Three mothers fight over party boy's $30m will, the one with a smiley-face
Life and times: Cade Dallas with his wife Veny Amelia and son Keanu. Photo: Supplied
WHEN former surf clothing entrepreneur and "Bra Boy" gang member Cade Dallas was found dead in Bali after a drink and drugs binge, nobody close to him was surprised.
What was unexpected was the fierce legal battle his death last May unleashed across two countries between Dallas's mother and his wife (on behalf of their son), for a share of an estate she says is worth $30 million.
The fight - over cash, property, and one of Bali's most successful clothing chains, Somewhere - has so far been aired in the Australian High Court, the Denpasar District Court in Bali and the South Australian Supreme Court.
The elusive will.
It has also led to pressure on Bra Boy leader Koby Abberton, a good friend of the dead man, to fulfil the Sydney surf gang's code - to be his brother's keeper.
When Dallas died, he left behind a thriving business, two children to different women, and a will scrawled on a piece of upside-down notepaper, witnessed by a friend who cannot be located and garnished with a smiley-face.
The will, if it can legally be considered one, states that his whole estate - cash and company - should be divided equally between his two sons.
Mother Kerrie Dallas. Photo: Supplied
But when one of the mothers, Dallas's wife Veny Amelia, tried to ensure their son, Keanu, 9, had access to some of the money, she met strong resistance from her mother-in-law.
In September Cade's mother Kerrie Dallas, a sometime NSW resident, sued successfully in the Denpasar District Court to be able to withdraw a large amount of money from his eight bank accounts.
Documents from that court show that she swore her son had left no will. The money, she testified, would "be immediately divided equally between [Cade Dallas's first son, who Fairfax Media has chosen not to name] and Keanu". It was to be used "for their further educational expenses".
But in a series of emails she had sent to Ms Amelia the previous month, Mrs Dallas seemed to contradict both points - firstly she claimed there was a will, and secondly, that it directed the money into trust accounts so the boys "will not receive the money until they are 30 years old". Asked by Ms Amelia via email for a copy of the will, Mrs Dallas replied: "I will not show you the will you have no right to see it".
"I explained everything to you about the business when it is sold the boys will get 1/3 of it each until then it is mine I will not tell you where the banks are youare (sic) making me very cranky and annoyed."
The email went on: "this is the last time I will discuss this with you if you keep going on about it I will give you nothing I am doing
what the will stated and that is all and you were not mentioned in the will at all".
In the Denpasar court, Mrs Dallas testified that both the children's mothers had given her written authority to withdraw the money from Cade's bank accounts because he had died without a will.
Ms Amelia agrees that she signed an authority because she had trusted her mother-in-law and took no legal advice. But she withdrew the authority before Mrs Dallas had used it in the Denpasar Court.
Nevertheless, months later, in December, the court approved Kerrie Dallas's petition.
Ms Amelia says that, since then, Mrs Dallas has given none of the money to Keanu. She believes Mrs Dallas is spending it on herself, including by renting a villa in Bali's Seminyak. When Fairfax Media visited, bystanders confirmed "Mrs Kerrie" lived in the two-bedroom villa with a pool, and that it was rented for about $13,000 a year.
Mrs Dallas also appears to be running the clothing business. Employees at the company's factory denied she was the owner (it's difficult for foreigners to own companies in Indonesia), but a cheque on the desk had her signature on it and they referred to her as "the boss".
Ms Amelia, Indonesian-born and long-time resident in Bali, now living in Adelaide, has seen her mother-in-law a number of times since Cade's death.
"She's very changed now," Ms Amelia says. "Money makes someone look different, for sure."
She and young Keanu moved to Adelaide last August - Keanu is an Australian citizen and she a permanent resident, having been sponsored by her late husband. They are surviving on welfare.
"She's Keanu's grandmother … It's really unbelievable.''
Ms Amelia has applied through the High Court to assert her sole guardianship over Keanu, which sent the matter to the SA Supreme Court. She wants a declaration from the judge that, as the natural mother she should be Keanu's sole guardian, giving her a clear right to part of the estate for his welfare.
She is also hoping that, if a more official will exists, someone will come forward with it.
Here mother-in-law, Kerrie Dallas, however, applied at one point in Indonesia to become an heir under Islamic law, which, if there is no will, entitles her to one-third of the estate. And after first agreeing to the jurisdiction of the SA courts, she is now arguing the case should be heard in Indonesia.
Through her solicitor Ms Amelia has asked for the help of Abberton - himself a surf clothing and tattoo parlour mogul in Bali.
In October last year Abberton replied to the request via Facebook, saying: "Yeah bra im here whenever u need anything .. keanu with us bra". But no help has been forthcoming and Abberton has made it clear since that none will.
Abberton and Mrs Dallas both ignored numerous requests for comment from Fairfax Media.
Ms Amelia says her late husband had a dangerous habit of bingeing on the drug ice (known in Indonesia as shabu shabu), heroin and alcohol, and a love life best described as byzantine.
He converted to Islam and married Ms Amelia in 2002 and they divorced in 2006. Later they wed again, but during their marriage Dallas also had numerous girlfriends and later a live-in mistress in Denpasar, and was rarely home.
Nevertheless, according to Ms Amelia, "every time he got drunk and felt like he can't handle it any more he come home to me … And he always told me, Veny, I've already made a will for the children if I go."
The case is listed in the SA Supreme Court next month.