Prank brings legal action
A PRANK gone wrong could force a Clarence Valley businessman to sell up and move out of the area.
But the owner of the Brooms Head General Store, Gary Mills, will not be leaving without a fight.
Mr Mills has taken legal action against the Brooms Head Bowling Club for its alleged role in disseminating information that Mr Mills is a paedophile and a danger to the community.
However, Mr Mills said the story was a joke that originated in the Brooms Head bush fire brigade, of which he is a member.
Brigade captain Alex McCartney confirmed the story originated in October during the bushfire threat to the region.
“There was a photo of Gary in The Daily Examiner next to a headline ‘Fear as monster heads for homes’ about the fires,” Mr McCartney said.
“There was a bit of ribbing about Gary and that headline. Then someone wrote up a little story and put his words next to the photo and put it up on the noticeboard.
“Everyone thought it was a great joke and they were rolling about on the floor laughing about it.”
However, the joke turned sour when the leaflet appeared on the bowling club noticeboard.
Mr Mills said the story has now gone around town and with the influx of holiday-makers into the area he is worried it will go further.
“I’ve asked the bowling club for an apology, but they’ve refused,” he said.
“I gave the club seven days to put an apology up on the noticeboard and in the paper.
“The day before the seven days was up, they called me to the club and told me they weren’t going to apologise.”
Mr Mills said the rumours about him have begun to affect his business and his family.
“Turnover in December was down and I’m worried what the effect will be on my three kids.
“I feel like I’ve just got to sell up and get out of here.”
Brooms Head Bowling Club secretary manager Shane Gordon refused to comment about the matter as it had become a legal issue.