Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Hun on Landeryou: accurate reporting

Andrew Landeryou claims the Herald Sun is his newspaper of choice. It has certainly impressed many with its succinct and shrewd assessment of the fat flop as “a rat”.

May 5 1991
Defame claims heat up uni row

THE general secretary of the Melbourne University Student Union is suing eight students for defamation.

The Supreme Court writs are the latest twist in a six-month row between elected union office bearers, a student group and the university newspaper, Farrago.

The opposing parties in the campus battle are the student union's president, Andrew Landeryou, general secretary Keir Semmens and the Students Against Corruption (SAC).

And in a parallel row, Farrago editors claim they have been censored, harassed and received death and bomb threats.

In his writ, Mr Semmens charges eight members of SAC with defamation after they were involved in the preparation and/or distribution of several leaflets and a badge which read "Where's the money Keir?" The writs say that through the badge and leaflets "the plaintiff (Mr Semmens) has been held up to public ridicule and contempt".

SAC has called a student general meeting at the university Tuesday calling for the sacking of Mr Landeryou and Mr Semmens.

The general meeting will also deal with a motion calling for the sacking of the editors of Farrago.

July 22 1991
MP son faces ban over campus poll
S Dabkowski

THE son of a Labor organiser and member of Victoria's Upper House, Mr Bill Landeryou, faces possible expulsion from the ALP.

The ALP youth conference yesterday passed a motion to investigate the behaviour of the Melbourne University Labor Club in which Mr Andrew Landeryou is a key member. It will examine a number of charges including "physical and legal intimidation of political opponents" on campus.

The conference expressed its "grave concern" at the alleged activities of the club. It said the club's activities had alienated staff and students from the party.

The disputes committee of the ALP youth will also examine the industrial relations history of the university's union, "which has more in common with the confrontationism of the New Right".

The conference was told that included organising "strike breakers" for Trades Hall sanctioned industrial actions.

If the investigation finds that members of the Melbourne University Labor Club have contravened the party's rules and principles, they will be expelled from the party as soon as possible.

December 17 2004
Big year for the Possums
Fiona Hudson, city editor

AS post-election excitement fades at Melbourne's Clown Hall, it's time to bestow glory on the star council performers of 2004.Winners of the Possum Awards -- named in memory of those who gave their lives to make Lord Mayor John So's furry cloak – are…

Former councillor Kimberley Kitching has gone to ground after a process server appeared at Town Hall last month trying to deliver court papers related to a case involving her husband, ALP identity Andrew Landeryou.

April 19 2005
Labor rat left me bankrupt Civic star to lose her mansion
Fiona Hudson, city editor

FORMER city councillor Kimberley Kitching is bankrupt and set to lose her Parkville mansion over $3 million owed to retail tycoon Solomon Lew.

Ms Kitching blamed her financial collapse on her missing husband, Labor Party powerbroker Andrew Landeryou, who has skipped town leaving a trail of debt.

The son of former Cain government minister Bill Landeryou vanished in December and has not been seen since.

There is a warrant out for his arrest for failing to give evidence over the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union.

Ms Kitching revealed yesterday she had filed for voluntary bankruptcy ahead of a scheduled court appearance today over the debt to Mr Lew.

She now stands to lose her heritage-listed Parkville mansion -- a wedding present from her husband -- to repay her creditors.

Breaking a long-standing silence, Ms Kitching told the Herald Sun she hadn't seen her husband since December 6, and wasn't sure if she ever would again.

``My husband told me he was going to Sydney on a business trip. He has not returned. I have not seen him since,'' she wrote in a statement.

``Over the last couple of months, I have been forced to accept that my husband has gone. I have no indication of his whereabouts or whether he intends to return.

``I fully trusted my husband and accepted his word that he would meet the financial commitments he had asked and advised me to enter into.''

The $3 million debt relates to a failed company, IQ Corporation, controlled by Mr Landeryou and in which Mr Lew was a major investor.

Andrew Landeryou, his wife and his father Bill all signed documents agreeing to cover the debt.

An instalment due on December 22 wasn't paid, triggering the court battle over the funds.

Ms Kitching said in her statement that her attempts to reach a settlement with Mr Lew over the matter had failed.

Her bankruptcy trustee, Jim Downey, said apart from the debt to Mr Lew, Ms Kitching owed $600,000 to the Adelaide Bank, $35,000 to her father, and smaller amounts to about a dozen other creditors.

The Supreme Court this month heard claims that Andrew Landeryou transferred about $1 million to Hong Kong before he went missing. Liquidators believe some of the money has since been moved to Cyprus.

Ms Kitching served as a Melbourne city councillor until last year and was touted as a future mayor.

April 20 2005
Mansion door left open Hiccup in Lew-Kitching eviction case
Fiona Hudson, city editor

SOLOMON Lew could face a further court stoush before he can evict Kimberley Kitching and change the locks on her Parkville mansion.

The retail tycoon's lawyers won a court order yesterday for possession of the heritage-listed property to cover a $3 million unpaid debt.

But Ms Kitching's bankruptcy trustee raised serious concerns last night about the validity of a key document in the case.

Trustee Jim Downey said a deed Ms Kitching had signed last year, promising to hand over her home to wipe the debt, seemed ``flawed''.

