Sydney's so-called bar tsar, Justin Hemmes, has become entangled in a drawn-out argument with the builder of his mega-club, The Ivy.
The dispute, understood to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, relates to "variations" to the original contract between Hemmes and the building company, Lucas Stuart, during construction of the George Street booze barn.
On its website, Lucas Stuart talks about how challenging the award-winning project was to complete: "Ivy's construction challenges included extremely tight access (everything had to come in via a narrow city lane), complex design and tight timetable.
The first bars and restaurants opened shortly after Christmas 2007 after just over a year of construction." Equally challenging, The Diary understands, was dealing with the numerous changes of mind that Hemmes had about aspects of the club during construction, which led to additional costs.
While Hemmes's company, Merivale, has paid for some of them, he is in disagreement with the builder about others.
The two parties are trying to resolve their differences but it looks as though the argument is heading for the courts. Hemmes wasn't available for comment.
--------------------------------------------------------------------GOT A TIP? Contact email@example.com or 92822179.--------------------------------------------------------------------
NOT AS EASY AS ABC
2GB's Alan Jones likes to remind his audience that he regularly rubs shoulders with powerful people. So it was when he spoke on Friday morning to Senator John Faulkner , the Special Minister of State, who was setting off on his fourth Oxfam Trailwalker charity event held in Victoria at the weekend. Jones said that he and Faulkner go a long way back: "I know this bloke quite well." Not well enough, it seems, to recall how to spell his name. Explaining to his audience how to sponsor the senator on Oxfam's website, Jones helpfully spelt out his surname: "F-a-l-c-o-n-e-r." Thankfully, he got his team name right, the Tigers. The error didn't seem to affect sponsorship, however. Faulkner and his trekking colleagues raised more than $15,000.
IT'S TIME TO GO
A senior feature writer at The Australian, Elisabeth Wynhausen, is the latest to be told she has been made redundant at the newspaper. Wynhausen, who had farewell drinks on Friday at The Clarendon hotel, joins D.D. McNicoll who was called into the office of editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell, on Thursday afternoon, the day before his 60th birthday, to be told he no longer had a job after 35 years at News Ltd. McNicoll, we are told, walked straight out the door without bothering to clear his desk, prompting two colleagues, David King and Michelle Gunn, to rush to ensure he didn't leave the building alone. Other redundancies at the The Oz include an online subeditor and former sports editor, Scott Coomber, and a Melbourne photographer, Richard Cisar-Wright. A former Daily Telegraph photographer, David Motte, who worked in the imaging department, also lost his job.
REGAL REBA'S KITCHEN
Reba Meagher's Coogee apartment remains on the market two weeks after the real estate agent marketing it told this column he was confident it would sell. So what better way to entice prospective buyers inside than boost its online appeal? Reba's pad has this week become an "extra large 3 bedroom apartment located in a hot position". We are also treated to a rare look inside the former health minister's bedroom and living room, resplendent with gold-trimmed curtains and gilt-edged wall mirrors and picture frames - all very regal. But offering by far the best insight is the kitchen. In an echo of the Julia Gillard kitchen controversy, there is not a utensil in sight, save for a lonely-looking Alessi kettle keeping the stove company. Perhaps all that eating out at nightclubs is to blame.
