Tinkler vows to stick by Knights
When the going was good: Coach Wayne Bennett and Nathan Tinkler before the season began. Photo: Darren Pateman
HUNTER Sports Group chief executive Troy Palmer will meet Knights Members Club directors on Monday night to tell them Nathan Tinkler will not walk out on Newcastle's NRL team.
Palmer, who is Tinkler's right-hand man, said on Sunday that the embattled tycoon had invested too much money and time into the Knights and Jets, Newcastle's A-League soccer club, to consider handing back the NRL licence to the members' club.
Palmer said Tinkler was in much better financial shape than had been reported in recent months; that a $3.19 million tax bill would be paid to the Australian Taxation Office in the next ''seven to 10 days''; all of HSG's creditors would be paid; and that an audit report into the Knights' 2012 financial operations would reveal the group had met all requirements.
''We're not going anywhere,'' Palmer said. ''We haven't done all this work and made this investment in Newcastle and brought a lot of good people to this town to walk away. We're 100 per cent committed to this.
''Yes, there's things we can do better, and things we should apologise for if we've impacted on people, but we have not let Newcastle down. We have never once let Newcastle down, and no one has ever benefited Newcastle more than Nathan has, and I think people forget that.''
Palmer's comments came as former Knights chairman Rob Tew, who brokered the deed of sale signed on August 5 last year, warned that the members' club would be inviting risk by changing key dates in that privatisation agreement.
Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and members' club chairman Nick Dan agreed in principle last Wednesday to change the audit date from December 15 to January 21, and extend the $20 million bank guarantee that underpins the agreement from December 31 to January 31.
Legal representatives from HSG and the members' club have since swapped several drafts of that amended document, and Dan said it would be discussed by directors on Monday night.
''I believe the current directors of the Knights members' board need to consider their decisions, and the consequential impacts of their actions, very carefully,'' Tew said on Sunday.
Dan, who had work commitments in Sydney last week, said it was the first chance the board had to meet since Fairfax Media reported last Thursday that the Tax Office had moved in the Federal Court to liquidate eight companies linked to Tinkler, including the Knights, Jets and HSG.
''This is a chance for us to catch up and particularly look at the developments that happened last Thursday, which was out of the blue to us,'' Dan said.
Two of Tinkler's private companies, Patinack Farm Administration and Mulsanne Resources, have been placed in liquidation, and his jet and helicopter have been repossessed. Tinkler, who is based in Singapore, will not attend the meeting.