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

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - RYAN KEEN ryan.keen@news.com.au

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.

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