Zion Graphics (Zion), the company at the centre of a Buzzfeed story encompassing the NSW Liberal Party, Alex Hawke, and third-party signage printer Hills Banners, has settled its defamation proceedings with the online-news company.
The settlement includes an apology which states, “BuzzFeed wishes to make it clear that it did not intend to suggest that Mr Limantono and Zion Graphics operated anything other than a lawful legitimate business."
The stories alleged that Zion Graphics has completed hundreds of thousands of dollars of print work for the NSW Liberal Party, and MP Alex Hawke, while owner Rudy Limantono is the president of the Bella Vista branch, which helps hold the balance of power for Hawke. It also alleged that Limantono had donated $30,000 to the Liberal Party over the past eight years.
A second article on Buzzfeed noted that nine other Liberal party politicians source print work through Zion Graphics, including Federal families and social services minister Paul Fletcher; federal backbencher Julian Leeser; NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet; NSW minister for mental health, women and ageing Tanya Davies; NSW minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres; NSW minister for innovation and better regulation Matt Kean; NSW member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor; and NSW member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott.
Both articles use a discrepancy between prices charged by Zion Graphics and quoted by the printer Buzzfeed claims Zion outsources work to, Hills Banners, showing a mark up of 45 per cent.
When Australian Printer followed up on the story, it found one issue: Hills Banners says it has never done any work for Zion Graphics.
Hills Banners owner Fred Fleury explained, “We have never had them on the books, never dealt with Zion Graphics, not even a customer with a Z. If we did do work for them, I would say, because it would make no difference.
“A lot of the print management companies we do work for are multi-million customers without a single printer. It is totally legitimate.
“Print management is procurement. We started off exactly the same, then bought equipment.
“The positive is that the story lets people know we are cheap.”
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