PREDATORS UNITE: Sol Lew rescues accused flirt-merchant Mark McInnes with $100K per week

lewlooterDisgraced corporate-predator Sol Lew – who narrowly avoided a prison sentence after taking tens of millions of dollars from public company Coles Myer to prop up his then tottering empire in the infamous Yannon transaction – has hired disgraced accused sex-predator and ex-David Jones boss Mark McInnes to run his young womens’ apparel business on a salary package of $5.2 million per annum.

GST GREED
The billionaire Lew recently further damaged public regard for himself by demanding the imposition of GST on every single online purchase from overseas, which if implemented would cause lengthy delays in delivery, huge costs to taxpayers that would outweigh the revenue generated and increased costs on value-conscious consumers. The reaction to Lew’s poorly-considered public statements – amateurishly co-ordinated by his spin-doctor former Simon Crean staffer and ACTU goon Michael McLeod – was so overwhelming that retail analysts believed it boosted awareness of the fact that online shopping is cheaper than traditional retail in Australia by as much as 35%. Indeed, eBay Australia have recently exploited Lew’s gaffe, launching a campaign drawing attention to their site being an excellent alternative to bricks-and-mortar retail. The whole GST push was one of the most self-defeating foolish public-relations fiascos of all time. And showed the dangers of Lew running around, as it were, half-cocked.

McInnes was the high-flying CEO of David Jones until he was accused by a DJ’s publicist of sexually harassing her. Many thought the publicist’s lawyers had mishandled the whole dispute but it certainly had a devastating effect on the company’s usually unsullied reputation and was thought to have made him unemployable. It didn’t do her much good either, with broken promises to pay any damages to a womens’ charity and so on.

EXPENSIVE FLIRT-MERCHANT
After much public brawling David Jones and McInnes agreed to pay the harassed 25 year-old woman $850,000 in compensation, a large amount that could potentially worry shareholders in Lew’s womens’ apparel business Premier Investments. The company employs many hundreds of young women also. The harassment victim initially claimed $37 million and while she was never going to get that sort of award, it was enough to cause grave concern among David Jones’ shareholders at the time.

The publicist’s statement of claim made damning accusations about McInnes and his track-record of being a sexual-predator as breathlessly reported at the time by the Sydney Morning Herald, it’s not unreasonable to say some of this conduct verged on sexual assault:

(The 25 year old woman) alleges she informed David Jones management about Mr McInnes’s unwelcome advances on several occasions, and on one occasion was told: “Next time that happens, you just need to be very clear and say ‘no Mark’ and he’ll back off.” (The 25 year old woman) alleges that Mr McInnes made unwelcome comments of a sexual nature and unwelcome sexual advances towards her at a lunch function on May 23 celebrating the renewal of a David Jones contract with racing identity Gai Waterhouse. McInnes urges (the 25 year old woman) to try a dessert by saying the dessert was like a f— in the mouth,” the statement of claim alleges that he said to her. He later allegedly placed his hand under her clothes, touching her bra strap and repeatedly asked her to accompany him to his Bondi home “where the clear implication [was] that such as visit would be for the purpose of sexual intercourse”, the claim alleges.

(The 25 year old woman) claims she made it clear his conduct was unwelcome and had attempted to use distracting banter to deflect the sexually suggestive conversation. The claim alleges Mr McInnes made no effort to conceal his conduct from other employees that day. The following day, Mr McInnes sent (the 25 year old woman) a series of emails which repeated that she meet him at his home, the claim says. On June 7, they attended a function at a private home in Rose Bay for La Prairie cosmetics at which (the 25 year old woman) alleges Mr McInnes repeated his desire for her to go home with him before trying to kiss her on the mouth while putting his arm around her.

“McInnes then again attempted to kiss (the 25 year old woman) on the mouth while placing his hand on (The 25 year old woman)’s stomach before moving it under her clothes so that his hand reached the bottom of [her] bra while [she] was pulling away from his unwelcome touch and turning to the left so that he could not kiss her on the mouth,” the statement of claim alleges.

