‘No evidence’: RSL club hits back after special meeting
THE Maryborough RSL has broken its silence on Sunday's controversial special general meeting.
A club spokesperson said the notices of motion to remove sub-branch president George Mellick and his vice president, Robert Anderton were not supported by any evidence and therefore could not be put to a vote.
"It is not sufficient for evidence to be produced from the floor during the meeting," the spokesperson said.
"That would have been prejudicial to members who elected not to attend as well as to the president and vice president who would not have had the opportunity to defend themselves, as entitled to do under the constitution."
A group of disgruntled sub-branch members want Mr Mellick and Mr Anderton removed from office.
They are upset over several issues, including the hiring of Craig Lenihan as general manager of the RSL.
Mr Lenihan was placed on three months stress leave in November.
He has been charged with faking his military credentials and the improper use of service decorations.
The matter returns to court on February 18.
Some 28 sub-branch members called for the special meeting, with the intention of removing Mr Mellick and Mr Anderton from their roles and installing caretakers to manage the sub-branch until the AGM on February 23.
Angry sub-branch members who spoke to reporters after Sunday's closed session said they had never seen so many people at a sub-branch meeting.
An estimated 100 people attended.
The RSL confirmed 83 service members and 15 club members registered their attendance at the meeting.
The spokesperson said a group of 28 people, representing 7 per cent of the sub-branch's total membership, had called for the special meeting.
The RSL also said the notices of motion did not reflect the names of nominees to take over from Mr Mellick and Mr Anderton should they have been removed, meaning the positions would have remained vacant until the AGM.
Police were called to Lennox St by sub-branch members, who believed guests and the media should have been given access to the meeting room.
The club said its decision to shut the doors was above board, as general meetings "are not open to the public".
Meanwhile, the RSL said the state branch board had expressed concern at "historic and current management issues, including the financial position of the sub-branch".
An independent, external investigator will probe the allegations.
"This investigation is ongoing and it would be premature to take any action before all facts are known," the spokesperson said.
While some veterans welcomed the investigation, others believed the issues needed to be solved by the members.