Mick Gatto claims he was approached by Bombers official

Ex-Bomber’s ‘late-night threats’ part of blackmail probe
Nanjing Night Net

Underworld figure Mick Gatto claims he was approached by a senior Essendon official to help “sort out” the supplements scandal in 2014, contradicting his other assertions that he reached out to the football club.

Footage has emerged of a one-on-one interview between The Footy Show presenter Sam Newman and Gatto at the Villa Romana restaurant in Lygon Street, Carlton, on Thursday.

In the exchange Gatto claimed he was approached by Essendon in an official capacity over the supplements saga, but refused to name who he spoke to, saying “it wouldn’t be professional for me to divulge that”.

“With this one I did get embroiled in it. I was approached,” Gatto said.

“They just wanted me to find out what was going on with it all and what I could find out and have a feel around.”

However, Gatto also told Newman he did approach Essendon at one point, and met with club officials, to try to negotiate a deal on behalf of biochemist Shane Charter to supply information about supplements.

Newman told The Footy Show that Charter wanted $800,000 in exchange for information he believes could prove supplements taken by Essendon players were not illegal.

“Shane came and seen [sic] me and he said ‘Mate, I have been hard done by here’,” Gatto said.

“And he said ‘I can prove without a shadow of a doubt that the supplement that they brought over here, the [Thymosin Beta 4], I can prove it wasn’t that. It was something else.

“He had compelling evidence that it was legal. He’d done a deal with some members of Essendon, or tried to do a deal.

“He wanted to be paid for it, for his hardship and what he’s been dragged through. They wouldn’t hand it over so they would pay lawyers millions of dollars instead.”

The encounter began with Newman describing Gatto as ubiquitous.

“Ubiquitous means you’re everywhere Mick. It’s extraordinary. You are omnipotent. All powerful,” he said.

“Mick you are Mr Fix It. How are you embroiled in this Essendon Saga?”

In a statement, Essendon chairman Lindsay Tanner said the club did not have any dealings with Gatto.

“As previously stated, Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell has had no dealings with Mick Gatto and kept the AFL Integrity Department informed at all times,” Tanner said.

“I am advised by my predecessor Paul Little that he was approached by Mick Gatto offering his assistance and this offer was declined.”

Former Essendon team services manager John Elliott has alleged, in a signed statement as part of a WorkSafe compensation claim, that he was asked by a senior club official to set up a meeting with Gatto, who has earned a reputation as a dispute resolution specialist.

But prominent Bombers supporter Mario Salvo, who facilitated a meeting between the club and controversial biochemist Shane Charter in 2014, rebuffed the claims.

“I’ve heard that; that’s total bullshit,” Mr Salvo, a builder and property developer, said on Thursday.

“The club never tried to [meet Gatto]. I’ve had dealings with Mick Gatto because I’m in construction and I’m a property developer and Mick acts as a mediator.

“His job, his career, his profession is as a mediator, so it wouldn’t surprise me that he approaches people that may require his services.

“What I’ve been told from very reliable sources is that he did approach a very senior member from the Essendon Football Club offering his services and those services were not required.

“I’ve been approached over the years in my career as a property developer on several occasions where Mick’s services have been offered to mediate a dispute with different parties, whether it’s a builder or a contractor, and he’s done a very good job in mediating.”

Mr Salvo didn’t know which senior Essendon figure Gatto might have approached at the time.

Former assistant coach and dual premiership player Dean Wallis is also pursuing compensation from the club, alleging he was made the scapegoat during the supplement saga.

“I have been scapegoated in relation to the supplement program, while others at the club have been covering up the use of cocaine, sexual harassment and fraudulent behaviour,” he said in a statement first published by News Corp.

In the statement, Essendon said the matter was the subject of a blackmail investigation by Victoria Police.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.