Sporting identity lashes out at real estate figure over boycott of children’s charity.

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The chair and founder of the Desert Sports Foundation, Murray Stewart (pictured), says Framptons Real Estate principal Andrew Doyle had withdrawn two teams from his company from a children’s charity event.

Mr Stewart says he had a call from one of Mr Doyle’s staff this morning saying Mr Doyle did not wish to “give money to Murray’s charity”.
The exchange followed the publication yesterday of a comment by Mr Stewart and his wife, Brigida, on a story in the current Alice Springs News Online edition.

Mr and Mrs Stewart expressed support for the News following this week’s Supreme Court decision in a defamation case brought by the other Framptons principal, David Forrest.
Mr Stewart says Mr Doyle phoned him yesterday, expressing his annoyance over the Stewarts’ comment.
Mr Stewart says after the cancellation today of the Frampton teams’ participation he left a message for Mr Doyle about the matter but did not receive a response.
When asked by the Alice Springs News for a comment Mr Doyle emailed today: “It’s not true, publish at your own peril.”
We put this to Mr Stewart and he has subsequently spoken to Mr Doyle.
Of that phone call Mr Stewart says: “He said, with great clarity, ‘following the phone call I had with you yesterday, I’m not prepared to spend David Forrest’s money on that’.”
The Alice News also put to Mr Doyle the following questions: Did any of your staff members cancel the nomination of the two teams? If so, who? Are these teams now participating? If so, why the change of mind?
Mr Doyle provided the following comment: “Congratulation Erwin you continue to prove what a fantastic journalist you are. You have again found a reason to have a shot at Framptons.

“This is major breaking news Framptons Boss withdraws one social bowls team.

“After 50 years in the industry this must be one of your biggest stories. Glad I could assist.”
Mr Stewart has confirmed that the teams will not be participating in the charity event.

The defamation case against the News arose from one article that was part of news coverage over more than a year about the Framptons New Homes scheme and collapsed building company, Carey Builders.

Mr Stewart, formerly a client of the now defunct Framptons New Homes scheme, says:  “I personally am in disbelief  that Mr Doyle would seem to have seen fit to hurt his staff, who I know were looking forward to participating in this event.

“Surely he is not seeking to involve our great foundation in a matter which the foundation has never sought and will never seek to be involved with?

“This community never ceases to amaze me. The quality of our people is what in my view makes this town iconic.

“Despite our differences, our many challenges, and our varying positions on how meet those challenges, we’ve always rallied around one another to support a good cause.

“This is why today I am very appalled by having been told that Andrew Doyle has pulled his two teams out of the Mista Shaun Challenge Cup which is a Desert Sports Foundation event.

“This cause is to support families in meeting the costs associated with sending children away to compete in sporting events, which we believe aids in creating strong and mature young men and women.

“The event is also in honour of Mista Shaun who contributed so much to our community.

“In my time in this town this is the first occasion where a corporate identity has apparently sought to wreak vengeance on a local charity in this fashion.

“I hope and I trust I will never ever come across such apparent behavior again.

“We must all rise above these matters when a good cause such as this is paramount in welding our community together.

“I have never perceived the foundation as ‘my’ foundation.

“It belongs to the community of Alice Springs.”

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4 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Brigida Stewart
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    A threat by Andrew Doyle of Framptons is good advice Ralph Folds? Bullying is what it is and it attacks freedom of speech. My husband Murray values integrity (consistency of moral actions, adherence to moral character). If one gets embarrassed and shamed by the sudden airing of comments / actions made in private, then this is a lack of integrity and can only be corrected through exposure. Thank you Erwin for taking up the fight as you do without compromise.
    Graeme Sumner, you grimace at Murray’s right to comment, yet you can accept Andrew Doyle of Framptons childish actions affecting a children’s charity – actions being the main word here.
    Shame on you boys!!
    We are forgetting the real victims here – the families suffering because of the lack of integrity shown to them and who would have suffered in silence if it wasn’t for the action taken by Murray, Erwin and a few other fantastic people to bring this story to light. Your courageousness impresses me.
    Ralph and Graeme, can’t wait to see you batting for the underdog. Go on, surprise me!

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  2. Erwin Chlanda
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:06 am

    @1 and @2. In reply to Graeme Sumner and Ralph Folds:
    You are accusing me of conducting an “unseemly personal vendetta” (Mr Folds’ words) by allowing Murray Stewart to air his views in the Alice Springs News Online – the same privilege we’re providing to you.
    We did not solicit Mr Stewart’s comments. He provided them to us as have thousands of others in our nearly 20 years of publication. We regard it as our function and our privilege to provide the democratic opportunity of putting views to the public. Your comments suggest I should have denied that to Mr Stewart. No way.
    Who is Murray Stewart? He is one of the town’s most outstanding people. Not daunted by his significant disability of being blind, he is a great family man, provides valuable professional skills to the community, is an ardent and irrepressibly optimistic promoter of the town, a top athlete, community worker and has the trust of at least a significant portion of the population, those who elected him to the Town Council for two terms.
    As we always do, we put his comments for response to the person under attack, in this case Andrew Doyle from Framptons Real Estate.
    In fact we emailed him a complete early story draft.
    We had several responses from Mr Doyle: The first was a denial of Mr Stewart’s allegations, and a blunt threat: “It’s not true, publish at your own peril.” Mr Doyle copied that email to his solicitor.
    We put that reply to Mr Stewart who then spoke again to Mr Doyle, after which Mr Stewart told us Mr Doyle had confirmed the withdrawal of the teams.
    That was the direct opposite of what Mr Dolyle seemed to have been telling us.
    Then in a further message to us Mr Doyle confirmed the withdrawal (in his version it was just one team).
    Mr Doyle runs a major real estate firm. He confirms having withdrawn a company team from a charity event in response to Mr Stewart expressing his views. The story is about free speech, one of the many issues we look forward to give continuing coverage.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor, Alice Springs News Online.

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  3. Ralph Folds
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Well said Graeme, move on from this unseemly personal vendetta Erwin and heed the good advice that Mr Doyle emailed to you today.

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  4. Graeme Sumner
    Posted March 8, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    “We must all rise above these matters when a good cause such as this paramount in welding our community together,” Mr Stewart says.
    Yet the day before Mr Stewart was doing anything but welding the community together, attacking the un-named but obvious identity of the Framptons boss who was successful in the defamation case against the Alice Springs News.
    Why would this real estate agent’s staff realistically want to participate in a charity event organised by Mr Stewart when he appears to harbour great hostility towards the company, and through your letters pages, has publicly endorsed the losing side in a pretty bitter legal dispute.
    As I see it, this story is no more than the first of many attempts by the Alice Springs News to settle a score with Framptons.
    We’ve always had better from you as a journalist Erwin, and we expect better into the future.
    Let’s not allow petulance, one-upmanship and publisher vanity to be the new paradigm on these pages.

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