Tiler claims One Nation's Longman candidate ripped him off
FURIOUS tradesmen, including a Bundaberg tiler, have rounded on One Nation's candidate in the federal Queensland seat of Longman, accusing him of ripping them off and threatening to sue if they kept chasing their money.
Building subcontractors say Matthew Stephen's former company, Aus Tile Qld Pty Ltd, has left a trail of debts and voters shouldn't support him in Saturday's crucial by-election.
But Mr Stephen says Labor is running a smear campaign, he's done nothing wrong and his accusers are disgruntled.
Bundaberg tiler Dale Moore says he's owed $4000 and claims Mr Stephen threatened to sue for harassment if he didn't stop trying to get his money.
Mr Moore said he'd called Mr Stephen twice a month between 2014 and 2017 asking for his $4000 and finally got a call back last year.
"He asked for my address and I asked why he wanted that for and he said 'so I can basically sue you for harassment and make a claim and sue you for defamation'," he told AAP.
"I told him 'that's simple, my address is on my invoice'."
Gold Coast tiler Matthew Young has released invoices for about $17,500 worth of work he and his brother did as part of a Darwin Hilton refurbishment in 2014.
He says he knows of five or six others owed similar amounts and felt compelled to join in when burnt tradesmen began using Facebook to vent their anger at Mr Stephen.
"People were saying how good he is and I (disagreed)'," Mr Young told AAP on Tuesday. "He owes us and a lot of boys money."
The One Nation candidate, whose preferences could decide if Labor or the LNP win Longman, has denied wrongdoing and says he sold his company - including its debts - in 2016.
"I do not owe anybody any money whatsoever. If there is anybody in this country who feels that I owe them money or has a claim for me or against me please send it through," he told Sky News on Tuesday.
He later told AAP he'd never threatened to sue anyone for harassment. He would not say what his company sold for but the debt it was carrying was less than $10,000.
Mr Stephen said Labor was behind the smear campaign, calling it "political bastardry".
Mr Young said he had spoken to one of Labor candidate Susan Lamb's campaign volunteers, Rory Parker, who denied telling media about the debt claims.
Mr Moore said his mother-in-law contacted the Labor party about Mr Stephen.