He has sought urgent talks with Mr Lew's legal team, and has not ruled out seeking a court injunction to prevent a sell-off.

Mr Lew's lawyers are understood to have agreed to give 24 hours' notice in writing before selling the property.

Ms Kitching filed for bankruptcy this week and blamed her financial collapse on her missing husband, ALP powerbroker Andrew Landeryou. The son of former Cain government minister Bill Landeryou vanished in December, leaving a trail of debt.

Ms Kitching's bankruptcy documents reveal her debts include $6600 in unpaid parking fines, a $5000 mobile phone bill and $3600 in council rates.

She also owes $42,000 on her missing husband's BMW, and $21,000 to Telstra BigPond for internet services.

Mr Downey said Ms Kitching would have to turn in her passport tomorrow, although there were some circumstances under which she could retrieve it. ``But she'd need to satisfy me she wasn't off to Majorca,'' he said.

Ms Kitching is unemployed and living off contributions from her father, who is also listed as a creditor for $35,000.

The court row relates to a failed company, IQ Corporation, controlled by Andrew Landeryou and in which Mr Lew was a major investor.

After it failed, Ms Kitching signed a deed agreeing to pay Mr Lew $3 million for his shares. She has since claimed in court documents that her husband pressured her into signing the paper, and that she was anxious and depressed at the time.

Mr Downey last night questioned whether the deed was legally valid.

``Shares in a company which is in liquidation cannot be sold or transferred without the approval of a court. It is unclear as to whether such approval has been obtained,'' he said.

``I will be reviewing that agreement.''

Mr Downey said he was also investigating whether the document could be set aside under provisions in the Bankruptcy Act.

But Mr Lew's lawyers maintained last night Ms Kitching knew exactly what she was doing when she signed the document.

``Kimberley Kitching is an experienced commercial solicitor who was also a Melbourne city councillor,'' lawyer Sam Bond said in a statement.

``Ms Kitching personally purchased the relevant shares . . . but failed to make any payment for the shares. It was Ms Kitching's breach of promise which has caused (Mr Lew's company) Jordanlane to enforce its right according to law.''

Solomon Lew's company Jordanlane, $3 million

Bank of Adelaide, $608,000
BMW Finance, $42,000
Council parking fines, $6600
Melbourne City Council rates, $3600
Telstra Bigpond, $21,000
Citibank credit card, $16,100
Telstra Mobile, $5000
Her dad, $35,000
Lawyers, $30,000
Accountants, $2900
Melbourne City Council (for laptop computer), $1700

April 30 2005
Jail's just fine, Your Honour

Missing husband flies in, but avoids wife
Fiona Hudson, city editor

ARRESTED businessman Andrew Landeryou has opted for a weekend behind bars rather than face his wife or retail tycoon Solomon Lew.

Sheriff's officers apprehended the ALP powerbroker on an outstanding warrant when he stepped off a Qantas flight from Los Angeles yesterday, and delivered him to the Supreme Court.

Mr Landeryou told Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton that he wouldn't apply for bail and was content to remain in custody.

His arrest related to his failure to appear at a liquidator's hearing into the collapse of Melbourne University Student Union Inc.

Lawyers for the liquidator told the court yesterday it wasn't necessary for Mr Landeryou, son of former Cain government minister Bill, to remain in custody.

They said they were happy for him to walk free if he provided a phone number, an address and his passport -- and agreed to attend a May 5 hearing.

But Mr Landeryou, dressed in a rumpled shirt and representing himself, opted for the Melbourne Custody Centre.

His high-profile wife, former city councillor Kimberley Kitching, did not attend the hearing and stayed in her Parkville mansion all day.

She declared herself bankrupt last week, blaming her husband for a $3 million debt to retail tycoon Solomon Lew.

It is believed Mr Lew's lawyers had hoped to serve a summons on Mr Landeryou over the debt, but have been thwarted by his decision to stay in custody.

Mr Landeryou told the judge he'd never received the original liquidator's summons that triggered yesterday's arrest nor any phone calls, letters or emails about it.

He noted other people had experienced no difficulty finding him and serving legal papers on an unrelated matter.

``I became aware of the arrest warrant when I was overseas and I read it in the newspapers,'' he said.

Asked by the judge if that was the reason he returned from overseas, Mr Landeryou said ``yes''.

The judge ordered Mr Landeryou to appear before the student union liquidator's examination in the Supreme Court on May 5. She told him he could apply for his release ``at any time'' before then, should he change his mind.

Mr Landeryou's sister was in court and spoke with her brother briefly before he was taken away.

The businessman chatted with the sheriff's officers sitting either side of him in court.

Outside court, liquidator's representative Gary Bigmore, QC, said he was surprised by Mr Landeryou's decision not to seek bail. ``It seemed unusual. It's not something I had struck before,'' he said.

A Justice Department spokesman said when picked up at the airport, Mr Landeryou had co-operated without incident.

He faces no charges over any other matter.

May 2 2005
Landeryou wants out

Bid for bail follows three nights in jail
Ellen Whinnett

ARRESTED businessman Andrew Landeryou has changed his mind about remaining in custody and is seeking bail.

Mr Landeryou spent the past three nights in a cell in the Melbourne Assessment Prison in Spencer St.

He was arrested on Friday after stepping off a Qantas flight from Los Angeles.

