Edelsten 'fears' if he doesn't pay Blues

Disgraced businessman Geoffrey Edelsten says he fears for his life from irate Carlton supporters if he does not complete a payment he owes the football club.

Amid claims in his US court case that he has been repeatedly caught out misrepresenting his financial position and concealing assets from creditors, it has emerged Edelsten, a long-time Blues benefactor, owes the club $150,000 as part of a $1 million donation.

That $150,000 was due last year but he has been unable to pay because of his bankruptcy court case. He filed for bankruptcy in the US in early January and has had some accounts frozen.

As part of his bankruptcy examination, Edelsten was asked whether he was obligated to pay the Blues.

"I’m absolutely obligated to pay. I made a donation in 2011 and it’s a tax-deductible donation of $1 million to be paid over three years. $150,000 was due before the end of 2013 and I haven’t been able to pay that," Edelsten said.

"I’m absolutely obligated. They have an elite training facility that cost them tens of millions of dollars and they named it after me. It would be unliveable not to make that commitment."

Asked then whether "theoretically you could reject that contract", Edelsten said: "Not if I want to live. Because the media published that I hadn’t made that last $150,000. You should have seen the blogs – that I should be killed for not paying the club the money."

Fairfax Media was unable to find reports or blogs that Edelsten owed the Blues money.

The flamboyant Carlton fanatic has his name with honorific on facilities at the club's Visy Park training facility. There is the Dr Geoffrey Edelsten aquatic centre and the Edelsten cafe.

It's understood the Blues are comfortable to wait for the money to be paid until Edelsten's case is resolved. It's believed there is no danger of Edelsten having his name stripped from Visy Park should he not meet this obligation in the near future.

As revealed by Fairfax Media, Edelsten – despite his bankruptcy – has allegedly found the money to make a secret payment to a former lover to buy her silence after she threatened to expose his alleged "sexual peccadillos".

A US judge last month ordered the appointment of an independent trustee to oversee management of Mr Edelsten’s estate, dashing his claims that declaring bankruptcy was just a tactic and his "affairs are under control".

Edelsten has been a long-time Carlton supporter, even before he bought the Sydney Swans in 1985 for $2.9 million and became the league's first private owner.

While Edelsten was the front man, his bid featured the likes of Larry Adler, then the chief executive of FAI insurance, Ron Merkel, QC, solicitor Brian Ward and Bob Pritchard, who would lead an America's Cup challenge.

However, by July 1986, having poached coach Tom Hafey and star players such as Gerard Healy, Greg Williams and Merv Neagle and used dynamic full-forward Warwick Capper as a primary marketing tool, Edelsten would be gone.

In his new autobiography, The Phoenix Rises, former VFL-AFL chief executive and chairman Ross Oakley says: "Edelsten's reputation was substantially damaged after he filed for bankruptcy in 1987, when he was deregistered as a medical practitioner in 1988 for overservicing, and when he was sentenced to a year in jail in 1990 for hiring a hitman to assault a former patient and perverting the course of justice".

In the book former AFL lawyer Jeff Browne, who would go on to run Channel Nine, said the league was right to award Edelsten the Swans' licence ahead of that of fellow businessman Basil Sellers.

"Sydney would not have been as successful as it was in those years without the flamboyance of Edelsten. If Sellers' team had got the nod the first time around Sydney would not have achieved the high levels of media exposure and may not have gained the ground it did," Browne said.

"To think they would have been more stable and successful under the alternative team is 'Melbourne thinking'. Sydney needed more sizzle. It needed pizzazz. It needed a flamboyant owner."

The story Edelsten 'fears' if he doesn't pay Blues first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop