Is an honest CEO even possible at City Tatts?

Regarding the problem of allowing the CEO to do an honest job, some have suggested a possible “solution”:

  • The Committee can tell Marcelo Veloz that all the rorts from the past are over
  • Marcelo Veloz can accept this “in good faith”

Maybe, but how long could this charade go on?

Just take the failed property development as an example. Let’s say Marcelo Veloz has a go at getting Guilfoyle’s development moving again. The first thing he will discover is that the entire scheme started with Patrick Campion placing an illegal mortgage on the club’s property. Is Marcelo Veloz really going to report this to Gaming & Racing, or Sydney City Council or the Law Society?

And what happens when he starts to look at restaurants and bars? He’s bound to realise there is something terribly wrong about a club food & beverage operation losing over $1 million a year. Guilfoyle was hopelessly incompetent, but these kind of losses go way beyond incompetence. Losses like these mean, basically, money is going missing or food is going missing. So will Veloz take action against those responsible for these horrendous losses?

And what about bluffers like Mark Lonngren? How long will Marcelo Veloz continue to pay Lonngren $100,000 a year for doing nothing? You could sack Lonngren today and every bit of maintenance in the club would get done just the same as it is now. In other words, he’s a carbon copy of his benefactor, Guilfoyle.

It’s very easy to give advice to staff about wiping down tables after a customer leaves, but the real test will be how the new CEO tackles the waste and corruption that cost the club millions under Guilfoyle.

City Tatts Information Desk


Guilfoyle’s Record – Expense Looting (7)

It’s hard to put an exact figure on how much members money Guilfoyle gifted to favoured employees through excessive salaries.

One of the worst black holes was his own salary. Even if you allowed Guilfoyle the normal salary for a club of that size, he actually got $3 million on top of that. Although really his entire salary of $6 million was a total loss as far as the club is concerned.

Then there were the special Guilfoyle recruits on incredible salaries who were total failures. The most well known are Michelle Abbey who received $1,000,000, and Trevelyan Bale who received $1,500,000. There were probably others.

Also we have to remember those key employees who were paid up to double the going rate for turning a blind eye to Guilfoyle’s destruction. These would be people like Jan Ellks, a secretary who received $700,000 in excess of her proper salary, and Mark Cooper who received at least $600,000 on top of his correct salary.

Then there were the inhabitants of a twilight zone of “semi-employees”. These were people who got so much in “fees” from City Tatts they were better paid than most full time employees. Examples would be Mark Lonngren, who was paid more than $1,000,000 by Guilfoyle, and Peter Georgeson who got $1,300,000.

So depending on how you want to count it, during Guilfoyle’s time as CEO about $10 million of members money was gifted to “employees” with nothing to show for it.

City Tatts Information Desk

Guilfoyle’s Record – Expense Looting (6)

Tony Guilfoyle hired a chef named Trevelyan Bale on a salary of $250,000 a year.

If you wanted just one fact to show how insane City Tatts had become, that would do. Hiring a chef on $250,000 was pure madness, but by then squandering members money was in full swing. His salary later dropped to $200,000. Meanwhile, the majority of staff were on award wages.

Bale was there from 2004 to 2011 which means he pocketed about $1,500,000 from City Tatts.

He was a total failure. Restaurants were probably the worst performing part of City Tatts while he was there. The losses he racked up were staggering – at least $4 million by the time he left. Obviously his own salary didn’t help, but aside from that there must have been massive incompetence.

The sad part is restaurants used to be a success at City Tatts. In fact they were run much better in the past by people paid half of what Bale got.. And that was when each restaurant had it’s own kitchen. By the time Bale arrived the club had a new centralised kitchen which was supposed to provide big savings. So either Bale is even more incompetent than he appears, or this was another grandiose building project that failed.

City Tatts Information Desk

Guilfoyle’s Record – Expense Looting (5)

Guilfoyle wasted money left, right and centre.

One of his first moves after becoming CEO was to bring in new “special” employees at very high salaries. Partly this was just ego, his way of suggesting he had “new ideas” or “new vision”. All nonsense of course.

But there was more to it than that. Guilfoyle knew that existing senior staff were a real problem for him. First, they had no special loyalty to him because they already had their jobs, on merit, before he became CEO. Secondly, and far more important, they knew he was a buffoon who had bluffed his way past a weak committee to get the top job, and would be a disaster for the club. This prediction sadly turned out to be exactly right.

