The author of the texts published above is David ‘the Bantam’ Fowler.
The subject is information that Fowler passed to a third party about the Albion Park Harness Racing Club secretly guaranteeing the $50 000 and $100 000 First Four pools on the first race at the trots at Albion Park each Saturday Night in order to artificially inflate the betting pools for the purpose of gaining a disproportionately greater share of the overall 3-code distribution of Queensland wagering revenue.
The architect of this strategy was, according to Fowler, the man we call Clip Clop, Mr Kevin Seymour, who until just days ago was both a senior member of the Board of the Albion Park Harness Racing Club and its Treasurer, and a Director and major shareholder of the Tatts Group, the parent company and 100% owner of UBET.
The employer to which Fowler refers in the texts is the Tatts Group. He is employed by them in the capacities both of Brisbane race caller for the then Tatts-owned Radio TAB broadcast network, and as presenter of the Press Room program on the radio station on Monday mornings.
The club to which Fowler refers is the Albion Park Harness Racing Club (APHRC).
‘Him’ is me, Archie Butterfly.
The party by whom Fowler would be ‘blamed immediately’ is to the best of my understanding Mr Kevin Seymour.
As a professional journalist it is my strict practice never to reveal sources. The numerous folk who have provided me with confidential information during my career can and will attest to the truth of this assertion.
David Fowler is not and has never been my source. As he himself states he does not know me and we do not talk, although we have in fact met and talked briefly on two occasions approximately 30 years apart.
The first occasion was at the Pacesetters disco held after the last race at Albion Park trots each Saturday night, when I was aged about sixteen and used to enter the licensed premises using one of my friends older brother’s driver’s licence in the pre-photo ID era.
On that occasion another friend of mine – the brother of a Group 1 winning harness racing trainer/driver – falsely (as a gee up) told Fowler that I was a homosexual who had a hankering for strange sex acts that I wished to perform with him, and the Bantam took the bait and approached the totally unsuspecting me and to my horror made an immediately rejected proposition regarding the decidedly odd act.
The second occasion was earlier this year when by chance I ran into Fowler at the Geebung RSL (‘the Bunger’) whilst I was punting in the company of a mutual friend who I first met when I was attending race meetings at a country track at the age of eleven.
On that occasion the three of us drank, gambled and conversed about both my mistaken belief (or at least what Fowler thought was my mistaken belief) that he had made a submission to the Australian Competition Tribunal in relation to the (then) proposed Tatts/Tabcorp merger, and about harness racing history.
These conversations took place over a period of approximately 2 hours, firstly in the Zacs Cafe area upstairs at the Bunger and later in the Zillman Waterholes Sports Bar and TAB downstairs at the club. I distinctly recall that on this day we were served drinks by the delightful and delicious Annie (pictured below), and recall this because I never forget any occasion on which I am fortunate enough to be in Annie’s company.
To the best of my recollection I have subsequently spoken once on the telephone once to Fowler (I made the call for the purpose of informing him that I was right and he was wrong about a historical harness racing matter on which we had offered contrary views a few days before during our Bunger meeting).
It is my understanding based on information received from a number of sources that the Bantam tells people far and wide that he does not read this website, and has not since the 11th of October 2017, although like much of that which Mr Fowler says I do not for a moment believe this claim to be true.
As stated above Fowler is not, and has never been, a confidential source of information for any of the articles that I have written and/or have caused to be published on this website, and I am breaching no professional or ethical standards of the journalistic profession in the writing or publication of this story.
My source for the APHRC guaranteed pool stories – which led directly to my interest in the issue, and to subsequent series of exclusive articles I have authored and had published exposing the corruption at the rotten core of the sport – is the third party who has subsequently forwarded these published texts between he and Fowler to me.
The texts were received last week, and this is the first time that I have ever seen or possessed a copy of these communications, which have been published with the express consent of the third party, and only after I had on three occasions advised/warned the person that the publication of the texts was likely to result in their identification as the source of the material.
The information provided to the source by Fowler about the APHRC guaranteeing the betting pools is absolutely correct. Everything that I write and cause to be published is, to the best of my knowledge and understanding.
Although hitherto undisclosed in annual reports from previous years, following my early stories about the highly unusual situation whereby the club was guaranteeing betting pools on behalf of the monopoly wagering provider UBET the APHRC delayed publication of the club’s 2016/2017 Annual Report.
When the report was finally published in October of this year Kevin Seymour tacitly conceded – in what I suspect, but cannot assert with certainty, was an attempt to forward defend against my damning revelations – that the club that had recorded losses of more than half a million dollars over the past two years, and represented an industry that had incurred a deficit of more than $5 million in the previous 12 months, had sustained a ‘shortfall on wagering initiatives of $44 598.79′.
This was Clip Clop speak for the fact that the near insolvent APHRC had done its’ arse to the tune of almost 45 grand by guaranteeing First 4 and Trifecta pools during the last financial year and having to pick up the shortfall when the actual pools carrying the investments of punters didn’t match the amounts guaranteed.
Strangely – or not, as I suspect – the actual pools have exceeded the amounts guaranteed by either the club or UBET (I am not sure which party has been guaranteeing them since 1 July 2017) on every occasion since I began writing stories about the issue.
What the texts that I have published today and expanded upon in this article mean for the relationship between Kevin Seymour and David Fowler I do not know and do not presume to guess.
I do know however how I would react to such disclosures of treachery and rats within my ranks, and although Kevin Seymour and I appear diametric opposites deep down I suspect that there is far more that unites us as personalities than their is that divides us, which if I am correct means that Santa may not be coming to the Bantam today or at any time in the foreseeable future, at least as far as his dealings with Clip Clop are concerned.
Either way the real issue is not the personal relationship between the Chairman of the Albion Park Club and his Committee Member and self-proclaimed ‘benefactor’ to the harness racing sport, but rather than the improper, unsustainable and unsupportable conflicts of interest between the two men who wear hats marked both UBET and APHRC.
Fowler and Seymour’s concurrent roles with both bodies from which they each derive personal benefits in various forms are improper and must cease immediately if the sport is to regain the confidence of the public and wagering investors, or indeed perhaps to survive at all as a State Revenue funded concern.
No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus.
There are just two red-faced, grey-haired men carrying a sack full of secrets and lies and whole lot of presents marked exclusively for themselves.
Their sleigh ride along the slippery slope to the South Pole has to end.
If it doesn’t the sport they both proclaim to love and adore will.
Ho, ho, ho.
Clip Clop and Bantam must go, go, go.