Senior mason accused of parking scam near Belfast airport
This is the leading Freemason accused of running a crude car-parking scam.
Gregory Esler is accused of allowing customers at Q-Park next to Belfast International Airport to use the site for free in return for cash backhanders.
The 46-year-old, from Cedarmount in Antrim, who is an ex-employee of the firm, was in the dock of the town’s magistrates’ court last Tuesday.
He faces three charges of fraud by abuse of position and a separate count of fraud by false representation.
Esler is alleged to have run the money-spinning scam during the summer of 2015 when Q-Park was at its busiest and packed with cars belonging to holidaymakers jetting off to the sun. His charge sheet also accuses him of “generating or authorising false car parking tickets to Derek McConnell with the intention to make a gain for yourself, or another, or to cause loss to Q-Park”.
Esler is due to appear in court again on November 8 for a review of his case.
Sources in Antrim say he has been desperately trying to keep his court troubles quiet for fear of getting disciplined by his Freemason superiors.
The balding football fan is a member of the District of Seven Towers and Massereene, and a regular at the Antrim Masonic Hall Social Club. Insiders who tipped-off Sunday Life about Esler’s court appearance say he could face serious sanction from his lodge if convicted.
“Having a member in court on theft and fraud charges reflects very badly on the Freemasons,” said our source.
“Gregory is of course innocent until proven guilty, but we await the outcome of his court case with interest.”
Esler’s social media accounts are littered with references to his membership of the Freemasons.
An image of him sitting among lodge members dressed in a pale blue sash and gauntlets takes pride of place on his Facebook page.