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'Sugar daddy' claim denied.

Byline: BY KATY WEST Daily Post Correspondent

THE secretary of a Wirral branch of the British Legion harassed his gay manager and offered to be his "sugar daddy", an employment tribunal heard yesterday.

Former general manager at the Heswall British Legion, Arthur Smith, levelled claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation against the club and its secretary Mel Glasby.

The tribunal heard how Mr Glasby, former manager of the Pyramids shopping centre, in Birkenhead, called Mr Smith twice a day and showered him with expensive gifts including alcohol and aftershave.

Mr Smith, who began working at the British Legion in June, 2003, said the attention made him feel uncomfortable but he felt unable to raise the issue because of his embarrassment.

In Christmas, 2004, he said he had a phone call from a lady in the Pyramids shopping centre saying Mr Glasby was very upset.

Mr Smith said: "The lady said he was very upset and had said I was the only person he could talk to. Mr Glasby had tried to commit suicide a number of times. It put me in a very difficult situation."

Mr Smith also claimed Mr Glasby had asked him to look after his house and feed his fish while he was on holiday, but that it was done in such a way that he was unable to say no.

The tribunal heard how the situation between Mr Glasby and Mr Smith came to a head during an argument in a committee meeting at the club where Mr Smith shouted obscenities and Mr Glasby grabbed him by the arm.

Mr Glasby denied the claims, saying that although he gave presents to Mr Smith, much of it was free memorabilia and that he also gave such "gifts" to other members of staff.

He also denied that he offered to be his "sugar daddy", saying the words had been "turned around" as he had told Mr Smith he needed a sugar daddy to help him with plans to go into business.

Allegations that he had sent a text massage to Arthur Smith saying "I love you" were also denied.

Mr Glasby said: "I agree that I have said I love him to bits because of what he had done for the club. But I have never said 'I love you'."

The hearing is due to end tomorrow.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 25, 2007
Words:398
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