Mareeba RSL heads in crisis talks
BIGWIGS from Brisbane and Cairns attended a crisis meeting over the future of the heavily indebted Mareeba RSL sub-branch at the club yesterday.
RSL Queensland branch chief Chris McHugh sent his chief operating officer, Goran Avramovic, and the Far North District RSL president, Alan Pickering, for the talks.
Mr McHugh said before the meeting that Mareeba RSL sub-branch president, Les Trevillion, ought to “take a close look at himself” as to whether he had the skills to turn the business around.
But after the closed-door session, Mr Trevillion said that he was staying on as president.
Mr Avramovic said the Mareeba sub-branch and the club, which is a tenant of the sub-branch, would be working together to improve the business to make it a viable and sustainable organisation.
Earlier, Mr McHugh said that five to seven years ago the sub-branch and club had made a terrible business decision in putting up an enormous entertainment area.
“It was a grandiose plan, an enormous extension costing a lot of money,” Mr McHugh said.
To justify the expenditure the entertainment area would have needed 400-500 people in the club three nights a week, he said.
“They ran into financial problems and they approached the state branch for a substantial loan,” Mr McHugh said.
He said Mareeba sub-branch borrowed $1.6 million, of which $1.55 million was still outstanding.
Mr McHugh said that there had been “dysfunctional management” at both the sub-branch and at the club for a couple of years.
“The question that is being asked is are the funds belonging to the state members safe and more importantly does the committee led by Les Trevillion have the right skills set to turn the business around and make it viable going forward,” Mr McHugh said.
Club president, Eric Bradford, acknowledged that there were some financial problems, but not as bad as some people were suggesting.
“We can still pay our bills and we have money in the bank,” he said.
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