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Member ‘blacklisted’ over bowling club queries

BLACKBALLED: Terry Lawler has been rejected as a member of the Burwood Colliery Bowling Club. Picture: Jonathan CarrollYOU would have thought they could use the tenner.
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A month after the Burwood Colliery Bowling Club in Whitebridge managed to lift itself out of administration only by signing a deed of company arrangement, the beleaguered club has again found itself mired in controversy for blacklisting a member, or potential member, for asking tough questions at its annual meeting.

Terry Lawler, the chairman of Lawler Chartered Accountants, the Hunter Water Corporation, and rather a few other things, was bemused earlier this month to receive a cheque for $10 in the mail saying thanks but no thanks to his patronage.

The founder of the 12th largest global accounting network is scratching his head at the rejection, and reckons it must be a response to difficult questions put to the club’s board over its financial statements at its October meeting.

Mr Lawler says he confronted the board because it is acting on the basis it will be able to continue operating and pay off its creditors in the coming months because of non-specific plans by a “developer from Maitland” to buy the site with apparent support from the Department of Crown Lands.

“[But] no evidence of the proposed arrangements with a ‘developer from Maitland’ were tabled. No evidence of the claimed support from [the department] to be part of a property development was tabled [and] no one for the auditors or the administrators attended the meeting,” he said.

After the meeting, the board asked Mr Lawler to attend one of its meetings, but he was unable to attend when the meeting time was changed.

He accuses the board of looking out for itself.

“I think they’re just trying to protect their jobs,” he said.

“From a personal point of view, they can do what they like, but I’m so offended as a member of the community; the club is an important community asset and [they] are just running it into the ground with their own egos.”

Secretary manager Peter Haffner was not keen to comment on that, or much else when contacted by the Newcastle Herald.

Asked why the cash-strapped club had not accepted Mr Lawler’s membership fee, he declined to explain.

“We don’t have to give a reason,” he told the Herald.

About 2004, the club was the subject of plans for development that never eventuated, but Mr Haffner would not say whether those were the ones referred to at the meeting.

“Any member of the club is privy to that information; he [Mr Lawler] is not a member, you’re not a member, so I’m not going to tell you,” he said.

In August, Worrells Solvency and Accountants was appointed administrators to the club, which overlooks Dudley Beach. The club regained control after signing a deed of company deal that requires full payment of creditors.

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