Darrell Lea heir’s millions locked away by state

Mr Lea, one of many grandsons of the Darrell Lea founder, got here into his millions after the Lea household bought the chocolate business to the Quinn household in 2012.

Mr and Mrs Lea stay in a modest four-bedroom brick veneer house in Worongary, a Gold Coast suburb about 12km from the ocean. The home is value about $520,000, based mostly on Domain estimates.

Mr Lea was value $14.68 million on the finish of 2018, an account assertion from the general public trustee reveals. From that Mr and Mrs Lea are paid a dwelling allowance of $185,000 a yr together with $50,000 put aside for capital bills.

While that’s properly above the typical family revenue, Mr Lea’s wealth might be funding a really totally different way of life.

Jonathan Philpot, a associate with wealth administration agency HLB Mann Judd, stated he couldn’t give private recommendation however a hypothetical couple with that internet value might “well and truly” afford to improve their house.

The Leas' house has cracks in the ceiling in the hallway, kitchen and living room.

The Leas’ home has cracks within the ceiling within the hallway, kitchen and front room.Credit:Paul Harris

Mr Philpot stated a risk-free funding technique for $14 million would earn three per cent a yr – producing revenue of $420,000 a yr earlier than tax. To beat inflation, it will be higher to spend money on some shares and goal for a 5 per cent return.

Mrs Lea stated their house was “very run-down” and she or he and Robert had been begging for a number of years to be allowed to improve the “leaking, mouldy and ugly” loos. Emails sighted by The Sun-Herald recommend that in 2016 the general public trustee agreed to permit the Leas to order toilet tiles, solely to vary their minds. The toilet renovation goes forward now, almost three years later.

The Leas at the moment are requesting the alternative of their shed, which Mrs Lea says has termite injury.

Mrs Lea has to pay for dwelling bills on her bank card after which apply to the general public trustee for reimbursement. However, she claims that typically the general public trustee will veto purchases after the very fact even when it’s inside the permitted price range. Bank statements reveal Mrs Lea had no bank card debt in 2012 and 2013, however now has an impressive stability of $37,000, incurring curiosity expenses of $385 a month.

Mouldy tiles in the bathroom of the Leas' Gold Coast home.

Mouldy tiles within the rest room of the Leas’ Gold Coast residence.Credit:Paul Harris

“It’s harassment, pure and simple,” Mrs Lea says. “This is how they break people – but they won’t break me.”

Meanwhile, statements reveal the general public trustee charged about $86,000 in charges and one other $17,000 in outlays comparable to tax agent charges, funding unit charges, postage and telephone calls between September 2013 and April 2018. Separately, the general public trustee has charged almost $223,000 in different charges to Mr Lea’s belief.

Most of the cash held by the general public trustee on behalf of Mr Lea is held in money. A complete of $11.5 million is held in an at-call account incomes about 2.5 per cent curiosity, statements reveal. The public trustee costs Mr Lea almost $2800 for putting an exterior funding, together with opening or rolling over a time period deposit.

When approached for remark, the Public Trustee of Queensland stated it will be “quite improper and unlawful” to present details about an grownup for whom the general public trustee is appointed administrator. The public trustee additionally stated the knowledge Mrs Lee had offered was “lacking in context”.


Guardianship and monetary administration or administration are state-based methods designed to guard individuals who lack decision-making capability and don’t have appropriate relations to guard them.

There are problems with the public trustee system Australia wide, as revealed by a Herald and Age investigation final week.

The disability discrimination commissioner has described the entire idea of substitute choice making as “butchering a number of human rights” and at odds with our United Nations human rights commitments.


Caitlin Fitzsimmons is the affiliate editor of The Sun-Herald and a columnist.

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