Spiney Bob: Family members in $250m hermit row
THE heirs to the $250 million fortune of a Gold Coast hermit known as "Spiney Bob" are embroiled in a bitter legal stoush with allegations of "secret deals" with a developer and missing millions.
Grazier Nancy Warren, 32, who stands to inherit nearly 30 per cent of the empire, (the entirety of) which could be worth as much as a quarter of a billion dollars, is battling her uncle Alastair Loeskow, 70, from Bundaberg in the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
The pair are fighting over the cash which is set to be released as the Worongary land once owned by Robert "Spiney Bob" Anthes is developed by WA rich-lister Stan Perron and Gold Coast developer Ross Atkins.
The land is set to become a new Gold Coast suburb and be home to up to 10,000 people in what is tipped to be a $3.23 billion boost to the Queensland economy.
A key milestone is due to occur today (Dec 31) with a condition relating to "environmental offsets for koala habitat" to be satisfied, the court heard.
And the development - described as the largest piece of development land within reach of Surfers Paradise and Southport - is likely to start early next year (2018), according to comments Perron Group executive Ian Armstrong made to a lawyer in the case, the court heard.
Known as Pacific View Estate, it is close to the motorway linking Brisbane and the Gold Coast and the arterial road Hinkler Drive, and next to the suburbs of Highland Park and Gilston.
The developers website states it will be built over "ten years plus".
Mrs Warren, grand-niece of Spiney Bob, has asked the court to investigate her uncle's conduct in administering the estate of her grandmother, who inherited the land from Spiney Bob when he died 13 years ago aged 86.
The WWII veteran, reportedly a crack sniper who turned into a recluse after the war, lived in caves and sheds on the property and defended his land with guns and an axe.
The court heard Spiney Bob only got his first Medicare card about four months before he died so he could be treated in the Gold Coast hospital.
When Bob died, he owed "over $500,000" to the Gold Coast City Council for unpaid rates on the land.
Mrs Warren accuses Mr Loeskow of doing a "secret deal" with developer Ross Atkins, and suspects Mr Loeskow of misappropriating $2.2 million.
She has asked the court to order Mr Loeskow be removed as executor of the will of her grandmother, Nancy Loeskow, who died aged in her 90s in May 2008.
Mrs Warren, who lives on a 4600 acre cattle property in Booyal near Childers with her husband, told the court she had a "deep mistrust" of Mr Loeskow.
Spiney Bob's fortune is split between six heirs - Mrs Warren, Mr Loeskow, her other uncle Fred Loeskow, and a John Mansfield, 81, from Duck Creek, NSW, 83-year-old Noama Kellaway from Killarney and Gordon Cecil, from Warwick.
Mrs Warren and her two uncles get 30 per cent each while the other relatives get 3.3 per cent each.
Mrs Warren told the court she was forced to hire private investigators to track down the other heirs, as Mr Loeskow wouldn't tell her where they lived.
Mrs Warren claims Mr Loeskow blocked her "because of his fear of the beneficiaries collaborating over his failure to make proper interim distributions in the estate".
Mrs Warren has so far received only $720,000 from the estate, even though the estate received $5.5 million in June 2006 from a partial-sale of the land, she told the court.
Further payments are due to be made to the heirs once the land comes on the market, with real estate agents approached about marketing a year ago.
Mrs Warren is supported in her application by her uncle Fred Loeskow.
"I know (Ms Warren) to be a very capable young woman and a person of integrity," Mr Loeskow told the court.
Fred told the court that he had "long been concerned" about his brother's conduct as executor of their mother's estate.
"I was concerned that he had secret dealings, a lack of transparency in his dealings, a lack of accountability and poor judgment," Mr Loeskow wrote in his affidavit filed in court in November.
"Whenever I would call (Alastair) he was evasive and secretive," Fred Loeskow wrote.
He told the court that during tense negotiations to sell the property in 2004 he believed Mr Atkins had tried to "scare" him by "squeezing me in a bear hug for about 40 seconds".
Fred claims Mr Atkins told him in 2005 that Mrs Warren's mother Gwynfa "Gwen" Harrett was "the enemy, not Alastair. We want to get rid of Gwen".
Fred claims his brother told him in 2005 that 'Gwen will get nothing of this', referring to the Worongary property.
Gwen committed suicide in March 2006, with her estate going to her daughter, Mrs Warren.
Mrs Warren's lawyer Warwick Marler told the court that Mr Loeskow had not given an "explanation" of "what happened to … $2.2 million" of the $5.5m cash paid for the development in June 2006.
Mr Marler said that Mrs Warren "had long been concerned about secret dealings between" Mr [Alastair] Loeskow and Mr Atkins.
Alastair Loeskow's lawyers told Mr Marler in 2005 that "there is absolutely no private agreement between our client and Mr Atkins".
Mr Marler told the court that Mr Loeskow's former lawyer had told him in 2005 that Mr Atkins "has poisoned" Mr Loeskow.
"I took this mean that (Mr Loeskow) was taking the advice of Mr Atkins in preference to " his lawyers advice, Mr Marler told the court.
When Mrs Warren asked Alastair's lawyers in July this year if they would agree to her being appointed co-administrator of the estate with Alastair, they replied it was unnecessary because her complaints related to events that occurred "many years ago" and appointing another administrator would be costly to the estate.
In October Mr Loeskow's lawyers told Mr Marler that litigation would be "costly and distracting … at this important stage".
Lawyers for Mrs Warren and Mr Loeskow did not return calls.
When contacted by The Sunday Mail Mr Loeskow and his brother Fred declined to comment, saying they knew little about the case but said it was progressing.
The case returns to court on April 24.
SPINEY BOB'S PROPERTY