He declined an offer of bail on Friday, despite not facing any charges and lawyers saying it was unnecessary for him to remain behind bars.

The ALP powerbroker is due to make a bail application in the Supreme Court today and has retained prominent solicitor Rob Stary to represent him.

If freed, he would probably be required to hand over his passport, supply details of his address and agree to appear in court again on Thursday.

It is believed that his father, former Cain government minister Bill Landeryou, and his sister tried to visit him in prison at the weekend.

Mr Landeryou instead spent time with legal representatives.

His wife, former high-profile Melbourne councillor Kimberley Kitching, is thought not to have tried to visit her husband since he returned to Australia.

Mr Landeryou was expected to make his bail application yesterday afternoon, and the case was scheduled to be heard by Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton.

Mr Landeryou was not required to appear at the hearing, which, in an unusual move, was going to be a closed session held at Justice Dodds-Streeton's home.

However, several media organisations, including the Herald Sun, told the court they intended to apply to be represented at the hearing.

The hearing was then re-listed to be heard in the Supreme Court today.

Mr Landeryou was arrested for failing to appear at a liquidator's hearing in December into the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union Inc.

Mr Landeryou told the court last Friday he did not know people were looking for him and he had returned to Australia as soon as he heard.

Ms Kitching filed for bankruptcy last month, blaming Mr Landeryou for her financial collapse and a $3 million debt to Solomon Lew.

The debt relates to the failed internet betting company IQ Corporation, which was controlled by Mr Landeryou and heavily backed by Mr Lew.

Lawyers seeking to serve a summons on Mr Landeryou over the debt were thwarted by his decision to remain in custody.

May 03 2005
Lock-up to luxury for Landeryou
Fiona Hudson and Michael Warner

BUSINESSMAN Andrew Landeryou swapped his jail cell for a luxury Southbank apartment yesterday after a judge ordered his release from custody.

The former Labor powerbroker emerged from the Melbourne Assessment Prison via a back entrance hours after a Supreme Court bail hearing.

He avoided a waiting media scrum and lawyers for retail tycoon Solomon Lew hoping to serve him with a writ over a $3 million debt.

Mr Landeryou was driven to a Southbank tower, where he is staying in the 29th-floor pad of a business associate.

Mr Landeryou, son of former Cain government minister Bill, had been in custody since he was arrested at Melbourne airport on Friday.

He is understood to have had no contact with his wife, former city councillor Kimberley Kitching, since his return from Los Angeles.

Ms Kitching went bankrupt last month, blaming her then-missing husband for a $3 million debt to retail giant Solomon Lew.

Mr Landeryou's arrest related to his failure to appear at a liquidator's hearing into the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union Inc.

Mr Landeryou last Friday denied in court ever receiving the summons to attend the liquidator's examination.

He told Justice Julie Dodds-Streeton he returned from overseas as soon as became aware of the arrest warrant.

Mr Landeryou could have applied for bail on Friday, but chose to stay in the lock-up over the weekend.

He was represented at yesterday's hearing by lawyer Rob Stary.

As part of yesterday's bail conditions, Justice Dodds-Streeton ordered Mr Landeryou to surrender his passport and attend a liquidator's examination in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

May 4 2005
Broke, but not silenced

`The whole story needs to be told some time, and the time is now'
Fiona Hudson, city editor

ELUSIVE businessman Andrew Landeryou broke a lengthy silence yesterday, threatening to dish out dirt on his corporate and political enemies.

The former Labor powerbroker candidly admits he is broke, homeless and a bad husband, and says his life has gone ``hideously wrong''.

``The fact is I was not a good husband in every possible way,'' he wrote yesterday on a website exploring his woes. ``I have nothing left to lose. I started with nothing. I may end with nothing.''

Mr Landeryou, 35, threatened on the site to expose untold tales about retail tycoon Solomon Lew and other high-profile figures.

Mr Landeryou said his foes had done well in ``slagging off'' against him, and he would return the favour.

``It's a fine thing about being thumped to a pulp, you can really start opening up a massive can of whup-ass,'' he said.

``Because I have copped the mother of all hidings in the press, I will be returning fire, not because it will discourage them, but to ensure the historical record includes both sides of the story.''

His wife, Kimberley Kitching, a former city councillor, declined to comment last night.

Ms Kitching filed for bankruptcy last month and is set to lose her Parkville mansion over a $3 million debt to Mr Lew.

Mr Landeryou and his father, Bill, a former Cain government minister, are also liable for the debt, which is related to the collapsed IQ Corporation.

The Labor Right figure wrote he'd received death threats from ``the charming citizens of the Left''.

He said companies he controlled, including IQ Corporation, donated money to the Labor Party.

``IQ gave money to the ALP. Yes, we will happily have it all back and believe it is highly just and fair that it be returned immediately,'' he said.

Mr Landeryou said a recent spell in the Melbourne Assessment Prison had helped loosen his tongue for the ``warts-and-all'' account of his life.

``A couple of nights at the big brick building on Spencer Street . . . has liberated my keyboard and my big mouth,'' he wrote.

Mr Landeryou left Australia last December for Costa Rica, and was arrested when he flew back into Australia last week.

The arrest related to an outstanding warrant over his failure to appear at a liquidator's hearing into collapsed Melbourne University Student Union Inc.

Mr Landeryou has claimed he never received the summons.

