Latham wrestles with lawsuit

FRANCHISING:

Former federal Labor Party leader Mark Latham is facing a challenge to his tenure as a One Nation MP in the NSW Parliament’s upper house because of a business venture he started before his election last month.

Early last year Mr Latham registered the private company WTF Are You Looking At? Pty Ltd with himself as sole director.

The company was established to sell franchises for the installation and operation of mechanical arm-wrestling machines in hotels, clubs, other entertainment and hospitality venues, and shopping centres.

The machines feature a replica of Mr Latham with a mechanical arm which players wrestle after paying $5.00 for each game.

Winning players receive their money back or can vie for a jackpot of $500 if they win three games in a row.

But the only business operator to so far install one of the machines, Sydney snack bar owner Ben Maree (main picture), said he had launched legal action to seek compensation from Mr Latham.

“I paid him a huge franchise fee — I won’t say how much — yet I’ve faced a mountain of medical bills to pay because after I installed the machine every customer who used it had their arm broken,” Mr Maree said.

“Latham himself came out and checked over the machine. He said it had been set at ‘taxi driver’ so he flicked the switch to ‘John Howard’ and then left.

“But now the machine pays out jackpots or refunds to every customer and it’s sending me broke,” Mr Maree said. “I’ll be taking him to court to get my money back.”

The Bug understands if Mr Maree is successful, the action could bankrupt Mr Latham and make him ineligible to keep his new One Nation seat in the NSW Legislative Council.

When contacted for comment Mt Latham told The Bug to “fuck off”.