Deposed former editor of the Herald Sun Bruce Guthrie sits atop a financial house of cards due to his champagne lifestyle according to well informed sources.
The former journalist – whose best buddies include multimillionaire ASIC investigation target Eric Beecher and sleazy Age gossip columnist Lawrence Money – reportedly purchased a $4 million Hawthorn property near Scotch College earlier this year and not yet settled it.
At risk is a deposit of around $400,000.
NINE GRAND A WEEK IF YOU DON’T MIND
Sent to Melbourne on a mighty salary of $450,000 per annum, Guthrie has lived large ever since on Rupert Murdoch’s dime.
He has built a financial house of cards some believe could fall despite marrying into loot.
VEXNEWS has obtained details of the luxury Hawthorn property occupied by “Bollinger Bruce”, currently listed on realestate.com.au at $2000 per week. The photographs offer a glimpse into his opulent lifestyle.
WE ARE FAMILY
The Guthries had turned working for “the Man” into a family business – we are told – as Bruce had appointed his wife Jan to become the Herald-Sun’s food editor, in charge of one of those absurdly high-end lifestyle supplements that symbolised Bollinger Bruce’s attempt to introduce the fine art of latte sipping to Herald Sun readers in Moe and St Albans.
Jan – whose surnames at last count appear to include Inger, Guthrie and Applegren – worked three days a week and enjoyed the benefit of her very own personal assistant, who ensured all Guthrie family errands were not interrupted by rigours of wine-tasting or the hardship of cruising Melbourne’s inner city tapas bars.
Jan and Bruce’s offspring have thrived in this environment of gilded gauchery. Their eldest has kicked on and set to take high office at Melbourne’s most expensive elite private school for girls in Toorak, St Catherine’s.
How did it all go wrong, wonder Guthrie’s troubled creditors.
WHY DO PEOPLE PERSIST IN POKING PETER?
Guthrie’s appointment two years ago came as something of a shock to old school Herald Sun hands. Bollinger Bruce was very much a Sydney imposition – apparently from Supreme News Ltd Leader John Hartigan – on the very successful Melbourne operation.
Bruce wasted no time in offending a patriot whose long service and dedication to the newspaper has won him many admirers, Peter Blunden. We understand that Blunden believed Guthrie to be a “clueless wanker” who was “massively out of his depth” and was “one of the greatest frauds in journalism”. Other descriptions involve profanity beyond our normal levels of tolerance.
Blunden, a former editor who positioned the Herald Sun as one of the strongest newspapers of its kind in the English speaking world, has a lot of credibility in the News Limited family. And if he thinks you are a “wanker”, chances are everyone else is going to think that too. And so it was with Bollinger Bruce, as he made repeated errors of the kind we have considered here before.
LIFESTYLE’S TRIUMPH OVER NEWS
Guthrie’s attempt to bring in a “Fairfax culture” horrified many Herald Sun observers, including this one. Lifestyle was shamelessly prioritised over news. He made little effort to disguise his contempt for the past success of the Herald Sun and was caught out a couple of times disparaging Herald Sun readers in the outer suburbs.
Other decisions have cause considerable lamentation, including the hiring of Jill Baker, a lefty who once edited the Sunday Age at a time where it appeared to be challenging Green Left Weekly in the not-so-sought-after market segment of revolutionary zeal. She is understood to be contemplating departure.
Another key ally of Bollinger Bruce’s was Shane Bourke, whose casting couch heroics became the stuff of legend. Much as he’d miss the ladies, he too is thought to be contemplating leaving before being sacked. Bourke was once an ally of the Blunden but he is believed to now “want him dead.”
Little wonder Guthrie left on such bad terms, refusing to work out his contractual notice period and – so far at least – refusing to return the company car. Rupe’s repo men could be on their way. His wife also left in solidarity, potentially depriving the newspaper’s readers of the latest news on Melbourne’s best bruscetta or zestiest pesto.
New editor Simon Pristel has refocused the newspaper on news already, pulling off coups with exclusives on the Dean Mighell she-male saga and with Rita Theophanous. Not to be outdone, the new Sunday Herald Sun editor Damon Johnston did well with the story of injured footballer Graham Polak.
As their supreme leader Rupert Murdoch has been reminding them in his fascinating Boyer Lectures, there is a future in newspapers and news publications in whatever medium. Its future lies in fearlessly reporting the news, not the latte sipper opinions and lifestyle pap of people like Bruce Guthrie.