpos cards at ATMs, supermarkets, restaurants and service stations. "It was like the account of a large family who were big spenders, not a woman in her 80s," the source said.

It is understood forensic investigators are also studying a significant number of cheques with inconsistent signatures.

The paper yesterday saw a spreadsheet of 28 questionable cheques, totalling $180,000, going back to 2000. The largest, in February 2007, was for $50,000, and there were others for $35,000, $10,000, and several for around $5000. Investigators are still looking into who they were made out to.

Meanwhile, constituents were starting to complain about Horan's gambling habits even before the story broke. One man rang his Mt Maunganui office to say "I didn't vote for him to have him sitting around in the TAB all day".

Phone records show Horan used his parliamentary mobile phone to call a TAB number 12 times in the space of about four hours on Saturday, April 28, and on other occasions. Horan says there is nothing wrong with that, and denies having a gambling problem or taking money from his mother.

He hung up when called yesterday.

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