MR VIP CASE BRINGS OUT COLOURFUL CAST
For 11 years they were the face of a Glitter Strip entertainment icon. But things have got nasty between Hollywood Showgirls owner Craig Duffy and his ‘Mr VIP’ host Jimmy Ozturk — others now want to have their say
A LOOMING legal showdown between Jimmy “Mr VIP” Ozturk and long-time employer Hollywood Showgirls is drawing out a cast of interesting characters.
Mr Ozturk, 69, has lodged an unfair dismissal claim following his departure in October after 11 years occupying his streetside Orchid Avenue perch out front of the strip club.
Well wishers of the Surfers Paradise nightclub promotions icon of 35 years include larrikin ex-AFL star Warwick Capper and Melbourne debt collector Anthony Swords, a regular visitor to the Gold Coast.
Swords, whose Gatto Corporate Solutions uses the surname of Melbourne underworld identity Mick Gatto, has posted to Ozturk’s Facebook: “You’re always going to be a star Jimmy Ozturk and you were worth every tip you got. Any club would be lucky to have you.”
Capper wrote: “Best of luck Jimmy — you’re the best in life.”
Ozturk lodged the case with the Fair Work Commission after he was suspended and paid out final entitlements. Hollywood Showgirls owner
Craig Duffy, yet to respond to Bulletin inquiries, allegedly accused him of “stealing" in relation to a patron’s $500 tip, advising “retiring gracefully is the best option”.
A text from the patron submitted in evidence alleges it was a “legit” tip while Ozturk’s lawyer Jason Murakami says he is yet to see any evidence of theft against his client.
This week the Fair Work Commission ruled Ozturk’s application for alleged unfair dismissal was within the deadline to proceed.
A date has yet to be set and if there is no mediation prior it will be a colourful hearing — Ozturk and Duffy are both intriguing characters with strong personalities.
WHEN Glitter Strip icon Jimmy Ozturk departed Hollywood Showgirls strip club late last year he made a point about the importance of discretion.
At the adult entertainment beacon down Surfers Paradise party strip Orchid Avenue — dubbing itself “a nightclub with a difference!” — discretion is a business cornerstone.
“You go to work, go home and take any secrets with you,” Mr Ozturk said at the time.
The 69-year-old took his own advice in October last year when telling the Bulletin his sudden departure was a retirement because he wanted to spend more time with family including grandkids.
“I need a rest brother,” he said, after a 35-year-run as a Gold Coast bar promotions su- premo and VIP host, including 11 years perched streetside out in front of Hollywood.
But submissions recently lodged with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) paint a far different picture. In them, Mr Ozturk is alleging unfair dismissal from Hollwyood Showgirls after a row about an alleged $500 tip from a patron.
“On October 10, 2017, the Employer’s director, Mr Craig Duffy, advised (Mr Ozturk) he was suspended for stealing $500 from (the patron),” alleges an initial FWC decision in background based on Mr Ozturk’s submission.
Five weeks later, Mr Ozturk was paid out final employee entitlements. Mr Ozturk’s lawyer, Jason Murakami, says he is yet to see evidence of theft and has an alleged text from the tipster patron to his client claiming “it’s all legit”.
Now a warts-and-all public hearing of the case looms with a date likely to be set on Monday after mediation failed.
Mr Duffy is yet to respond to Bulletin messages but comments from Mr Murakami suggest discretion will be like clothing on the Hollywood Showgirls main stage — in short supply.
“In preparation for trial, it is likely clients, dancers, security and management could be called for the hearing,” Mr Murakami said this week.
“You’ll probably have every man and his dog ringing up saying ‘Hell, my wife better not find out I was at this place’,” Mr Murakami predicted.
Already on record in submissions at an initial FWC hearing, Mr Murakami has aired texts from Hollywood founder and owner Mr Duffy to Mr Ozturk — one says: “I’ve investigated a complaint re the $500 you took off a client five weeks ago. Effective immediately I’m suspending you. The evidence is overwhelming, it’s not good ... $500 off the customer’s not on. It’s been a long time but retiring gracefully is the best option.”
Mr Murakami says the patron is lined up to front in person as a witness in Mr Ozturk’s claim.
An alleged text from the patron to Mr Ozturk — and already on public record in FWC submissions — reads: “Best of luck with the boss. Like I said, if he feels like he needs to call me about the money, you have my number. For me it was no big deal but for him it’s like the Titanic sinking.
“I think everything will be all good when he sees it's all legit,” the alleged text says.
Mr Murakami also plans to grill any Hollywood Showgirls directors including Mr Duffy.
It is unclear if Mr Ozturk would give evidence but Mr Murakami said he would have no problem if the FWC commissioner hearing the case wanted to question him.
Mr Duffy is often open to musing in media about nightlife or tourism issues and the direction of Surfers Paradise but is big on venue discretion and no fan of staff talking
publicly without his OK.
Mr Murakami said the option of private mediation and a confidential settlement of the scrap would be available up to the morning of the hearing.
“Both of them don’t really need all this aired in public but if it needs to happen, it will happen,” Mr Murakami said.
“I would advise Jimmy to enter mediation. The last thing they both need is dirty laundry aired in public and me cross examining Craig Duffy. It would be nothing personal, I have nothing against him but I have a job to do and will do it.”
It is a view shared by prominent lawyer Bill Potts: “No one in litigation tends to win because these cases can take unusual directions and people invariably find their dirty washing is hung out to dry in public. Often these
things can result in the destruction of people’s reputations.
“It’s expensive, uncertain and invariably ends up with everybody losing something whether it’s reputation, their patience or money.”
One expert estimated such a case with lost pay, compensation and legal costs could result in a settlement of $50,000 to $70,000 if successful.
Former AFL star Warwick Capper (left) and debt collector Anthony Swords (below) have spoken out in support of Glitter Strip icon Jimmy “Mr VIP” Ozturk (main photo).
Hollywood Showgirls owner Craig Duffy and (above right) his long-time streetman Jimmy “Mr VIP”
Ozturk are in a legal fight.