He chose to spend several nights behind bars before applying for bail on Monday morning.

He was released and is due in the Supreme Court tomorrow to answer questions about his involvement in the student union collapse.

Mr Landeryou said yesterday Mr Lew's investment in IQ Corporation was ``a cursed marriage from the start''.

On the website, he urged friends and enemies to contact him.

``Whether you're Solomon Lew, an unwashed anarchist, or one of my old mates from the Labor Party, drop me a line. Game on,'' he said.

``Life will never be the same and . . . my old life wasn't all that flash anyway. The whole story needs to be told some time, and the time is now.''

May 5 2005
Powerbroker faces court

BUSINESSMAN Andrew Landeryou will finally face some of his corporate accusers in a Supreme Court witness box today.

The former Labor powerbroker will answer questions in a liquidator's examination into the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union.

May 6 2005
Landeryou requests rejected
Fiona Hudson, city editor

BUSINESSMAN Andrew Landeryou marched into the offices of Solomon Lew's lawyers last night to demand they serve legal papers on him over a $3 million debt to the retail tycoon.

In a bizarre exchange, lawyer Sam Bond declined the opportunity to hand over the papers, saying he would deliver them to Mr Landeryou's solicitor.

After repeatedly demanding the documents, the former Labor powerbroker finally left the CBD offices of law firm Schetzer Brott & Appel empty-handed.

The unusual visit followed a full day in a Supreme Court witness box for Mr Landeryou.

He was answering a liquidator's questions about his links to the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union Inc.

The appearance in court was originally scheduled for last December, but he went overseas and says he did not receive the summons.

His father, Bill Landeryou, a former Cain government minister, was in court to provide support.

His wife, former city councillor Kimberley Kitching, did not attend.

Ms Kitching became bankrupt last month over the $3 million debt to Mr Lew, blaming her husband for her financial problems.

The liquidator's examination heard several companies associated with Mr Landeryou had won lucrative contracts with the student union before it collapsed.

Mr Landeryou admitted in court he had tried to conceal his involvement in the deals to protect his future political ambitions.

Mr Landeryou told Gary Bigmore, QC, counsel for the liquidator, that he was ``very coy'' and obsessed with privacy.

Mr Landeryou said he had no intention of profiting from a controversial student accommodation deal because it might harm his wife's political career with the city council.

``I never expected to benefit at all. I knew I couldn't be seen to,'' Mr Landeryou said.

Mr Bigmore told the court Mr Landeryou appeared to have helped arrange the employment of both the student union's general manager and commercial services manager soon before the deals with his companies were signed.

Mr Landeryou admitted he had told general manager John Gunn -- a former chief of staff to Lord Mayor John So -- the job was vacant.

He said he had also mentioned the commercial services role to another associate who ultimately won that job.

Mr Landeryou told the court he did not know exactly where $1.2 million collected from the sale of leases on food outlets at the university had gone.

Some of the money is believed to have been transferred to Hong Kong, some to Cyprus, and some to a bank account in Melbourne.

Mr Landeryou shrugged off allegations that he had forged signatures, including his brother-in-law's, on important documents.

The liquidator's hearing was adjourned until May 25

May 7 2005
Landeryou meets wife in secret
Fiona Hudson, city editor

RUNAWAY husband Andrew Landeryou has finally fronted the spurned wife he left bankrupt and owing $3 million to retail tycoon Solomon Lew.

Mr Landeryou and former city councillor Kimberley Kitching met secretly in a city park yesterday for a brief ``access visit'' with his dog.

The meeting was their first since Mr Landeryou returned to Australia after vanishing overseas for five months without telling his wife.

It came a day after the Labor powerbroker made a long-awaited appearance in the Supreme Court for a grilling by a liquidator.

Mr Landeryou later wrote on his website that facing a top Queen's Counsel the previous day in court was nothing compared with meeting his wife.

The meeting was arranged after a ``complex series of negotiations via intermediaries'', Mr Landeryou said.

``I don't want to talk about Kimberley . . . because I think I owe her a lot more dignity than that, but I couldn't help but notice there was no wedding ring any more.''

Mr Landeryou said he ``didn't let my tears show''.

The couple talked mostly about Mr Landeryou's dog.

Ms Kitching would not comment yesterday, but is understood to have defied her legal advisers to have the meeting in the Domain Gardens.

Mr Landeryou flew back to Australia a week ago and was arrested on an outstanding warrant at Melbourne Airport. He opted to stay in jail for several nights rather than seek immediate release.

Mr Landeryou is now staying at a friend's Southbank apartment, while Ms Kitching remains in her heritage-listed Parkville mansion.

She faces likely eviction over an unpaid $3 million debt to Mr Lew.

May 16 2005
Factions named Party fight denied
Ellen Whinnett

KEY players in the sacking of a suburban community centre's management committee have denied festering ALP faction fighting is behind the unrest.

The suggestion that factions could be at play was raised yesterday by controversial businessman and former ALP activist Andrew Landeryou on his website.

Mr Landeryou, who is facing court scrutiny over the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union, mused on his blog-site that there was a ``possible interplay of factional tensions''.

Brimbank City Council last week moved to sack the Westvale Community Centre volunteer management committee after claims of poor governance and the discovery of pornography on one of the centre's computers.

The committee members say they have become a target for blowing the whistle on porn and have promised to fight the move.

