Up­grades to homes ‘ noth­ing un­usual’

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY

BUILDER and for­mer North Queens­land Cowboys player Martin Locke has ad­mit­ted to not charg­ing for cer­tain up­grades while build­ing Cowboys play­ers’ houses, but de­nied it was “mates’ rates”.

Mr Locke, pre­vi­ously a busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager with the club, has built houses for sev­eral Cowboys play­ers on land bought from club chair­man Lau­rence Lancini.

The Martin Locke Homes owner, who has a cor­po­rate box at 1300SMILES Sta­dium, said there were no dis­counts for play­ers but ad­mit­ted up­grad­ing some as­pects of the houses for no ad­di­tional charge.

“It’s no more than I’d give some­one else – I wanted to help out those who are close to me that I care about,” he said.

“When some­one has put their trust in you, I do give a bit ex­tra – a few ex­tras here and there, lit­tle things like lam­i­nated tops to stone tops. Peo­ple who aren’t play­ers get gifts from me.

“They’re not given any spe­cial dis­counts that any­body else I care about. I wouldn’t call them mates’ rates.”

Mr Lancini said Mr Locke’s work was within the guide­lines as it was never used as an in­duce­ment to sign a con­tract.

“Our play­ers use a lot of ( busi­nesses) who are spon­sors,” he said.

“What would be the ben­e­fit of be­ing a spon­sor of a col­lec­tive group if we didn’t in­flu­ence peo­ple in the Cowboys fam­ily to utilise spon­sors?”

In a state­ment to the Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, NRL media and com­mu­ni­ca­tions boss Peter Grimshaw said there was no prob­lem with some­one from the club ad­vis­ing a player on in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“How­ever, it would be a breach if the player was of­fered a fi­nan­cial ben­e­fit which he didn’t pay for [ and] which was not de­clared,” he said.

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