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Australian Olympic Committee calls crisis meeting after threat allegations
The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has called a crisis meeting after damaging allegations of threats, entrenched bullying and a toxic workplace culture.
According to media reports the AOC has confirmed a meeting will be held later this week.
The meeting comes days after the former AOC Chief Executive Fiona De Jong and the former Communications Officer Ryan Wells made complaints about a senior AOC employee who is a strong backer of the current President, John Coates.
The complaints have emerged publicly in the closing stages of the AOC’s presidential election campaign, the first challenge to Coates in his 27-year presidency.
De Jong accused the senior AOC employee of threatening her and her family late last year and attempting to blackmail her into withdrawing a previous complaint. De Jong said she had not felt safe being alone with him.
De Jong told the ABC “when the incident that gave rise to my complaint, I did, I called my husband and asked that he came down to the office and be with me.
“I would not have felt safe to be in (his company).
“Suffice to say he called me, he threatened, intimidated, bullied and what I felt amounted to blackmailing me ... to withdraw a complaint.
“The threat was not only to me but it involved my family.”
She said she made a complaint about the senior employee four months ago and told Coates of the behaviour. De Jong said nothing has been done.
Wells alleged that the senior AOC employee threatened to kill him in the lead-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“(He) approached me, came into the office early one morning and came up to my desk ... stood over me about 60cm from my desk, in front of me, and threatened to kill me.
“It was quite a menacing and aggressive tone and stance. No employee expects to be threatened in that way ever and it’s completely unacceptable.”
Six months later, he said he was made redundant.
Wells said the AOC did not adequately deal with his complaint.
Coates and the senior AOC employee declined to comment on the allegations.
Coates is facing a challenge to his presidency from the businesswoman and 1996 Atlanta Olympics hockey gold medallist Danni Roche.
Roche has campaigned on a platform calling for a detailed audit of the AOC and pledged to take a pay cut, saying more money should be spent on athletes and sports development.
Coates says he is victim of a vindictive campaign to oust him as AOC President at a vote to be taken on 6th May.
Coates and his backers have suggested the campaign is being led by the Australian Sports Commission Chairman, John Wylie.
Wylie and Coates exchanged heated words during the Nitro Athletics event in Melbourne in February. Coates refused to shake hands with Wylie, later telling Fairfax Media that “I don’t shake hands with cunts”.
13th April 2017 - AOC’S ANNUAL REPORT DETAILS $40,000 PAY RISE FOR JOHN COATES
16th March 2017 - MATT CARROLL NAMED NEW AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE
12th February 2017 - TOP SPORT ADMINISTRATORS IN PUBLIC DISPUTE AT MELBOURNE ATHLETICS EVENT
10th October 2016 - AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE CHIEF EXECUTIVE MOVES ON
1st September 2016 - AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION COMMITS TO WINNING EDGE PRINCIPLES AND FURTHER REFORMS
23rd August 2016 - RIO DISAPPOINTMENTS IGNITES BATTLE OVER OLYMPIC SPORTS GOVERNANCE
19th August 2016 - OLYMPIC PERFORMANCE DIPS AS AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SALARIES SOAR
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