All nine Brimbank councillors are ALP members, as is the soon-to-be-ousted chairman of the committee, and the treasurer.

The IT consultant who discovered the porn has also emerged as a well-known Labor activist.

But the people involved in the suburban drama say the bitter row has nothing to do with old factional battles, which have seen some players sent shotgun cartridges in the mail.

``What a load of garbage,'' said Robert Mammarella, the committee's chairman and an electorate officer to local Labor MHR Bob Sercombe.

``It's nothing to do with factions and nothing to do with the ALP. It's all a big misunderstanding with the council.''

Mr Mammarella was one of four members of the group known as Labor Alliance who received a shotgun cartridge with his name written on it in his mailbox. At the time, Labor Alliance was doing battle with the Right-wing Labor Unity.

The committee of management at Westvale says it has been attacked by the council because the council was embarrassed about publicity over the finding of the pornography on the computer.

Brimbank Mayor Natalie Suleyman is aligned with Labor Unity.

She could not be contacted yesterday.

May 20 2005
Guards for investigator Landeryou denies threat after home visit
Ellen Whinnett

THE man investigating the collapse of the Melbourne University Student Union has called in security guards to watch his house.

Liquidator Dean McVeigh now has 24-hour protection outside his suburban Melbourne home.

The guards appeared outside Mr McVeigh's home this week after photos appeared on a website being run by former ALP activist Andrew Landeryou, who has been linked to the student union collapse.

Mr Landeryou confirmed he had been at Mr McVeigh's home taking photos, but said he posed no danger to the liquidator, and described himself as being ``as threatening as the average boy scout''.

``To say that I am a threat to Dean McVeigh is just comical,'' he said.

Mr Landeryou has been in court answering questions about several deals made between the union and companies with which he is associated just before the union's collapse.

The liquidators have taken the matter to the Supreme Court of Victoria for examination.

Mr McVeigh was reluctant to comment about the situation.

``I don't need to make any comment about what Mr Landeryou is doing,'' he said. ``It is fairly obvious I have security outside my home. There are some very obvious reasons for it.''

Asked if the security presence was connected to his inquiries into the collapse of the student union, Mr McVeigh replied: ``Yes, it is.''

Mr Landeryou has been using his website to criticise Mr McVeigh and several others, including businessman Solomon Lew, who has called in a $3 million debt owed by Mr Landeryou.

Mr Landeryou set up the ``blog'' -- a personal web diary -- after spending three days in the Melbourne Assessment Prison after returning from overseas. He confirmed that he had gone to Mr McVeigh's house and photographed him behind a security door.

He said he had asked Mr McVeigh to come outside and be photographed next to Mr McVeigh's Rolls-Royce, which was parked on the street.

``He declined,'' Mr Landeryou said.

He said he wanted the photos to put on his blog to ``tell the whole story'' and flush out what Mr McVeigh's expenses were.

He claimed the security detail -- including guards being posted outside Mr McVeigh's office in Sandringham -- was costing up to $10,000 a week.

Mr Landeryou denied being a threat to the safety of Mr McVeigh.

``He's 2m tall and 200kg. I'm about a third of that,'' Mr Landeryou said. ``I'm about as threatening as your average boy scout.''

Melbourne University and the new body running the union, Melbourne University Student Union Ltd, both said that they were not involved in the matter.

June 3 2005
Ex-councillor shown the door
Fiona Hudson

RETAIL tycoon Solomon Lew finally evicted bankrupt former city councillor Kimberley Kitching from her Parkville mansion yesterday.

There to lend a hand, and the use of his ute, was former council colleague and loyal friend Kevin Chamberlin.

Ms Kitching's estranged husband, former ALP powerbroker Andrew Landeryou, didn't help.

Ms Kitching filed for voluntary bankruptcy in April, blaming her husband for a $3 million debt to retail magnate Mr Lew. The heritage-listed mansion is expected to be auctioned in early July.

Lawyers for Mr Landeryou's father Bill, a former state government minister, began legal action yesterday to fight Mr Lew's attempt to bankrupt him over the same $3 million debt.

8 June 2005
MP abused on net
Jeremy Kelly

POLICE will investigate the anonymous posting of offensive comments on the internet about a state Labor MP and his family.

Lara MP Peter Loney said yesterday the material -- since removed -- was vile, defamatory and hurtful.

Appearing on a blog hosted by Labor identity and controversial business figure Andrew Landeryou, some of the anonymously contributed remarks contained references to Mr Loney's wife. Mr Loney said he had involved the police and his lawyers.

Mr Landeryou alleged yesterday the material was posted by state and federal political staff.

But in a statement, Mr Loney said he had authorised Parliament to search his computers for evidence of their being used to make postings to the site.

July 2 2005
Towering bids expected Hundreds sneak a peek at $1.4m mansion
Kylie Hansen

THE mansion where controversial businessman Andrew Landeryou and his wife Kimberley Kitching once lived will be auctioned today.

Agents expect the five-bedroom Parkville property -- complete with cigar room and tower -- to fetch up to $1.4 million.

Morleys real estate said the sale had attracted huge crowds, with 750 people sneaking a peek at the landmark home.

Mr Landeryou, a well-known ALP figure, and his wife, a former city councillor, lived in the imposing Park Drive property until the couple parted ways in the wake of business troubles, including a $3 million debt to retail giant Solomon Lew.

