Rudi Bryson accused of scamming thousands from clients
Branded a deviant liar by clients, former Proteas cricket player Rudi Bryson has allegedly fleeced friends of hundreds of thousands of rands in a number of scams.
The alleged scams include pocketing money for tickets to the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, selling “fake” concert tickets, taking money for a corporate function without making the booking, and not delivering paid-for tickets.
The cricketer, who in the 1990s played a number of one-day internationals, also played for Eastern Province.
This week, a former friend, Plettenberg Bay businessman Duncan Brown, accused Bryson, 48, of stealing R75 000 when he booked tickets and accommodation – through Bryson’s events company, RB Hospitality – for the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Brown says he was shocked to discover that Bryson had not bought tickets or accommodation – simply pocketing the money.
Brown said he had received a message while driving to Port Elizabeth to catch his flight, explaining that the accommodation had been cancelled as final payment had not been made.
Bryson blamed a woman in his office for the mistake.
The golf event took place last month and Brown has been trying for a refund ever since.
Fed up with endless WhatsApp messages promising payment, Brown this week went public with his allegations on Facebook.
A flurry of accusations followed from others who claimed Bryson had done them in too.
Friendships spanning decades are now in tatters as former cricket colleagues and friends try to get their money.
A Pretoria businesswoman, who did not want to be named to protect the reputation of the JSE-listed company she works for, said the company had paid Bryson R230 000 for suites at both Loftus Versfeld and Kings Park for the SA v Australia and SA v New Zealand rugby clashes in October.
She said: “We paid in March. Whenever I phoned to check, he said everything was OK and I mustn’t worry.
“In August I said I really needed an itinerary and he delivered one but with no suite numbers.”
Worried, the woman phoned a contact at Lotus Versfeld and found no booking had been made.
“I was under so much stress because I had recommended him as I’ve known him for a long time. I felt physically sick,” she said.
Bryson finally admitted he had not booked, but said he had a blind suite instead of the full suite she wanted.
“Even that was a lie. I phoned and he had not booked.”
Eventually another events company managed to secure alternative tickets.
“It was so embarrassing. Our clients had to sit in a marquee when we invited them to a suite,” the woman said.
The company paid another R200 000 for the tickets.
She said lawyers had served Bryson with a letter of demand.
“Even that was difficult because he’s a difficult guy to pin down. He recently changed his phone number and deleted his Facebook page because so many people were writing about the things he had done,” she said.
Gillian Soames, of Johannesburg, said she had lost more than R13 000 when Bryson sold her “fake One Direction tickets”.
Soames, who called Bryson “a deviant of note, an absolute criminal”, said he had told her he could get a good deal so she had paid over the money.
For months she begged for her Golden Circle tickets to no avail.
The day before the concert, Bryson said a colleague would drop off the tickets, but when they finally arrived, the tickets “looked strange” so Soames took them to Computicket to be checked.
“They were tickets for the cleaning staff, cheap tickets right at the back of the stadium.”
She said her 15-year-old daughter had been hysterical and she had taken to Facebook to find more tickets, spending another R11 000.
After repeated requests, she recouped R7 500 from Bryson – she is still owed more than R5 000.
Lawyers’ letters show repeated attempts to recover the money, with Soames eventually giving up.
“My husband told me karma would get him, that his chickens would eventually come home to roost and now I think they have,” she said.
Dave Devlin, originally from George and now living in the UK, lost R3 000 when he bought tickets from Bryson earlier this year for the SA v Australia T20 at the Wanderers.
He simply never received the tickets. Bryson stopped taking his calls.
Devlin said: “I was disturbed and hurt. I’ve known him since EP Cricket days, for about 25 years. I put a message on my Facebook page to warn others. He seems desperate.” Devlin wrote off the R3 000. Brown, who played cricket in Port Elizabeth with Bryson, said: “Until about two weeks ago I felt sorry for him, but then I started doing my research.”
Brown came across numerous stories just like his and in every incident, he said, Bryson sent almost identical messages promising payments.
Others told of buying Bruce Springsteen tickets and extras but not getting the full VIP package and being left behind by the luxury bus and having to take a taxi home; bookings on Rovos Rail that were never made, and not getting what they had been promised at a Bear Grylls event.
Brown’s attorney, Martin Hurwitz, will be instituting civil action against Bryson.