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of the Desert Sports Foundation, Murray Stewart (pictured), says Framptons Real Estate principal Andrew Doyle had withdrawn two teams from his company from a children’s charity event.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