Ms Kitching filed for bankruptcy in April and Mr Lew had Ms Kitching evicted from the mansion in June as part of a bid to cover the $3 million debt.

Mr Landeryou left the country for five months earlier this year amid a probe into the failed Melbourne University student union. He was arrested on his return.

The property's agents, Morleys real estate, yesterday confirmed the sale had attracted massive crowds, with up to 200 people turning up to each inspection.

``We've had amazing interest in such an old, interesting property,'' said Morleys' director Glen Morley.
Mr Morley said many people wanted to peek inside the heritage-listed property, called Wardlow, but among those there was also a healthy number of serious bidders.

``We've had some members of the original family which owned the property through and a lot of locals who know it well,'' Mr Morley said.

The Italianate house includes a grand entrance hall, formal dining, drawing room, lounge and cigar room. A timber staircase leads to a landing that used to house the servants wing but is now a small bedroom.

One flight of stairs leads to four large bedrooms; another set leads to a tower that looks across the city and bay.

Mr Morley said people were realising the value of Parkville and that the mansion was very liveable. He said the original family had owned the property from 1888 until 1979 and since then there had been three more owners.

Mr Morley said he hoped bidding would start at $1.25 million.

July 3 2005
The Keyhole
Mike Bruce and Andrea Moss

Lew's vacated mansion goes to author $1.8m

THE Parkville mansion, from which Solomon Lew evicted former Melbourne councillor and voluntary bankrupt Kimberley Kitching, smashed expectations at yesterday's mortgagee's auction by Morleys Real Estate.

The 10-room Italianate house, which includes a cigar room and servant's quarters, fetched $1.84 million against a $1.25 million expected price.

It was bought by author Frank Golding and his wife, Liz, on behalf of daughter and son-in-law Lindy and Michael Golding, London lawyers who will return to Melbourne next year.

The Supreme Court recently lifted a caveat placed on the property by Kitching's estranged husband, Andrew Landeryou. Lew claims he is owed a $3 million business debt by Kitching, Landeryou and Landeryou's father, former state cabinet minister Bill Landeryou.

July 9 2005
An auction with the lot

A BUMPER crowd turned out to watch heritage-listed Parkville mansion Wardlow (above) auctioned last Saturday by Glen Morley.

They might have been looking for fireworks from Andrew Landeryou, the controversial husband of Wardlow's vendor, Kimberley Kitching.

But also among the 500-strong crowd were a couple of detectives from Carlton police station, ready to launch a peace-keeping mission if needed.

Wardlow was sold last week for $1.84 million to help pay off a $3 million debt to business heavyweight Solomon Lew, who is holidaying in Europe.

September 4 2006
Junior Libs accused of Jewish slur Anger at secret uni tape
Ellen Whinnett, state politics reporter

THE Liberal Party is fuming over an embarrassing scandal which has erupted at one of its junior off-shoots, the Melbourne University Liberal Club.

A secretly recorded tape of a meeting is alleged to have caught some university Liberal Club officials swearing, making anti-Semitic remarks and commenting on inciting tensions between Lebanon and Israel.

A club official has been forced to resign after being accused of leaking details about the scandal, but instead of going quietly, the woman fired off an angry email accusing the club of intimidating her.

An infuriated Liberal Party hierarchy has launched an investigation and disciplinary action could be taken against some members of the MULC who are also members of the Liberal Party.

While the two organisations are separate, there are a number of connections, including:

THE club secretary accused of making anti-Semitic remarks, Brendan Rowswell, works for Federal Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella.

THE woman alleged to have secretly recorded the meeting, former club vice-president Jayde Lovell, works at Liberal Party headquarters, Melbourne.

OTHER club members -- who are not the subject of any allegations -- work for Federal MP Tony Smith and Senator Mitch Fifield, both key allies of Federal Treasurer Peter Costello.

Ms Lovell claims she was forced to resign.

The scandal threatens to damage Liberal Party relations with important allies in the Jewish community and is a serious distraction with the state election just months away.

A transcript of the secret recording, posted on a political blog run by former Melbourne University official Andrew Landeryou, reveals Mr Rowswell is allegedly heard referring to the Australasian Union of Jewish Students' Michael Gubieski, as a ``little Jewish (expletive)''.

Mr Rowswell yesterday told the Herald Sun the comments had been improperly recorded and it was ``offensive, insulting and untrue'' to claim he was anti-Semitic.

``During a bitter, private discussion of factional university politics, where gratuitous comments were traded, I used crude language,'' Mr Rowswell said.

``It was not religiously motivated and I have apologised and my apology has been accepted by the person involved.''

Mr Rowswell said he was a strong supporter of Israel and was a member of two Jewish student organisations.

``What is offensive is that the notion of anti-Semitic inferences has been used in a partisan political way designed for no other purpose than to score an internecine political point,'' he said.

Club treasurer Courtney Dixon is alleged to have commented that the returning officer would boot out any ticket that incited tension over Israel and Lebanon and that ``we should incite something.''

Mr Dixon agreed yesterday he was the voice on the tape but would not answer any specific questions, saying he was busy.

Liberal Club president Andrew Campbell is alleged to have said at the meeting: ``We're not gonna go out and attack Jews -- just Gubieski.''