By bringing in his own people at inflated salaries, Guilfoyle bought their loyalty to him, using members money. And it is just possible that some of these did not realise, at first, just how incompetent he was.

So it’s important to understand that bringing in these new staff at inflated salaries was not for the club’s benefit, it was for Guilfoyle’s benefit.

A good example of these Guilfoyle recruits was Michelle Abbey.

Michelle Abbey was known as the Million Dollar Baby. She was hired as “Marketing Director” on an insane salary of $250,000 and was a total failure. She was there for four years and collected a cool $1,000,000 in that time. She would not have brought in enough revenue to cover her salary, never mind do anything for members.

She was the poster child for everything that was wrong with City Tatts under Guilfoyle. Just the idea of hiring a marketing director on $250,000 is ridiculous. The club’s location, facilities and tradition provided all the promotion necessary. City Tatts was a thriving club long before they had any marketing director, and with the ever increasing population in the city centre “promotion” could only be easier.

There is something else that highlights the insanity of paying someone $250,000 a year to promote the club. At the same time Guilfoyle hired her, he started to take away the very facilities that attracted people to the club. He got rid of the smorgasbord, and replaced it with something no one wanted, Zest. He started cutting back on entertainment and eventually stopped it all together. He also embarked on idiotic penny-pinching that could only have driven people from the club. Examples would be cutting back on free soft drinks in Silks, or raising locker fees in the Gym. And, of course, he spent millions on failed building projects around the club that would not have attracted one new member.

City Tatts Information Desk

Memo to Mrs Cindy Guilfoyle

Dear Ex-Mrs Guilfoyle

It would be remiss of us not to let you know the following.

You’re ex-husband is slowly destroying your divorce settlement/payout on the tables and pokies at Star City Casino.

During these rather wanton and indiscriminate gambling binges he often has the pleasure of the girlfriend, Ms Kirsty Assad, by his side helping to spend your future payout, earned by the decades of hard labour you put in with him.

He has been observed in the high rollers room at the Star plunging your money through the slots and assisting Kirsty to play the machines of her choosing.

We think it is only fair that you should know all this.

City Tatts Information Desk

Could Marcelo Veloz be an honest CEO?

City Tatts has a new CEO.

His name is Marcelo Veloz and he’s been in the Club on a regular basis since December.

The real question is whether he is there to do an honest job.

City Tatts has been a laughing stock within the club industry for years. So any honest CEO coming from another club would only take on the job if he knew he was free to root out any waste, rorts or corruption he found.

Without that assurance no honest person would take on the City Tatts job.

But could Pat Campion, Mark Cooper and the Committee allow that?

Will the new CEO be permitted to slash payments to Guilfoyle favourites like Peter Georgeson or Mark Lonngren? Will he be allowed to cut Jan Ellks’ salary in half?

And what about all the shifty business in the past? Even without digging for it, any new CEO is bound to come across a lot of it just from doing his job. Is he really going to expose everything he finds?

We are not talking about some embarrassment here, or a bit of adverse publicity. We are talking about people going to jail. Obviously Guilfoyle is the most likely, but if he goes down he could bring them all down.

This looks like a classic Catch 22 situation:

  • City Tatts needs an honest CEO who will clean up all the rorts.
  • But the Committee could not risk anyone who wanted to clean up the rorts and therefore could never hire an honest CEO

City Tatts Information Desk

9 Months without a CEO!

Today marks 9 months since Tony Guilfoyle was marched off the premises, along with Kirsty Assad.

Yes, 9 months without a CEO!

And the club runs exactly the same without him.

This is the final proof of what insiders said for years – Guilfoyle spent very little time running the club. (But still collected $600,000 a year.)

It was common knowledge within the club that he was only there 3 days a week on average. But, more to the point, most of those 3 days were devoted to:

  • defending himself against members
  • planning disastrous building projects
  • dreaming up excuses to explain his repeated failures
  • meeting his girlfriend
  • plotting to push the club into a property development

So really there wasn’t much time left for running the club, about one day a week.

And we now have the absolute proof of this. Because Mark Cooper, who’s never run a club in his life, can act as City Tatts CEO for 9 months – while he continues as financial controller!

City Tatts Information Desk