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Shareholder tackles Toll's 'donkey-romp' saga

UNDER new captain Brian Kruger the Toll team kicked fewer goals last year than it did in the year before, when long-time managing director Paul Little was chaired off the field.

But it's the team's off-field behaviour, rather than Kruger's swingeing writedowns, that had at least one shareholder concerned at the transport group's annual meeting on Friday.

Shareholder Bruce Rogers tackled Kruger (right) on the "donkey-romp" saga earlier this year, in which several senior executives were caught on camera wearing aprons with penises on them at a business meeting.

One apron-wearing executive was also captured apparently simulating a sexual act with a small stuffed donkey.

Referring to coverage of the episode on the front page of The Age on August 30, Rogers said: "The story included a photograph of one of the Toll executives, who made a conscious decision to wear a lewd apron.

"It was a decision that I think Brendan Fevola would have made. And we all know what Carlton did to Brendan Fevola.


"I am wondering why the executive made the decision to wear this apron and is he still with Toll?"

CBD would point out that, between 2001 and 2008, Fev allegedly attacked a uni student with a fire extinguisher, attempted to steal jackets from a dry cleaner, failed to turn up to training after copping a shiner at Crown Casino, was sent home from a tour of Ireland after assaulting a barman, separated from his wife after it emerged he had been having an affair with swimsuit model Lara Bingle, urinated on a nightclub window, and was photographed carrying a dildo through Melbourne in post-season celebrations.

Despite all that, Carlton didn't get rid of him until 2009, when ugly drunken scenes at the Brownlow awards forced the club's hand.

So perhaps Carlton is not quite the role model Toll shareholders are looking for when it comes to footy-club culture.

Nonetheless, Kruger's response could be used as a template by any coach faced with the fallout from a star player's indiscretions.

He said wearing the apron was "inappropriate" and there had been "a very thorough investigation into all of the things that happened during that night.

"The people involved have had disciplinary action. We've reinforced training across the group.

"I think both the investigation and result of surveys convinced me that this isn't an issue endemic to Toll."

Biomedical battle

THE battle for Bioxyne has already claimed the scalp of one director, with biomedical veteran Dr Doug Wilson quitting on Friday.

More directors face the music tomorrow, when shareholders meet in Sydney to consider competing proposals for the company's future from its two biggest shareholders.

Octa Phillips, which has 20 per cent of Bioxyne, wants to boot two directors, give up on the company's flagship treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, aka smoker's cough, and try something else.

Founder Phillip Comans, who has 8 per cent, wants directors associated with Octa kicked off the board and development of the medicine to continue. Octa reckons that because the treatment, HI-1640V, failed all its tests — including one designed by Wilson — the whole thing should be abandoned.

"We were very disappointed that [Octa-aligned director] Jeremy Curnock Cook and Octa basically made up their minds that the product was worthless immediately when the results came out," Comans told CBD.

Comans thinks positive results from sifting through data from the failed tests warrant an additional study, focusing on people who have chronic bronchitis along with their COPD.

Octa reckons it isn't worth it and has doubts about the statistical validity of the re-analysis.

"As far as statistics go we've had this reviewed by the guy who's professor of statistics at Sydney University — he's a very very well-respected statistician," Comans said.

Rebels in the ranks

THEY lost a bid to stop a dilutive capital raising, but rebel shareholders at Golden Gate Petroleum have set up a new encampment and plan a fresh attack on the of the company.

An action group has been set up, claiming to represent 20 per cent of the share capital, and is plotting to remove non-executive directors Frank Brophy and Frank Petruzelli.

The rebels reckon that over the past nine years, Golden Gate has lost $80.1 million — or $24,350 a day. They're also concerned that a deficiency of current assets could cause a cash crunch, and they're not convinced the company's leases in Texas are rock-solid files.