Mr Campbell's only comment yesterday was that he would have to check whether it was his voice on the tape.

The row centres on the Uni of Melbourne Student Union elections, which begin today.

Previously, the Union of Jewish Students and the Liberal Club were allies but fell out this year.

Mr Gubieski confirmed he was the person referred to in Mr Rowswell's comments.

``All I can say is that it is obviously very disappointing but I trust the Liberal Party will know how to take care of it,'' he said.

``I do believe I have been vilified but I am more concerned about the cultural problems at the Liberal Club.''

Liberal Party state director Julian Sheezel, who is Jewish, said an investigation had been launched.

``If those remarks are correct, then I am appalled and disgusted,'' he said.

May 26 2007
What price a mansion?
Nicole Lindsay and Ben Butler

TODAY'S auction of a three-level, four-bedroom, three-kitchen mansion on a big corner block in Parkville presents agent Tom Roberts of Nelson Alexander with a problem.

Mansions on Parkville's premium strip, Park Drive, don't come up often, so they are hard to value.

The most recent Park Drive one to go off at auction was heritage-listed Wardlow, home of failed businessman Andrew Landeryou and his wife, former City of Melbourne councillor Kimberly Kitching.

Rag trader Solomon Lew took back Wardlow two years ago over a $3 million debt and promptly auctioned it for $1.84 million.

Nearby, a 5000sq m package of land with a Victorian mansion was put up for sale by theological school Ridley College in November, but it is still on the market.

Ridley College business manager Darren Waterworth says a buyer was interested at about $7 million, but backed away.

Heritage-listed Royal Pde mansion Auld Reekie, passed in at $5 million last July, is in far better nick than the property on Park Drive that Roberts is auctioning today. The Park Drive pile has no heritage listing and has not been renovated.

It has been in the same family since 1918 and retains original architectural details, including hallway scrollwork, pressed-metal ceilings and wrought-iron lacework.

Roberts at first quoted $1.1 million plus, but after strong interest since listing he has increased his estimate to $1.2 million-plus, with a price of up to $1.4 million likely.

The auction is at noon.

August 24 2007
Green's sex swap hubby
Carly Crawford and Ellen Whinnett

GREENS candidate for Williamstown Janet Rice has told of her husband's decision to become a woman.
Cr Rice last night confirmed her partner's male-to-female gender transition after 17 years of marriage.
Cr Rice, endorsed by the Greens to contest ex-premier Steve Bracks' bayside seat, told the Herald Sun her husband, Peter Whetton, became Penelope four years ago.

``It was certainly challenging because we were happily married, but we are still happily married,'' she said.

``It's certainly been a big thing for us to go through but we got through it.

``Yes, we're still happily married, yes, we still love each other.''

A blog maintained by notorious Labor Party member Andrew Landeryou, son of former state MP Bill Landeryou, first published references to the situation several weeks ago when Cr Rice was endorsed by the Greens.

Cr Rice, a former Maribyrnong mayor, accepts that her run at Spring St has generated interest in her private life.

``That said, the main game is that I'm standing for parliament.

``I have a partner who is transgender and we're not hiding that but the main game is who I am.''

The couple's teenage sons, John and Leon, were ``very accepting'' of their dad's change, which she says has had little impact on her political fortunes.

``People know and it hasn't been an issue,'' Cr Rice said.

``We haven't hidden it at all and it's not an issue to people. The kids' footy club, they accept it.

``Maribyrnong is a fantastic place to live in accepting diversity and accepting that everyone is different.''

The Greens are extremely supportive of lesbian, homosexual, transgender and bisexual people and have specific policies aimed at firming up their rights in areas such as recognition of their relationships and financial security.

Ms Rice would not say whether Dr Whetton had undergone gender reassignment surgery.

``She socially transitioned four years ago but other than that, it's our private life.

``As far as the world is concerned, Peter became Penny four years ago. It's my private life.''

Cr Rice, who has taken leave from Maribyrnong Council while she campaigns, believes she will poll well at the September 15 by-election.

``I think there's an outside chance that I could win. I think it's a possibility because I think there's no such thing as a safe Labor seat any more.

``The Greens coming within a whisker of winning Melbourne at the last state election showed that to be the case.

``If I don't win, it will turn the seat into a Greens-Labor marginal so it will get the Labor Party to start paying attention.

``People want more than just nice words from the Labor Party, they want action.''

A keen cyclist, she describes transport as an ``absolute passion'' and wants Melbourne's outer suburbs better serviced by public transport.

Cr Rice has been a strong political performer for the Greens for many years.

She studied meteorology at university and entered politics in 1997 when she unsuccessfully ran for council twice before being elected in 2003.

Dr Whetton is a climate change researcher with the CSIRO. She has led its climate impact and risk research team since 2005.

November 15 2007
'Dirty' war of old and new Labor
Roger Franklin

EVEN beneath the white hair, and with his 60th birthday just weeks away, it takes only a glance to pick Gavan O'Connor for a man who was always going to put up a fight.

The federal member for Corio and Opposition spokesman on agriculture isn't tall, but he is barrel-chested, and when he plants his feet the stance is wide and the weight is on his toes, as if the martial arts aficionado might erupt and deliver a whirling, round-house kick.

