Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Charities reject Roberta Williams cash - The Daily Telegraph - 17th June 2008

Charities have snubbed money from gangland celebrity Roberta Williams - before it's even been offered.

The Mercury reports the ex-wife of convicted murderer Carl Williams, whose activities were dramatised in the hit series Underbelly, will host a $100-a-head dinner at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre on June 26.

The promoters say the money raised may go to charity.

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Event organiser and manager of Moonah's Xtreme Physique gym, Michael Tonner, said the proceeds would “probably end up being the Cancer Council,” once Ms Williams’s flights, accommodation and expenses had been covered.

Tasmanian Cancer Council chief executive Lawson Ride said his organisation would reject any donation that could be seen to be the proceeds of crime.

"If such a donation was received, the board would send it straight back," Mr Ride said.

Other charities contacted by the Mercury, including Variety and Camp Quality, said they too would steer clear of tainted cash, which could be anything up to $20,000.

"We will have nothing to do with her, thanks," said Camp Quality state manager Peter Crosswell.

"Most of us operate on a moralistic philosophy – I can't see how anyone could accept money being made from a person like her."

Police have warned that crime figures profiting from their notoriety could lose their loot under asset seizure laws.

Mr Tonner said he had approached Ms Williams after the runaway success of the Channel 9 series Underbelly.

"I think there will be a lot of people interested," he said.

"Underbelly really had people glued to the telly and I will be very intrigued just to talk to someone who was a part of that lifestyle."

Her manager Andrew Hawkins said yesterday: "She is looking at her own charity initiative over the next few months."

Xtreme Physique's owners, brothers Wayne and Shaune Howlett, have their own chequered past.

In 2006 the weightlifters received two-year suspensions from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority. Wayne was stripped of his 100kg national title after returning a positive drug test for steroids.

Ms Williams has served six months' jail for ecstasy trafficking.

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