Franks' family feud scales the heights

What terrible things happened in the brief two year period before their relationship became irretrievably broken in May 2011 we may never know, but fashion designer Camilla Franks and her father Bill Franks seem determined to document the fallout down to its last detail.

Forget about airing the dirty laundry, these feuders have basically scaled the Paddington Town Hall and erected a rotating digital billboard!

As revealed in this place earlier this year, the stoush comes down to the ownership of the high-profile Camilla fashion empire and a number of Vaucluse apartments.

Bill Franks was unceremoniously walked from the Camilla HQ in 2011, when he was allegedly found to have transferred almost $1 million from the company’s accounts to another outfit called BNC Investments, which he controlled. (He denies these allegations.)


It was four days ago that Camilla Franks was at the centre of a kaftan-themed knees-up at Curtis Stone’s Los Angeles eatery Gwen, celebrating the opening of stores in Orange County and Miami with her pals Tammin Sursok, Ashleigh Brewer and model Ash Hart.

But back in Sydney, just a few days earlier, her lawyers at Speed and Stracey were lodging Supreme Court filings alleging Bill Franks shouldn’t have control of his share of the company — valued at around $32.5 million — partly because he was “a domineering father”.

Not only that but he “was in a position of ascendancy over Camilla” who was at that time reliant on his advice, making her decision to hand him a quarter of the company void, they allege.

Among the long line of Sydney feuds, painstakingly presented here, this showdown makes the Arnaout hotellier family stoush sound like a certified love-in.

Track circular


It’s taken some time for our friends down in Bleak City to discover that competition with Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys isn’t the sort of glacial jousting (the euphemism, of course, being “gentlemanly”) they had become accustomed to over the years.

If the $14 million Everest race day wasn’t warning enough, the arrival of the $7.5 million Golden Eagle on the same day as Melbourne hosts Derby Day should have been.

It took one of the few female executives at Racing Victoria to come up with something half as exciting for punters as the big money events V’landys and his Australian Turf Club mate Jamie Barkley had begun to roll out in the last two years.

The inaugural $5 million All Star Mile at Flemington ran for the first time in March.

Then, for reasons unknown, the woman who came up with the whole thing departed.

Racing Victoria’s chief commercial officer Jane Ballantyne has been made redundant.

Or as one racing industry source told CBD: “Victoria has struggled to keep pace with V’Landys over the past few years and it looks like they’ve given up trying.''

We’re told Ballantyne’s job disappeared after it was split between Racing Victoria chief financial officer Aaron Morrison and recently-arrived corporate affairs boss Carly Dixon.

Here’s hoping Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson (a Male Champion of Change) gets the house in order, particularly considering the Spring Racing Carnival is but six months away.

From the stands

And while the campaign for the NSW Labor leadership, between water spokesman Chris Minns and transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay got under way on Saturday, who was enjoying the V’landys-provided hospitality at Royal Randwick?

Former opposition leader Michael Daley, champagne in hand, watching Anthony Cummings-trained Prince Fawaz take out the 1400m over favourite Reloaded.

Channel surfing

With some fondness — and some irritation — we recall asking our friends at the ABC in mid-April about the possibility of Sky News Australia political editor David Speers becoming the new host of Insiders, with filming likely to move to Aunty's Canberra bureau.

“Sounds like pretty wild speculation,” one said.

Now we’re told former Weekend Today host Peter Stefanovic is bound for the Sky News bureau – not just for the well-publicised Lawyer X project about the life of Melbourne defence barrister Nicola Gobbo – but to host the channel’s morning show.

Could Stefanovic be announced as part of the First Edition team alongside Sky News stalwart Laura Jayes as early as Monday? It would certainly explain the glowing write-up of the former Nine journalist in The Sunday Telegraph in which he "revealed his shame" after a secret recording of him and his brother Karl made by an Uber driver picked up their thoughts on some of their closest colleagues.

Meanwhile, guess who (don’t sue) — which Nine News reporter was spotted dining with Sky News Australia’s news editor Chris Willis last week?

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