In 2016, the Club was in a strong position due to the work and sacrifice of members over 130 years. The Committee was handed a Club that had:
- Total capital assets of approximately $28 million,
- A brilliant location in the CBD,
- A profitable enterprise,
- A growing membership base steadily attracting younger people,
- Annual income of approximately $3 million,
- A 24 hour liquor licence,
- Debt of $1.7 million and the confidence of our bankers,
- Strong oversight from a dedicated Finance and Audit sub-committee.
Now, according to Club newsletters, assets have dropped to $17 million, income is negligible and the Finance and Audit sub-committee exists in name only. Members who fought to preserve the Club’s position were subjected to a vicious campaign of vilification, lies and rule breaking. Not only were Committee and Club members attacked but their families too.
In 2019, the Club has:
- Only $17 million left, $16 million of it in a BBB rated bank,
- Two small, rented premises which are inconvenient for most members,
- Ordinary liquor licence,
- No pokies income because of the unsuitable venue,
- Operating loss of approximately $800,000 last financial year,
- A membership base which has halved in the last year, AND
- We have lost the option to move back to Queen St.
Where has the $11 million gone?
At least a million went on legal bills, much of it spent attacking members.
In the face of these facts, all President Brian Shanahan can do is repeat – wrongly – that the Club at Queen St was going bankrupt. The Club had a loan which it was servicing to the full satisfaction of its bank – that is not “going bankrupt”. There has been no clear explanation of what went wrong with the buyback contract. First the lawyers were to blame and now it’s the developers who “screwed up” – but never the Committee. Now Shanahan is making the ludicrous assertion that COVID-19 has saved the Club from spending more money to buy back in. The buy-back price, we were told, was already locked into a revised contract as a result of the Committee’s great negotiating skills.
The 2020 membership renewal notices were sent out late after members prodded the torpid Secretary into life. Dire Straits has now ascertained that many members have not received either postal or email membership renewal notices. This is the last straw in a series of attempts to reduce member numbers. If there are no members left, this will clear the way to get full access to the money.
Renew your membership. Don’t let this hopeless Committee walk off with whatever money remains.
Posted by agreement with Dire Straits.