Paul Montgomery Bail Release
Paul Montgomery Bail Release

Revealed: Man accused of siphoning $10m from former employer

NERVES ON EDGE

You can rest assured that there are a few nervous senior figures down at the Wynnum Manly Leagues Club right now.

Why is that? Well, City Beat has learned that the financial controller at the Brisbane sporting institution is none other than a bloke named Paul John Montgomery.

It turns out that Montgomery was charged this week with what police allege could be one of Queensland's biggest cases of fraud.

They claim that the 55-year-old Thornlands gent siphoned off a staggering $10.2m from his former employer, Loganholme-based civil engineering outfit RDS, over a 10-year period to 2017.

Police maintain the ex-company general manager used the money to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included holidays, gambling, property acquisitions and beauty treatments.

 

Paul John Montgomery
Paul John Montgomery

 

It's understood that Montgomery started work at RDS in 2004 and had been friends with the Gurney family, which has run the privately-owned firm for more than 50 years.

A search of property records shows that Montgomery and his missus, Kylie, shelled out $1.15m for an architect-designed waterfront spread at Redland Bay in 2014.

The couple lost money when they offloaded the six-bedroom dwelling for $1.11m in 2018.

We have also learned that Montgomery remains a shareholder in two companies controlled by the Gurney family, which took steps last month to voluntarily deregister one of these entities.

Montgomery, who faces one count of fraud, was granted bail in the case and his matter returns to court on September 7. He has not yet entered a plea and his legal counsel declined to comment on Friday.

SHOCKED REACTION

We wanted to have a bit of a chinwag with club CEO Craig Thomas but he did not return calls seeking comment.

Montgomery started work there in June last year and allegations he masterminded the enormous fraud have shocked both members and staff.

 

Wynnum Manly Leagues Club CEO Craig Thomas.
Wynnum Manly Leagues Club CEO Craig Thomas.

 

The case against Thomas's top financial gun come at a difficult moment for the club, which had to lay off all 140 staff earlier this because of the pandemic but has since reopened.

It's also in the midst of its biggest redevelopment in 40 years, a sweeping $10m upgrade that started last October and which will result in enhanced playing fields, as well as greatly expanded café, bar and gaming spaces.

That ambitious project follows the resignation of four directors last year and an unsuccessful attempt by disillusioned members to oust much of the rest of the board.

Among the key concerns of critics was whether the club, already shackled with $1.5m in debt, had the ability to repay loans taken out for the $10m expansion project, especially if the economy headed south.

Established in 1981, it has about 26,000 members and was named in May as the state's best footy club at the 21st Keno and Clubs Queensland Awards.

The most recent annual report available shows the club ended up with a $1.47m net surplus in the 2018 financial year based on $20.6m in revenue.

DON'T MENTION THE WAR

Another fixture on the Brisbane events calendar has been scrubbed for obvious reasons.

Entrepreneur Boris Zoulek announced this week that his 13th annual Oktoberfest won't proceed later in the year but will hopefully return in 2021.

 

Boris Zoulek
Boris Zoulek

 

Zoulek usually gets more than 40,000 patrons over two consecutive weekends to converge on the RNA Showground in what has grown into Australia's biggest festival of all things German.

In addition to plenty of beer from Bavaria, partygoers usually wolf down more than 20,000 sausages, 12,000 pretzels and 4000 pork knuckles.

"It goes without saying that we're bursting at our Lederhosen seams to welcome you back in October 2021,'' he said.

Originally published as Revealed: Man accused of siphoning $10m from former employer


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