Thomas suing St Kilda over unpaid leave - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thomas suing St Kilda over unpaid leave

14/05/2008 07:19:14 PM Comments (0)

Former St Kilda AFL coach Grant Thomas is suing the club over a $100,000 payment to keep quiet following his 2006 sacking, which he says he has not received.

Thomas also told the Victorian County Court on Wednesday he was asked to sign away $90,000 in annual leave entitlements just days before his dismissal.

Following his sacking, Thomas said he was asked to tell a media conference he was leaving the club by mutual consent.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Thomas claimed he was in an 'intense' meeting preparing for an elimination final match against Melbourne when he was asked by club CEO Archie Fraser to sign the document surrendering his leave.

"I was a bit concerned about the timing of it and said: 'Can't it wait Archie'," Thomas said.

"He said he had promised the board he would have it signed today."

Thomas said he grabbed the document from across the table, signed it and then threw his copy in the bin.

In his opening statement, Thomas' lawyer Matthew Stirling said the document, which Thomas signed without reading, was not a valid document because Thomas' rights were protected under industrial relations statutes.

"We all know what was happening behind the scenes," Mr Stirling said.

"St Kilda was preparing to sack Thomas if they lost the final."

St Kilda lost the game by three goals and were eliminated from the finals series.

Thomas told the court the following Tuesday he was sacked in a meeting at St Kilda football club president Rod Butterss' house.

"Rod Butterss said: 'It is a unanimous decision amongst the board that your services are to be terminated," he said.

"Rod then took over and indicated they would be paying a $100,000 extra payment.

"He said it was to ensure I conducted myself in the proper manner."

Butterss told Thomas he would immediately receive the six months pay owed to him, worth $270,000, and would be paid the silence money on April 1, 2007, the court heard.

"I made some comment about an ankle rope, or a keep-your-mouth-shut agreement," Thomas said.

Under cross examination by Leslie Glick, SC, for the St Kilda Football Club, Thomas was questioned about whether he screwed up the document taking away his leave conditions.

Thomas rejected suggestions from Mr Glick that he had pressed the annual leave issue with the club because he was angry St Kilda would not pay a fine he received from the AFL for negative comments about umpires.

He also dismissed suggestions it was his manager's idea to press the annual leave issue with the club.

The trial before Judge Katherine Bourke continues on Thursday.

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