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John Hewson facing legal action

It looks like John Hewson’s short stint as chairman of property fund manager, Equiti Capital, did not end well.

Equiti is suing the former Liberal Party leader, but both sides are shy about revealing what exactly has triggered the legal action more than two years after Hewson's departure.

The hired help for both parties were due before the Supreme Court on Monday.

‘‘I would not wish to comment in view of the pending court case, nor would Equiti Capital Ltd,’’ says executive director Richard Arnold.

Hewson told CBD: ‘‘It is a commercial dispute that will be vigorously defended.’’

Hewson spent just 10 months on the board. He resigned on May 30, 2012, according to documents lodged with ASIC. 


Hewson is one of four former Equiti directors who resigned en masse in what appears to be a falling out with company founder and get-rich-quick promoter, Danny Assabgy - who has previously gone by the name Danny Hanna.

CBD assumes Hewson was attracted to Assabgy's strong background in property development.

Assagby’s previous venture, Morgan Pacific Property Group, went into administration nine years ago with debts of more than $13 million.

According to reports at the time, Assagby - then known as Hanna - had a get-rich-quick sales pitch linked to property schemes which sold via a lavish lifestyle and television appearances.

The ACCC had previously taken Morgan Pacific to the Federal Court alleging misleading and deceptive conduct in promoting property investment seminars in 2004 called ``YOU! A Property Millionaire''. The court ruled in July 2005 that Morgan Pacific had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.

AFL win

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has scored an important victory over the fourth estate after the code won a bid to defer an industrial dispute - on whether its journalists are actually journalists - until after the grand final.

A hearing between the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the AFL has been scheduled for October 13 and 14 - enough time for everyone to recover from the big weekend in September.

The media union had applied to the Fair Work Commission for a collective agreement covering the editorial staff of AFL Media who provide content to the popular AFL website and apps. 

The media unit - established in 2011 - now has more than 100 employees, including journalists, editors and producers.  The MEAA says employees decided they "wanted more transparency and clarity in how their wages and conditions are being set, rather than being on individual contracts".

We assume a salary cap is not on the agenda.

McLachlan told 3AW recently: "I think it's a bit of teething pains about bringing a group of editorial staff into a different environment. That's the challenge, about whether they are working in sports administration or whether they're journalists." 

Hmmm, try asking if any of them have reported on any AFL scandals, or topics like ASADA and Essendon, that should sort the journos from the ''administrators''. 

CBD has to admit to a little envy though. The AFL is particularly flush as far as media employers go. It is part-way through its record $1.25 billon broadcast deal with Seven West Media (Channel Seven), Foxtel and Telstra.

Apollo liftoff?

With Nine Entertainment due to release its full-year results on August 28 investors might want to keep an eye on major shareholders Apollo and Oaktree, which will then be able to sell their collective 338 million shares. 

Apollo might be especially twitchy. It has just announced plans to raise a new fund to bet against corporate credit as concerns grow over deteriorating debt markets, according to reports. 

‘‘All the danger signs are there of a future crisis,’’ one of Apollo's founders, Marc Rowan, told a conference recently. ‘‘We’re back to doing exactly the same things that were done in the credit markets during the crisis.’’

The document for the fund says its potential money-making targets include Genworth Financial, which could be susceptible to real- estate risk in Australia.

Does that mean the Australian market in general is not seen as a good bet? 

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