No early Christmas for Tony Mestrov
The Supreme Court has granted an accelerated timetable to hear the dispute between GRNSW and Dapto Agricultural & Horticultural Society (Dapto A&H) with a hearing date set for early February, soon after the courts re-open after the Christmas break.
Commenting, Dapto A&H CEO, Katrina Novak, said:
“Santa won’t be coming early for Tony Mestrov who will now be forced to account for his actions early in the new year after his aggressive strategy to take over Dapto A&H by appointing an Administrator.
“The court has already found that GRNSW’s chosen Administrator (and GRNSW Senior Executive) Grant Carroll is not independent and has reaffirmed its earlier finding that no evidence has been presented justifying his claims about Dapto A&H’s performance or governance.
“GRNSW is digging its financial black hole even deeper through an expensive court process which benefits no-one and wastes public funds. After Dapto A&H negotiated in good faith for 12 months, GRNSW has shown the colour of its stripes by pursuing an aggressive campaign of public intimidation and now litigation.
“We didn’t start this outrageous attack or pick this fight – but now they have we are prepared to finish it. We are looking forward to bringing this on and we take great confidence from our success in obtaining orders which place stringent requirements on the conduct of the Administrator,” she said.
In his Judgment earlier in November Robb J made important observations, including:
· There is a real question, upon which I make no finding at this interlocutory stage of the proceedings, about whether Greyhound Racing has exercised its power to appoint an administrator in order to gain an inappropriate advantage in its commercial negotiations with the board of the Society.
· GRNSW has appointed Mr Carroll as administrator to conduct a review of finances however he is not qualified as an auditor.
Further commenting, Ms Novak said:
“Two days ago, Administrator Grant Carroll, had his wings firmly clipped by the Supreme Court which has placed water-tight restrictions on the provision of information to his superiors at GRNSW. We call upon Mr Carroll to confirm in writing that he has not already breached these obligations by funneling our confidential information back up to Greyhound HQ,” she said.
Other important conclusions in the 2 December Court ruling:
Paragraph 11 It is a signal factor of this case that neither the Court nor the Society, its directors and the CEO, knows in precise terms what the purpose of the administrator was, and what is intended to be achieved
Paragraph 13 …there has been no real suggestion that there are any irregularities or breaches of duty in respect of the manner in which the directors and the CEO have conducted the affairs of the Society
Paragraph 14 It is as obvious as it could be that the primary purpose of Greyhound Racing in appointing Mr Carroll as administrator of the Society was to reverse the decision of the directors to cease the conduct of greyhound racing.
In a judgment released in November, Justice Robb made a series of highly important conclusions, including:
GRNSW has appointed Mr Carroll as administrator to conduct a review of finances however he is not qualified as an auditor
It is at least doubtful that the Act isbehavio Greyhound Racing to require greyhound racing clubs to conduct greyhound racing meetings involuntarily, particularly if that is to be on an indefinite basis
There is a real question about whether the Act isbehavio Greyhound Racing to appoint Mr Carroll as administrator of the Society for the apparent purposes that actuated Greyhound Racing
There is a real question, upon which I make no finding at this interlocutory stage of the proceedings, about whether Greyhound Racing has exercised its power to appoint an administrator in order to gain an inappropriate advantage in its commercial negotiations with the board of the Society.
Neither Greyhound Racing nor Mr Carroll has, in any precise way, explained to the Court the nature of the conduct by the board and the CEO of the affairs of the Society that justified the appointment of an administrator, or what Mr Carroll as administrator actually intends to do, or for how long he intends to do it.
No conduct on the part of the defendants was identified by either the first or second plaintiff that would cause the Court to consider, at the interlocutory level, that the defendants may have engaged in any isbehavior, or that there was any good reason for compulsory intervention in the affairs of the Society by Greyhound Racing