Court Hears How Gerry Harvey Tried To Nobble A Terminally ill Woman
He’s worth billions, and he spends millions buying up horses. But despite all this wealth, Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey still decided to try to evict a terminally ill woman who was living in a property owned by G Harvey Nominees, Mr Harvey’s sole shareholder trust.
It appears he could not bring himself to let the woman spend her last days in a property the billionaire owned.
To make matters worse, a court has been told the woman’s late husband, Garry Dent, worked as a contractor for Mr Harvey for 15 years, on $5500 per month without superannuation or benefits.
After Gerry Harvey delivered the eulogy at his funeral, where he spoke fondly of the longstanding friendship and thanked Mr Dent for his work over the decades. He then moved to take back the property from the man’s widow, Peggy Luker.
Court documents show Peggy Luker is suing G Harvey Nominees, Mr Harvey’s sole shareholder trust, after negotiations broke down in June last year when Mr Harvey personally visited the property uninvited
He proposed she move to public housing. When he realised this was not going to happen, Ms Luker received a formal eviction notice from lawyers informing her she had two months to vacate the property and would be liable for any damage.
Ms Luker said her husband was “foolish with money” and terrible at record-keeping, but reassured her the property was secure on a number of occasions, after the couple made the decision to move from lower north shore Cremorne in Sydney to Kurrajong in the capital’s north-west.
Harvey’s trust bought the block of land in Kurrajong in the 1970s, but after it sat idle for decades, he enlisted his old friend Mr Dent to subdivide, build and sell houses on the land.
The two men had been friends for more than 50 years and had done a number of property deals together.
In the late 1990s, Harvey asked Dent to become a contractor for Harvey Norman’s retail operation, although the extent and value of this work is now being contested.
A spokeswoman for Harvey declined to comment: “There will be no comment whilst the case is before the court. Any comment by either party could prejudice the proceedings.”
Seven years ago, Ms Luker had a kidney transplant, and her body rejected the organ but the medication to retain the kidney caused her to develop skin cancers.
She does not have any children or immediate family and is suffering chronic health problems.
Ms Luker has been told there is “nothing more” the doctors can do to prevent the cancers from spreading to other parts of her body.
“The thought of having to move my stuff again is just frightening … I don’t have anything. I’m on a pension. I would end up on the street,” Ms Luker told Nine Media.
Information before the court reveal that around 2002, Mr Harvey asked Mr Dent to relocate to Kurrajong to oversee the development of an eco-village that involved building houses on 15 plots of land over more than 100 acres amid a nature reserve. “If we make a lot of money out of it, I’ll give you some,” Mr Harvey states in his affidavit.
Gerry Harvey claims he first became aware that Ms Luker understood the property to be hers after Mr Dent’s death – the same time Ms Luker discovered the property was still under the name of Mr Harvey’s trust.
Over the past four years, there have been various unsuccessful approaches to settle the dispute. When Mr Harvey personally visited the property with another man in June last year in a last-ditch effort to persuade her to move out, Ms Luker felt stressed and asked them to leave.
“Maybe you can get into a housing commission or something. Surely you have a Plan B?” Mr Harvey said, according to his affidavit.