General manager of the Sharks, is “Strenuously denying any wrongdoing”, but gee it does not look good. her last CEO job at Club Marconi is conducting a probe into her doings…Falsifying minutes from meetings , double dipping, money into personal bank accounts, her sons fiancé winning a boat at the club, memos that he not even be informed as the winner???? Spending up big of the credit card, the claims go on and on sounds like pig with its snout deep into the trough stuff to me. Wedding Boutiques, lavish meals, clothes on the gold coast. I want a job in this joint if it is all above board. Just another example of greed. I would bet she was already paid good money too, I will follow this all the way Deborah Feening…
CRONULLA Sharks Leagues Club boss Deborah Feening is at the centre of an alleged $320,000 fraud claim made by her previous employer Club Marconi.
The allegations raise new concerns for the NRL club, which has never won a premiership and in the past two years has been beset by unrelated management and financial issues.
Ms Feening, who yesterday “strenuously” denied any wrongdoing, became general manager of the Cronulla Leagues Club in May this year, after resigning as Club Marconi CEO weeks earlier.
A July letter of complaint to Fairfield police from the Marconi club claimed initial investigations had indicated a “loss to the club in the vicinity of $320,000”.
A number of other documents from Ms Feening’s Club Marconi tenure have been obtained by The Daily Telegraph from an internal investigation and computer records recovered from the club.
Yesterday Ms Feening said: “Following on from your email this morning I want to make it quite clear that I deny any wrongdoing whilst I was CEO of Club Marconi.
“Following my departure from the club I have co-operated fully with the board and its auditors in order to assist with their inquiries, including answering all their questions.
“I did so voluntarily and have not received any further inquiry from the club or any other authority.
“To be clear, I strenuously deny any wrongdoing and expect any article that is printed should clearly reflect this position.”
Club Marconi chairman Vince Foti said yesterday: “Five months ago, we as the Club Marconi board referred the findings of an internal investigation, regarding previous management at the club, to the police and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing.
“We have suspended Ms Feening’s membership until the investigation has run its course.”
In perhaps the most serious issue raised by Marconi’s internal investigators, two of that club’s board meeting “minutes”, or records, were allegedly altered – one from November 2008, and another from September 2009. It is an offence to alter company records.
Both records involved Ms Feening being awarded financial benefits.
The minutes from the November 2008 Marconi meeting attracted the most interest from the club’s internal investigators.
The Daily Telegraph has obtained copies of two versions of the minutes. One shows an additional notation in the record of the meeting: “The board resolved a $10,000 net bonus be given to the CEO for her efforts.”
Directors present at the meeting have privately claimed there was no such resolution.
In September 2009, a resolution is recorded in the minutes “that $1500 per person be allocated to expenses” for Club Marconi representatives who attended the Clubs NSW annual conference in September last year.
Again, directors present at that meeting recall no such resolution.
Another issue was the deposit of more than $24,000 – the alleged proceeds of the first prize in a Marconi art union raffle in November last year – into Ms Feening’s personal bank account.
Ms Feening confirmed earlier this year that her son’s then fiancee (now her daughter-in-law) Katie Maher won the prize while Ms Feening was still Marconi CEO.
The club records show clear instructions – initialled by Ms Feening – ordering staff to “not call” her son’s fiancee about claiming the prize, a $36,990 Bayliner boat, motor and trailer. Records also show $24,750 was paid into Ms Feening’s bank account in January this year – proceeds of the sale of the boat.
Ms Feening earlier this year denied any impropriety in the conduct of the raffle, saying the prize was drawn “in front of 2000 people by a high school principal”. She said the money was repayment for a loan to her son.
Investigators allege the art union was budgeted to make the club a $750,000 profit but lost more than $119,000. Board members have privately expressed outrage at the loss.
Ms Feening’s corporate expense records at Marconi were another concern for investigators.
These show meals included on her Marconi corporate credit card statements and petty cash claims were apparently “double-claimed”.
