It was supposed to be one of the more fun and frivolous events of the Mardi Gras season -“ but the Mr Gay Oz competition has turned sour for many.

This week, a spokesperson for Home nightclub told Sydney Star Observer they had cancelled the booking for the grand final of the competition after several weeks of unreturned phone calls to the organiser of the event, Richard Squires. The grand final had been slated for Wednesday 3 March.

But Squires insisted that the event was postponed, rather than cancelled. He said the event had been put into limbo because another company, the SiV Group Pty Ltd, had claimed the legal right to stage the competition.

We can’t go ahead until the rights to the event have been settled, Squires said. We dispute that they own the rights to the competition.

The Mr Gay Oz website has been defunct for several weeks -“ fuelling rumours that the event was in trouble -“ but Squires said the website had to be taken down because of the legal wrangle.

A director of the SiV Group, David Curtin, confirmed that legal proceedings had been initiated against Squire’s company, Ultra Communications, regarding the Mr Gay Oz competition.

The SiV Group operates the gaymodelsearch.com.au website, which advertises The 2nd National Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Model Search.

Squires said the postponement of the Mr Gay Oz final was really disappointing but said the winners of the regional finals -“ which were held in each state capital -“ would still get a return trip to Sydney for Mardi Gras, as promised in the promotional material.

DNA editor Andrew Creagh, who was to have judged the final along with model agency boss Peter Chadwick and former Big Brother competitor Jamie O’Brian, said that although the event was not happening, he (Creagh) and Chadwick would select a winner from the finalists and offer them a modelling contract and magazine shoot.

A number of people involved in the competition who spoke to the Star this week -“ including Home nightclub, Andrew Creagh and the event compere Tobin Saunders -“ stated that they had not heard from Squires in several weeks.

Saunders said he was still awaiting payment and a response from Squires.

Squires said, Of course, if people have done a job they will get paid, but added that he had no comment to make regarding Saunders.

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