'Come and sit on my lap': League club chairman's request sparks fury
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This was published 3 months ago

'Come and sit on my lap': League club chairman's request sparks fury

It was a balmy evening on February 18 as four women joined Lynne Anderson, the chairwoman of the Bulldogs football club, on the terrace of the St George Motor Boat Club, overlooking Kogarah Bay.

The group told Mrs Anderson they were sick of the lewd behaviour and appalling comments made to women by Canterbury League Club chairman George Coorey.

George Coorey, chairman of the Canterbury League Club, is alleged to have sent lewd text messages to female club members.

George Coorey, chairman of the Canterbury League Club, is alleged to have sent lewd text messages to female club members.Credit:Dean Sewell

Mrs Anderson was shown a text message sent by Mr Coorey in 2018.

"Your most welcome," texted Mr Coorey replying to a message thanking him for organising a club jersey, "but you all have to suck off Mullet [another club member]".

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Another woman showed Mrs Anderson a text message where Mr Coorey referred inappropriately to how great her breasts looked in a particular top.

One of the texts sent by Coorey.

One of the texts sent by Coorey.

"Come and sit on my lap," he would say, sometimes fondling his genital area, they told Mrs Anderson of Mr Coorey's alleged behaviour while sitting with his mates in the sports bar of the club.

It was only a month away from the club's election and the women wanted something done about Mr Coorey.

"It's not OK for a director of a club to behave like this," one of the women told the Herald.

Bulldogs football club boss Lynne Anderson.

Bulldogs football club boss Lynne Anderson. Credit:Getty

"We used to go to the club for years on a Sunday night after the game or go for coffee. George and all his friends were there," another recalled.

She said that the women, who were club members, used to join Mr Coorey's group until they could no longer put up with "what used to come out of George's mouth".

"Ask any of the women that used to go to the club. He used to grab his dick and balls when somebody was walking past, stick his tongue out, saying 'come and sit on my lap'."

"You can ask any of the women. They all know how sleazy he is."

Another woman, who was not present at the meeting with Mrs Anderson, told the Herald she had complained previously to Mrs Anderson about Mr Coorey's inappropriate behaviour. She said she was "disgusted" when Mr Coorey asked her to sit on his lap.

The woman said she was married, to which Mr Coorey quipped: "And does that make any difference?" All the men present guffawed. "Not one of them said, 'George, why are you talking like that'?" the woman said.

"At the time, from my toes to my head, I felt uncomfortable," she said. "I made sure I was never in the same room with him ever again."

According to the women present at the meeting with Mrs Anderson, the Bulldogs boss expressed disgust at the text messages and the allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Although she took no notes, she promised action would be taken.

Mrs Anderson outlined the complaints to Mr Coorey on February 25. He strenuously denied the alleged behaviour. Two days later Mrs Anderson informed the football club board of the allegations. Andrew Hill, the CEO, requested an investigation and the Barrington Group was engaged.

George Coorey in a club portrait.

George Coorey in a club portrait.

But the weeks went by and nothing happened. On March 22, Mr Coorey, 61, was re-elected to the board of the league club and once again became chairman. The women were furious.

One of them emailed Mrs Anderson saying, "I note the evidence you have been made aware of and seen with your own eyes … the behaviour of Mr Coorey is wrong and should not be tolerated in this day and age."

Mrs Anderson said in an email to one of the women: "I can assure you that I do NOT condone the alleged behaviour, never will."

She said the matter had gone to both the football and league club boards. Both organisations agreed to commission an investigation but nothing could be done without proof.

She explained that because of the reluctance of the women to be interviewed and to give statements, she could take it no further.

The women told the Herald they had declined to give formal statements as they were worried about repercussions. One had already received a message from an associate of Mr Coorey's suggesting she "check her airbags".

Mrs Anderson referred the Herald's queries to the board.

The allegations were treated "seriously and urgently" and an independent investigation was commissioned and the club provided relevant information, a spokesperson for both the football and league clubs said.

"The investigators ultimately advised that the matter had progressed as far as it could in the absence of a statement from the complainants."

Mr Coorey, a mortgage broker, was elected to the league club board in 2012. He previously served as a football club director from 1995 until 2002, when the board resigned in disgrace after the Bulldogs were stripped of 37 competition points as a result of the Herald's exposure of a million-dollar breach of the salary cap.

Until his death in 2016, colourful former Catholic priest Father Edward O'Dwyer, who was banned from racing for his role in the infamous Fine Cotton ring-in scandal in 1984, was Mr Coorey's business partner.

The club chairman is also a long term associate of corrupt Labor party powerbroker Eddie Obeid. Mr Coorey wrote a glowing character reference for Obeid when he was being sentenced in 2016 for misconduct in public office. Mr Coorey said he was astonished that Obeid had been found guilty "knowing his personal qualities and character".

These days Mr Coorey runs VIP Consulting from his West Ryde home. He is also the sole director of JustSportz Management Services, a player agent business.

Mr Coorey did not respond to requests for comment.

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