HELL OF AN EXCUSE
Australia's world-conquering musical export AC/DC may play a role in global politics at this week's G20 meeting in London. The band is being blamed by the former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek for influencing an ill-timed comment he made about Barack Obama's plan to tackle the global economic crisis. Topolanek, who was forced to resign last week after losing a no-confidence vote, was heavily criticised for saying the US plan was "a road to hell" - potentially souring EU-US relations at the summit. Czech media reported Topolanek told a TV program afterwards: "AC/DC played in Prague last week. And their cult song Highway To Hell may have prompted me to use 'road to hell'."A BIG DAY FOR JULIA GILLARD
WITH the boss out of the country, and after taking a grilling on morning television over the Joel Fitzgibbon affair, the acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, spent part of yesterday hobnobbing with the likes of James and Erica Packer at the Melbourne Grand Prix. Others trackside included the Virgin boss, Richard Branson, the singer-actor Dannii Minogue and the singer Leo Sayer. But Delta Goodrem was a mystery no-show, reportedly pulling out of her national anthem duties because of a sore throat.WHAT'S ON TODAY
* Logie nominations announced in Sydney
* High Court to deliberate on challenge to $900 tax bonus
* National broadband network inquiry due to report in Canberra
* Snow Patrol perform in Sydney
* State Government to release its response to the Garling report into NSW's health systemSTAY IN TOUCH ...
WITH HORSE FLESH
THE Easter racing carnival starts this weekend with 600 guests at a cocktail party and a parade of horse flesh at the Inglis-owned Newmarket at Randwick on Thursday. This will be followed on Sunday by the annual Inglis Australian Easter yearling sales. Despite the economic crisis, horse-traders are trumpeting strong international interest.
A ticket to a luxury marquee for Derby Day - Easter Saturday this year - has nothing on the Easter sales marquees put on by the big horse studs to wine and dine prospective buyers - who last year splashed out almost $150 million.
This year 600 horses have been drafted for sale, including the first foal of the equine legend Makybe Diva, from her owner Tony Santic. Off the turf, the hot ticket at this year's knees-up will be the marquee for Darley Stud, in Scone, which will court the mega-bucks end of the market. The stud owner, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, pictured, will be represented by John Ferguson. Other international guests include Angus Gold, who buys for Sheik Hamdan, and the champion Hong Kong trainer John Moore, buying for the casino mogul Stanley Ho. The local horse traders attending on Sunday include John Symond, of Aussie Home Loans fame, the mining young gun Nathan Tinkler, the former Crown casino boss Lloyd Williams, the publishing magnate Peter Horwitz, the retailer Gerry Harvey and the broadcaster Alan Jones.
Matt Rudolph, commercial development manager for the Inglis stables, said he expected sales would be down this year, representing a good time for new buyers to enter the market.
"We have the best catalogue assembled, in the worst economic climate."
WITH STATUESQUE ACHIEVEMENT
THE budget has already been slashed for May's show and today's Logie Awards nominations announcement will be a cut-price affair compared with previous years, when celebrities and media gathered for a sit-down breakfast at Luna Park. Today's event will be held in a cinema complex at Fox Studios and will be hosted by the Channel Nine personalities Jules Lund and Natalie Gruzlewski. New faces are expected after the success of drama series such as Underbelly and Packed To The Rafters. On Thursday another statue recipient, the Oscar-winning Australian animation director, Adam Elliot, will be at the Cremorne Orpheum for the premiere of his latest cinematic offering, Mary And Max. The story of a pen-pal friendship between a chubby eight-year-old Melbourne girl and an obese 44-year-old with Asperger's syndrome living in New York, the animation has the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman, Toni Collette, Eric Bana and Barry Humphries. Saturday, meanwhile, marks what would have been the 30th birthday of posthumous Oscar-winner, Heath Ledger, pictured.
WITH THE RATINGS RACE
SEVEN increased its lead on rivals Nine and Ten in last week's TV ratings. It drew a 28.6 per cent audience share, 2.5 per cent more than Nine (compared with 1.6 per cent the previous week) and 5.5 per cent more than Ten. Underbelly was the most watched program, with just over 2 million viewers last week, followed by a slew of Seven's programs - including Packed To The Rafters, Find My Family and Border Security. Twelve of the top 20 programs screened on the Seven network. The ABC also enjoyed a modest increase in its audience share, up 0.2 per cent to 17 per cent, thanks again to strong performances from the panel shows Spicks and Specks, (1.2 million viewers) and The Gruen Transfer (1.1 million).