Question mark over $15m government racing funding

2494 Turf Club OK

 

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The NT Racing Commission says it has not requested a guarantee from Thoroughbred Racing NT (TRNT), nor the principals of the Alice Springs Turf Club, for money stolen by its former CEO despite a $15m funding agreement they had with the NT Government in 2016/17.

 

Neither NTRC not the Turf Club will say how they will account for about $30,000 stolen by the club’s former CEO Graham Smith sentenced in the Alice Springs Local Court last week.

 

We asked TRNT and the Turf Club on October 31: “Now that the Graham Smith case is no longer [before the court] can you please give me a statement how the money stolen will be accounted for in the reconciliation of government funds received by Thoroughbred Racing NT Inc and the Alice Springs Turf Club.”

 

Neither organisation has replied to date.

 

The Racing Commission says it “has not requested a guarantee from principals of the Alice Springs Turf Club. The issues surrounding recovery of funds on this matter are for the Alice Springs Turf Club.

 

“The funding agreement is with Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory which is an independent body and therefore no monies are paid directly to the Alice Springs Turf Club.

 

“Funds are distributed by Thoroughbred Racing NT, to its members. Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory should be contacted for questions relating to how their funds are distributed.

 

“For the 2016-17 financial year, Thoroughbred Racing Northern Territory had a funding agreement with the NT Government for $15.4m.”

 

Smith pleaded guilty to all three charges laid against him. Judge Greg Borchers said in his sentencing remarks on October 25 that Smith’s offending had not been opportunistic but a “deliberate, calculated course of action”.

 

It began almost immediately after he took up his position at the Turf Club.

 

Judge Borchers said it remains “unanswered” why someone on a wage package in the vicinity of $200,000 a year stole money to fund gambling.

 

Smith continued to access a contra account worth $4000 at Lasseters, a benefit obtained by deception,  after he had been found out at the Turf Club, which demonstrated “a lack of remorse”.

 

Smith also stole $28,235.98 from the Turf Club and falsified documents in the club’s electronic accounting system.

 

He received an aggregate sentence of 14 months’ imprisonment. He is to be released after five months, with an operational period of 18 months from release, which means a return to prison for the full term if he offends again.

 

He was ordered to pay restitution of $27,100 to the Turf Club, with one year to pay from the date of his release.

 

He is 47 years old now, 46 at time of the offences.

 

He has no prior record, and previously had a successful career in retail, owning franchises for a major furniture outlet in Victoria, WA, and in Alice Springs before he became CEO of the Turf Club.

 

 

 

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2 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Jonathan Pilbrow
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Great Question, 15MILLION. Why does the Government provide this level of funding to Thoroughbread Racing Northern Territory?
    Imagine what this money could be used for instead – investment in housing; schools; health services; early childhood services.
    What kind of society do we really want?

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  2. 15MILLION
    Posted November 9, 2017 at 11:06 am

    15 MILLION DOLLARS. This is not an industry. This is not a tourism investment.15 MILLION TAX PAYER DOLLARS WASTED. WHY?

    View Comment

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