FIELD OF DREAMS: Troy Palmer, left, with Nathan Tinkler at a Knights training session in 2012. Picture: Darren PatemanHE has been Nathan Tinkler’s right-hand man for the past six years but, like so many before him, it appears Troy Palmer will soon be severing ties with the one-time billionaire.
An informed source told the Newcastle Herald over the weekend that Palmer, the Hunter Sports Group chief executive, was ‘‘no longer in Tinkler’s employ’’.
The Sunday Telegraph reported yesterday that Palmer had ‘‘quit’’ but was ‘‘on good terms’’ with Tinkler and would remain involved to help oversee the proposed sale of the Newcastle Jets.
Neither Palmer, Newcastle Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby nor Tinkler’s spokesman, Tim Allerton, replied to messages last night.
Palmer has been Tinkler’s trusted lieutenant since he approached the suddenly cashed-up tycoon in 2008 on spec and within days was offered a job as a financial controller.
A former accountant, Palmer had no background in sports administration but was the man Tinkler entrusted to run his footballing flagships, the Jets and Newcastle Knights.
During a tumultuous four-year period, Tinkler tipped millions into the two teams but the experience apparently left him disillusioned and regretful, judging by an interview last week in which he said: “I’ve been very good to Newcastle. But that place hasn’t done anything but shit on me.’’
In the same interview, Tinkler confirmed he ‘‘couldn’t wait’’ to sell the Jets.
Given that his remaining racehorses and Patinack Farm stud are being sold at auction, once Tinkler offloads the Jets the Hunter Sports Group will be little more than a fading memory.
When HSG was initially created, Tinkler owned hundreds of thoroughbreds, two football clubs, sponsored a production-car racing team and Surfest, underwrote international netball Tests in Newcastle and expressed interest in buying a National Basketball League franchise.
There was even an outlandish offer from HSG in 2011 to take control of the A-League.
Now HSG will apparently soon be defunct and in no need of a chief executive, although Palmer has been intimately involved in Tinkler’s many other development companies and business interests.
Palmer, who last week made his second appearance at ICAC to answer allegations he had authorised illegal donations to political parties, has been summonsed to appear in the South Australian Supreme Court on October 1 to face questions about the liquidation of Patinack Farm Administration and an alleged missing $5million that is owed to creditors.
Palmer, a former director, and Patinack Farm chief financial officer Tony Marshall will be asked to explain where the money went.
The Newcastle Herald revealed last week that Palmer is attempting to sell his Merewether beachfront home, formerly owned by Knights legend Andrew Johns and then Tinkler. Palmer’s wife, Emma, bought the property from Tinkler in May 2012 for $2.8million.
The property has been placed quietly on the market and it is understood the Palmers are hoping to get a price above $3.5million.
Palmer told the Herald in 2011 that he and Tinkler ‘‘hit it off from the very first meeting’’.
‘‘Our friendship is something I enjoy and cherish … we both love our sport,’’ he said at the time. ‘‘I enjoy sitting in his lounge room on a Saturday afternoon watching the races and having a beer.’’