Court documents claim the former CEO of the NT Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA), Ashley Manicaros, treated staff poorly, appropriated $6,000 worth of meat and “unequivocally refused” to work with the organisation’s incoming president.
- Ashley Manicaros is suing NTCA over his sacking in December, 2020
- NTCA claim Mr Manicaros treated staff poorly and appropriated $6,000 worth of meat
- Mr Manicaros denies the claims and says he was sacked because of his political opinions
Mr Manicaros is suing the NTCA over his sacking in December, 2020, claiming his employment was terminated because of his political opinions.
The NTCA and its former president, Chris Nott, are disputing Mr Manicaros’ claims and have filed a cross-claim in the Federal Circuit Court.
In their court documents, the NTCA and Mr Nott said Mr Manicaros was sacked because of concerns about his “performance and behaviour in his role” and that he would not work with the likely incoming — and now current — president, David Connolly.
Mr Manicaros denies he told members of the NTCA’s executive committee that he would not work with Mr Connolly.
The NTCA and Mr Nott claim Mr Manicaros did not inform them of his attempt to seek pre-selection for the Country Liberal Party ahead of the 2020 NT election which, they said, caused concerns and “had the potential to create an undesirable perception that the [NTCA] was not an apolitical organisation”.
Mr Manicaros is also alleged to have treated NTCA staff poorly and purchased a car via salary sacrifice, despite a direction from Mr Nott that the NTCA did not approve any such agreement, according to the NTCA’s and Mr Nott’s defence.
Mr Manicaros claims he was not informed of the NTCA’s and Mr Nott’s concerns prior to being sacked.
NTCA claims $6,000 of meat appropriated
According to the cross-claim filed by the NTCA and Mr Nott, Mr Manicaros allegedly appropriated $6,000 worth of meat.
The meat is claimed to have been originally purchased for a gala dinner due to be held at the NTCA’s 2020 conference, which was subsequently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the NTCA and Mr Nott, Mr Manicaros should have sold the meat on behalf of the NTCA but, instead, he “converted the meat to his own use or to the use of others”.
In his defence to the cross-claim, Mr Manicaros set out an extensive timeline of movements of the boxes of meat.
According to Mr Manicaros, the meat was moved from the Alice Springs Casino to storage at the Darwin Fish Market after the NTCA conference was cancelled.
The meat was then said to have been briefly kept in a portable fridge at Mr Manicaros’ house in Darwin, before it was determined the fridge could not keep the meat cold enough.
NTCA staff then moved the meat back to the Darwin Fish Market, after which Mr Manicaros claims he “held three informal functions at his residence for the purposes of furthering the objectives of the [NTCA] and used some of the meat to feed the attendees at those functions”.
Mr Manicaros claims he took three boxes of the meat for the functions at his home, then offered leftover meat to NTCA staff, and that Mr Nott was aware of his actions.
At the time of his dismissal, seven boxes of the meat were still in storage at the Darwin Fish Market, according to Mr Manicaros.
The NTCA and Mr Nott also claim Mr Manicaros breached his fiduciary duty when he received almost $1,150 for writing an article about a NT cattle producer for Territory Q magazine.
Mr Manicaros claims he wrote the article in a personal capacity and neither the NTCA nor Mr Nott raised the writing of the article as an issue before his sacking.
The NTCA and Mr Nott are seeking compensation for the cost of the meat, the sum of Mr Manicaros’ payment for the Territory Q article and court costs.
A mediation for the case is set for July 16.