And that, in a sense, is what he did two weeks ago when, to the dismay of his enemies in the Corio branch of the ALP, he announced he had no intention of handing over the seat he has held since 1993 to Richard Marles, 42, the ACTU lawyer he accuses of branch-stacking his way to preselection.

It was a moment the local political machine had been dreading -- a popular and well-known Labor identity going at it tooth and claw with a representative of what Marles himself terms ``the party's new generation''.

And now, quite literally, it is on for young and old. No manure spreader could fling the volume of dirt that is splattering about the shores of Corio Bay.

``Dirty?'' O'Connor said recently in the conference room of his office on Yarra St.

``Yes, it will be dirty -- I can't imagine it happening any other way.''

A day or two later, his would-be nemesis sipped a skinny flat white at a Ryrie St coffee shop and pointedly declined to address his opponent's alleged shortcomings.

``What I will say is that I'm very disappointed in Gavan,'' Marles said, ``and that the only winner as a result of his decision to stand as an independent is John Howard and the Liberal Party.''

Fact is, Marles has no need to be more pointed because his supporters are shovelling the muck that he won't touch, and they are moving it in industrial quantities.

Log on to the internet and visit The Other Cheek, the blog of gadfly and Marles supporter Andrew Landeryou, and you soon get an idea of what is being said in parts of the town where politics is viewed as a contact sport.

In post after post, there are aspersions on O'Connor's private life, charges he is abusing his MP mail allowance and, well, let's just say the list of alleged shortcomings and character flaws is ugly and growing longer by the day.

The vitriol is a matter of electoral mathematics.

O'Connor held Corio at the last election by about 6 per cent -- a comfortable margin in a two-horse race but, now that he is running as one of three contenders, it may well be preferences that decide who goes to Canberra.

If O'Connor gives his preferences to Liberal candidate Angelo Kakouros and the favour is returned, Marles's hopes could be dashed.

One of his supporters explains it thus: ``Say that O'Connor scores just under 30 per cent of the vote and actually outpolls Kakouros by a few points.

``Well, if the Liberal's preferences don't leak, then O'Connor is home.''

There are a lot of ``ifs'' in that scenario -- voters in Geelong, a strong union town, might not follow O'Connor's instructions.

It's entirely conceivable that affection for the incumbent might see a solid segment of the electorate make him their first pick, but then revert to the party line and award second preferences to Marles.

Ask just how and where he plans to direct his preferences and O'Connor, who is nobody's idea of shy, suddenly goes coy.

``My preferences? I'll decide that at the appropriate time,'' he promised.

About his opponent, the ``chicanery'' that stripped him of preselection and his willingness to embarrass ``old friend'' Kevin Rudd, he is anything but reticent.

``I have been urged to stay in this race by people who care about Geelong and who understand that this town needs an independent to clean it up,'' he said.

``In Geelong, what has been going on has an eerie resemblance to the circumstances on the Gold Coast, which became the subject of an intervention by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission and led to charges against a number of councillors.''

Given the way these things work, a tactful silence could have bought O'Connor a very nice retirement if Labor were to win government.

A comfy ambassadorship, an appointment to a panel or two, a low-stress junket -- that's how the system works.

But O'Connor -- the farmer's son still remembered around Colac, where he grew up, as the guitarist in the Recliner Rockers, allegedly the town's best-ever party band -- wasn't interested.

``Yeah, I could have walked away, accepted the fact that I was denied preselection and gone the golfing route,'' he began. ``I'm 59 years old and I've been in Parliament for 14 years, so I could easily have swallowed what happened without making waves.

``I have built a life outside politics. But I couldn't just take what happened in silence and, if you want a reason, well, one factor is the way I was raised: I don't get into a fight unless I'm committed to winning it, and I genuinely believe I can win this one.''

So does Marles, who reckons he has knocked on at least 10,000 doors since winning preselection.

His agenda is big-picture stuff, based on his conviction that suburban sprawl will eventually encircle all of Port Phillip Bay, making Geelong just one part of a megalopolis with Melbourne at its centre.

If his hometown isn't to be swallowed by development, he says a coherent industrial policy is needed to preserve local manufacturing jobs.

``It's been a bittersweet year,'' Marles said. ``The Cats won the flag, and that was terrific, something I wondered if I'd ever see in my lifetime.

``But we also had lots of bad news about lost jobs, starting with the 600 layoffs at Ford.

``We're at a crossroads, and we have to take the right path to preserve what we have down here -- the lifestyle and the character of the place, the viability of our industries -- and that's my priority, starting with a more activist industrial policy.''

By contrast, O'Connor's strategy embodies the age-old wisdom that all politics is local. When supporters talk about their town, words such as ``slush fund'', ``corruption'' and ``secret deals'' flow in torrents.

It's the sort of stuff that reads like the platform of a reform candidate aiming for a council seat, not a perch in Canberra -- and it prompts the Marles camp to pose a simple question: if O'Connor knew or suspected what he says is going on, why didn't he do something about it sooner?

His response is simple. As membership of the Corio ALP soared by more than 500 per cent -- branch stacking, by O'Connor's reckoning -- he put his energies into helping his party end 11 years in the wilderness and move off the Opposition benches.

``My first goal was always to get my party elected,'' he said. ``In power you can make things happen.''

Today, as he faces his toughest fight, that goal hasn't changed -- it's just that these days O'Connor belongs to a party of one.

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