Sunday, 1 July 2012

Trouble at Balmain Leagues Club - could the same happen at City Tattersalls Club?

That was a very interesting story on the weekend on the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald about the financial problems at Balmain Leagues Club. Naturally we wondered if the same could happen at City Tattersalls Club.

What happened at Balmain Leagues Club

Let's summarise what happened at Balmain Leagues Club and use it as a blueprint, or template, for what could happen at City Tatts:
  1. A club gets into financial difficulties and owes a lot of money.
  2. Someone close to the club comes up with a plan to "save" the club. This plan is presented to members as the only option to save the club.
  3. The "saviour", whose only concern is to save the club, just happens to make millions from the "rescue" - always from redeveloping the club's property..(Property is the key.)
Could it happen at City Tattersalls Club?

With this blueprint in mind, let's look at the present state of City Tatts:
  1. City Tatts has been badly run for years and now owes a lot of money (about $20 million to National Australia Bank alone). It was particularly interesting to read that Balmain Leagues Club was "bleeding ... through previous risky property acquisitions and declining patronage of it's poker machines". Sound familiar?
  2. We have every confidence that many of the people presently doing so well from City Tatts would be delighted to come up with a plan to "save" the Club. Here we are thinking of top management, builders, consultants and one or two on the Committee. (You only have to think back to John Kennedy's role in the Bookmakers Fund, where he generously agreed to roll all of the City Tattersalls Club Staff Super fund into the BSF, which just happened to increase his own income.)
  3. City Tatts owns a prime CBD property and we know that the Committee have dreamed about redeveloping the City Tatts site for a long time. John Healy used to talk about putting a hotel on the site. We would expect that any property developer who made millions on the redevelopment would be very grateful to any insider who could deliver the property to them.
Realistically, isn't this where City Tattersalls Club is heading?

When you look at how City Tatts has gone since Tony Guilfoyle became CEO, you have to worry that the Club is heading the way of Balmain Leagues Club. Even back in 2006, many members speculated that his real agenda must be to run the Club into the ground. They came to this conclusion by simply observing his actions as CEO. He inherited a thriving club with a fantastic location, great facilities, and loyal members and with every major decision or project he has taken the Club closer to collapse. Even a complete idiot would have got a few right by pure chance.

Save City Tatts Committee

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