One example is a $330 meal at top-flight Sydney CBD restaurant Level 41. Another is a $260 meal at upmarket Cronulla eatery SeaLevel. An investigator’s report points to “duplication” of expenses to Ms Feening’s corporate MasterCard account and direct to the club.
Questions have also been raised over thousands of dollars allegedly spent on clothing on Ms Feening’s corporate credit card, including $2120 allegedly spent at a wedding boutique. Other examples include $899 allegedly spent at the George Gross/Harry Who clothing shop on the Gold Coast on February 5 this year.
Three days later on February 8 at Jay Jays Miranda, a further $469.50 was spent on clothes on the card.
A further concern of investigators involves the multi-million dollar sale of poker machine allocations, allegedly at under-market values between March and May 2009.
Sales were made to clubs competing with Marconi – including Fairfield RSL and Mount Pritchard Community Club. The company realised $5.4 million for 117 pokie allocations, or just over $46,000 per licence – estimated to be a third below market value at the time. Independent experts consulted by investigators suggested they could have achieved a price of at least $7.8 million and as much as $10 million.
Investigators also flagged irregularities in the club’s Marconi Madness promotion.
Club Marconi recently made a claim to its insurer, alleging “loss to the club by way of fraudulent practises”, which is being assessed.
A Police spokesman had no comment on the matter.
Here is a story from earlier this year in July.I will check for others…
My books are not cooked, says new Sharks boss
Erik Jensen and Kate McClymont
July 10, 2010
THE Cronulla Leagues Club’s newly appointed general manager, Deborah Feening, has denied investigators’ claims about irregularities in the books of her former employer.
Last night Ms Feening said she could explain each of the allegations and had never misused the club’s money.
But investigators hired by the Marconi Club found that in Ms Feening’s time there as chief executive, thousands of dollars from a club raffle were paid into her bank account and substantial club resources were diverted to a pub where her son was licensee.Advertisement: Story continues below
The Great Western Hotel in Orange was bought by the Marconi Club’s former president, Tony Campolongo, in 2006 and Ms Feening’s son, Michael Feening, was the licensee. It was sold at a loss by Mr Campolongo’s company, Framena, in February. Mr Campolongo resigned from the club last week.
The investigators allege carpet and glassware belonging to the Marconi Club was taken to the Great Western Hotel and substantial renovations to its coolroom were billed to the Marconi Club.
”I’ve heard these accusations and they are incorrect,” Michael Feening, said. ”I have the invoices. I’ve got the tax receipts. I’ve even got the bank details.”
Ms Feening said she did borrow about 200 schooner glasses from the Marconi Club for use at her son’s pub during the Anzac long weekend last year. But she said the glasses were returned by her first thing on Monday morning.
Ms Feening admitted she was the authorised signatory on the pub’s account, but said she only had those powers to help teach her son how to run the business.
”As for me considering that at any time I breached my role or my integrity as CEO of Club Marconi, the answer is no,” she said.
Ms Feening also admitted her daughter-in-law won the major prize at the Marconi Club’s Art Union Lottery last year and that the $24,500 proceeds were paid into her (Ms Feening’s) account.
But, she said, the money was repayment for a loan to her son and the lottery winner was not direct family at the time. ”The prize was drawn in front of 2000 people by a high school principal,” Ms Feening said.
The Cronulla Sharks, still recovering from the cloud left by the departed CEO, Tony Zappia, stood by Ms Feening last night.
The new chairman, Damian Irvine, said he had had no contact with the police or the Marconi Club and would treat the accusations as rumour until he did.
”It’s totally separate to anything that happened in 2009 with any other employee or management,” he said about the club’s problems. ”It would be premature for us to be thinking about that.”
The acting chairman at the Marconi Club, Vince Foti, said Ms Feening and Mr Campolongo had resigned but would not say why. In Mr Campolongo’s case, he cited ”obvious” business and personal reasons. Ms Feening said she needed a change.
”We believe that the internal affairs of the club need to be looked at. That is why an investigator has been used,” Mr Foti said.
”The matter has been given to certain authorities in compliance with our obligations.”
Last night neither the fraud squad nor Fairfield police had received an official complaint.