Conman sprung in Bullets bid

He almost blagged his way to the helm of a $20 million luxury boat. Now a conman who can't spell can be revealed as the "mystery buyer" who made a play for the Brisbane Bullets.

As fresh hope has once again surfaced for the embattled National Basketball League (NBL) club, it yesterday emerged that a serial grifter who couldn't spell his supposed hometown tried to pass himself off as a potential saviour last week.

With just six days to go before owner Eddy Groves is forced to hand back his club licence, NBL boss Chuck Harmison says a serious deal is underway and an announcement is due in days.

"I'm expecting something to come across my desk this week that I can send to the board and hopefully approve. Things are still looking positive," Harmison said.

"It's certainly not all doom and gloom. I think something good is happening up there."

While the phantom buyer quickly disappeared from the scene, a consortium lead by Brisbane businessman Brian Stephenson is set to throw the drowning Bullets a last-minute lifeline.

It is understood Brisbane basketball identity Stephenson is leading a new group that is in complex negotiations with the NBL. Former Bullets general manager Jeff van Groningen is a key figure in the dealings.

The Stephenson group is keen to take the NBL show on the road but their desire to play a series of matches at regional stadiums like Ipswich or Toowoomba needs to be ironed out with the league.

A number of other interested parties, including longtime corporate supporters of the Bullets and Basketball Queensland, are also said to be involved in the rescue bid.

If successful, Stephenson will take over a team with virtually no playing stocks. The latest hit came yesterday when point guard Adam Gibson signed with the South Dragons, while all of the club's stars fled the ship after the last bid, led by Logan shopfitting magnate David Kemp, fell through.

Stephenson's legitimate bid is in stark contrast to last week, when a man calling himself Geoffrey Cassidy touted himself as a genuine buyer to the NBL.

Cassidy made headlines recently after an attempted con at the Gold Coast boat show at Sanctuary Cove.

He attempted to purchase two yachts - one worth $7.8 million the other worth $20 million - before being exposed after he couldn't spell the name of his supposed hometown, Armidale.

Newspaper reports said Cassidy passed himself off as the NSW-based chief executive of an aviation company who owned a Boeing 737 private jet.

It is believed he peddled a similar story to the NBL, while there are rumours he also masqueraded as a financial backer for a surf lifesaving club on Stradbroke Island.

Boats International director John Rapmund told the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper last month the man approached his Horizon Boats International stand and signalled his interest in a luxury vessel.

"He said he couldn't use his credit card as he had put a $300,000 piano on it and it was 'chockas'," Rapmund told the paper.

But Rapmund became suspicious when the man spelled Armidale as "Armadale".

"I got one of the girls to ring the bank. They'd never heard of him."