TITANS' BOSS DENIES FINANCIAL WOES

Written on the 10 June 2010

TITANS' BOSS DENIES FINANCIAL WOES

GOLD Coast Titans CEO Michael Searle (pictured) says the club is still in a strong financial position moving forward.

The club recently approached the NRL for an advanced grant of $300,000, dismissed by Searle as a strategy to guarantee surety.

"I know there is only one party here who is cash strapped at the moment and it's not the Titans," he says.

"We approached the NRL to assist us on a short term basis. It's not uncommon, a lot of clubs do it. It was just basically to get some surety in moving forward and some comfort."

 The Brisbane Supreme Court has ruled that the club did not have to pay Simcorp Development founder Alex Simpson more than $3 million.

The NRL's newest franchise has been locked in a payment dispute with Simcorp Developments and Constructions since the builder Alex Simpson filed legal action in February demanding payment of $4.2 million for work completed on the Titans' new Centre of Excellence facility at Robina.

Following the reverse decision, a frustrated Simpson told media he would continue to fight the case. Simpson will lodge his claim under the Building and Construction Industry Payments Act 2004.

Searle meanwhile says the Titans will handle the matter as it has done so far.

"The Supreme Court is one place where the truth has to be told and we're very happy that the matter was resolved," he says.

"We've also said that Alex Simpson and Simcorp owe us a substantial amount of money and we will be vigorously pursuing that. So from our point of view the court decision today vindicates the club and allows us to get on with business."

Searle says there was "no winners" from the decision, and is adamant the controversy hasn't affected the Titans brand or relationship with its sponsors. It recently lost a key sponsor with Marina Quays when developer John Fish had loans called in by the banks.

"I must say our sponsorship group have been outstanding. We've been communicating with them as we always do in earnest," he says.

"Our fans have been continued to be supportive because they know the way we do business, it's not about cheap and nasty, we just do things thoroughly.

"It's cost us some time, there is obviously some financial cost but you can't put a price on making sure you're integrity is defended. This was the first opportunity for the truth to be told in the Supreme Court and the decision has come out in our favour."

Despite it's off field battles Searle confirmed the club's move into the Centre of Excellence was imminent.

"Clearly the Centre of Excellence is a state of the art project and we're excited about the prospect of being in there sooner rather than later," he says.

"We have accelerated that to a certain extent; (the outcome) today makes it just a little bit faster."

On the paddock the Titans appear solid and are sitting equal second on the NRL ladder with Penrith behind St George.


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