Lew, frequently in the company of attractive female personal trainers, gym instructors and such in his recent 40-kilo-shedding health-craze that has featured a notorious course of diet-pills, litres of fresh fruit-juice from the Collins Place juice-bar, lengthy “work-outs” with his trainers, power-walks around “the Tan” with Graeme Samuel and equally lengthy spells on the toilet, according to well-placed gossips, will be keen to ensure McInnes keeps his mind on the job.

He has structured the flirt-merchant’s $5.2 million package in such a way to provide as much incentive ad possible with about half of it linked to improving profitability in the group. We’re all for second chances but Premier shareholders will be hoping McInnes treats the group’s female staff and customers with respect and courtesy at all times. If there’s another incident, Lew could face massive legal liability himself.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “PREDATORS UNITE: Sol Lew rescues accused flirt-merchant Mark McInnes with $100K per week

  1. heinrich

    ‘flirt merchant’ – love it !

  2. Lew on the loo... eww!

    McInnes would do well to hang out with Charlie Sheen, though I get the impression Charlie has more class.

  3. mands

    Thanks for being one of the few who says it how it is. The women of Australia vomit.

  4. Shambles

    I am a respected political strategist.

    Does the nice Mr Lew need a new lobbyist?

  5. Solly Phew

    You probably don’t want to see what happens to the back of my strides either with my leakage problem.

  6. Looter Lew

    Tiger blood is the new xencial!

  7. Adrian Jackson

    Is Laura Bungle going to the the new face of Lew’s empire? Is sexy boy Mark really reform? Will he be as reformed as Bungles former shag Fevola who is also a reformed man as we all know

  8. Bollocks

    There’s a huge hole in this story.

    Andrew, you should own up to your long-standing association with Sol, and the results of that association. Otherwise, you are being deceptive to your readers.

  9. Andrew Landeryou - editor VEXNEWS

    LOL, our very unpleasant associations with our Sol are a matter of public record and are scarcely secret. But you’re right that new readers might not know the history so here’s a full disclosure:

    1) I am a former shareholder in Premier Investments and Coles Myer as it then was.

    2) For a time I worked with Lew. I quite liked him and his resilient ways and his undoubted support for Israel.

    3) For a time Lew invested in one of my companies, did everything he could to sabotage it after he greedily demanded more equity in it than he paid for which we refused and it ended with him launching a legal jihad which cost a lot of money including my then home. I was broke for a short time as a result. This was all a bit sad because before his stupid jihad we had a deal on the table to take a chunk of Betfair which the last time I bothered looking would have been worth >$200 million (our chunk). Tant pis.

    4) At the time he invested, nearly a dozen people including my Dad and others warned me not to do business with Lew. I ignored their advice, being a 30 year old know-all (f*ckwit).

    5) If it wasn’t for Lew there might not have been a VEXNEWS so we can at least thank him for that. He really is our honorary founder in some ways. His role in our foundation has not led us to be unduly favourable to him in any respect, we promise. We have certainly never heard anyone suggest we have been unfair to him either.

    Therefore, I have no “long-standing” association with Lew at all. To use the great Australian colloquial expression “I wouldn’t p*ss on him if he was on fire.” He is a low-life, as recent events have re-confirmed.

  10. coz

    I don’t buy the “Mary Poppins” shtick this professional litigant (the woman in question) puts on. Her public displays of virtue and purity stink of self righteousness and self promotion.

  11. Adrian Jackson

    Well said Andrew.

    My car was stolen in 2001 and it was insured with HIH (Rodney Adler and Co). They should have been given life not a few years gaol.

  12. Anon

    Hey Andrew – looks like you’re in furious agreement with Stephen Mayne and Crikey on this issue.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/03/25/mcinnes-is-back-but-is-lew%E2%80%99s-blokey-board-ready-for-the-backlash/

    Talk about strange bedfellows!

  13. Real

    Adrian – your morals were stolen too, did HIH apy out for that?

  14. Interesting, thanks for your effort!

  15. Bollocks

    Andrew,

    Thanks for your version of events. Would Sol, if you offered him the opportunity, tell the same tale? Its a sort of rhetorical question, as there were a few gaps in your explanation that I could have steered the USS New Jersey through.

    On the other hand, you have been candid that there was a problem. I happen to agree that Lew and McInnes are individuals of odium.

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