Corporates move quickly to cut ties

Sydney Morning Herald/March 18, 2008

Several businesses that Mercy Ministries claimed as official corporate sponsors are deserting the organisation, alarmed by the allegations of mistreatment and keen to distance themselves from the controversy.

Rebel Sport had asked Mercy Ministries to immediately remove the Rebel Sport logo and any reference to an association between the two organisations from their website, said Kristian Haigh, the company's national partnership manager.

"Rebel Sport has no ongoing sponsorship commitment to Mercy Ministries in either cash or in kind," Mr Haigh said yesterday. "We have been in contact with Mercy Ministries directly regarding our indicated 'sponsorship' and are awaiting an official reply."

Bunnings Warehouse was another business listed on the website as a corporate sponsor.

"Bunnings has no ongoing arrangements of any nature with Mercy Ministries," a Bunnings spokeswoman said.

The electronics and whitegoods company LG said there was "no formal agreement or longstanding relationship between the two groups".

"LG Electronics Australia has only donated products to Mercy Ministries, and each request has been assessed case by case. The approximate value of the product donated is less than $4000," a spokeswoman said.

LG would "review its relationship with any company that was operating in a questionable manner", she said.

Gloria Jean's Coffees said it had no plans to change its sponsorship arrangements with Mercy Ministries, despite the allegations.

Other corporate sponsors that had been listed on the Mercy Ministries website included the Sydney Kings, the Balmain Tigers and Australian Opal Cutters.

However, references to specific corporate sponsors appeared to have been removed from the website yesterday.

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