News

Wishlist that came with a disputed $25 million inheritance

Olivia Mead: “He told me to be prepared to fight.”
Olivia Mead: “He told me to be prepared to fight.” Channel 7

OLIVIA Mead's father told her as he was dying to be prepared for a fight.

That was 2012, when few knew of the existence of the then 16-year-old "secret daughter" of billionaire Michael Wright, the product of a short relationship between he and her mother, Elizabeth Mead, between his third and fourth marriages.

Answering a call to his hospital bed, accompanied by her mother and stepfather Mick Kirby - the man who raised her - it was the first time Olivia had seen her father cry.

Or show any emotion, for that matter.

"He said that night, 'Sorry for being such a bad father'," Olivia told the Australian Financial Review in 2015. He also thanked her stepfather for raising her and said she and her mother would be looked after.

"He told me to be prepared to fight," Olivia said.

"Now I sort of know what it meant."

Michael Wright died with an estimated fortune of S1.5 billion on April 26, 2012.

He left Olivia a $3 million trust she could not access until the age of 30, with a truckload of conditions including she couldn't convert to Buddhism or Islam, be convicted for drink driving or be in possession of marijuana.

He provided well for his first three children. Her two half-sisters, Alexandra Burt and Leonie Baldock, inherited more than $400 million apiece.

It was time for the fight.

THE LAVISH WISHLIST

Hamstrung by the myriad conditions on the trust, Olivia headed to court.

Along the way her cover was blown: suddenly all of Perth knew of the existence of Wright's "secret daughter".

The scandal became ridicule with the emergence of her jaw-dropping "wish list" as her lawyers mounted a case for what figure they considered appropriate as her inheritance.

She may have been a teenage university student who worked part-time as a supermarket checkout girl and drove a 1994 Corolla called Stephen, but Olivia Mead was dreaming big.

She wanted a $1.6 million crystal-studded grand piano, upkeep for her pet axolotl, the world's most expensive diamond-encrusted bass guitar ($250,000) a $2.5 million home, $40,000 for holidays a year, Tiffany sunglasses, 20 pairs of $300 shoes every year for the next 75 years. Pilates lessons until she was 97.

The judge said in his ruling some of the items were "clearly fanciful".

But the teenager became a millionaire heiress when the judge awarded her $25 million. The West Australian Supreme Court ruling her father did not make adequate provision for her in his inheritance.

After the judgment, she told Channel Seven's Sunday Night she was unprepared for the backlash that surrounded the list of items.

"One list can't really shape a whole person," she said.

Her mother told the program the list had been compiled to give the judge "a realistic view of what it would cost for a 16-year-old to live for the rest of their lives".

She added her daughter was unfairly made out to be a "gold-digger".

"She was spoiled with time, but not with possessions," she said.

The $US1.2 million limited edition crystal-encrusted grand piano was on the wish list.
The $US1.2 million limited edition crystal-encrusted grand piano was on the wish list. Supplied

"HE WASN'T THE BEST FATHER"

Michael Wright was the son of Peter Wright, who formed Hancock Prospecting and Wright Prospecting with iron ore magnate Lang Hancock in the 1950s.

Peter died in 1985, leaving a $900 million fortune to Michael and another daughter. Michael also received $1 billion from Hancock's daughter Gina Rinehart after she gave up a share in another mine their fathers ran together.

In the wake of her $25 million court win, the media-shy teen told Sunday Night " he was very intimidating".

"No, he wasn't there for me," she said, adding that she was sad she didn't get to spend more time with him before he died, and she had felt neglected by him as a child.

"He wasn't the best father," she said.

"It was hard for him to interact with someone so young and it was never the typical affectionate daughter and father thing. He wasn't affectionate at all, he wasn't there for me."

She remembered her father from about the time she was three years old, but only saw him every couple of months. Rarely, she said, did she see his other children: her half-sisters and half-brother Myles Wright.

He had paid her school fees and given her some pocket money, but never gave his daughter extravagant gifts or bought a home for her and her mum to live in as they moved from rental home to rental home.

"There were a lot of times I thought he could help us out a bit," she said.

Of the conditions he imposed on her $3 million, Olivia said her father was "a strange man".

"To be honest I can't tell you why he would do that," she said.

"For a long time I thought that maybe he didn't love me."

“For a long time I thought that maybe he didn’t love me,” Olivia says of her father.
“For a long time I thought that maybe he didn’t love me,” Olivia says of her father. News Corp

FIGHT RESUMES

Olivia is now 21, and the war is not over.

She's been paid $3 million, but it's up to WA's Court of Appeal whether the remaining $22 million will be handed over.

The fight continues, with an appeal now being heard on behalf of the executor of her father's estate.

In the WA Court of Appeal this week, Jane Needham, representing estate executor David Lemon, told the full bench that $3 million was adequate for the proper maintenance of Ms Mead.

In his 2015 judgment, Master Craig Sanderson of the Supreme Court of Western Australia

said Ms Mead had simply let her imagination run wild the same way most teens would if asked to outline such needs, was not "a gold digger" and awarded her $5 million more than she had initially asked for.

But Ms Needham said Master Sanderson had in effect regarded the size of the estate as trumping any other factor he needed to consider and he erred in regarding his discretion unfettered.

She said it was wrong to award Ms Mead twice as much as what she ultimately sought after considering "some quite extraordinary items" - even in the revised wishlist - without accounting for her or her partner's future income.

Ms Needham cited Ms Mead's call for 20 pairs of $300 shoes every year for the next 75 years and pilates lessons until she is aged 97.

But Olivia's lawyer Lindsay Ellison said there was nothing that couldn't be taken into account when assessing what a daughter from a wealthy family might need for the rest of her life.

There were also no competing claimants, he said, and the court could "go that extra bit further, and add some cheese and jam" rather than just the essentials of life.

“She was spoiled with time, but not with possessions,” says Olivia Mead’s mother, Elizabeth.
“She was spoiled with time, but not with possessions,” says Olivia Mead’s mother, Elizabeth. News Corp
News Corp Australia

Topics:  editors picks inheritance michael wright olivia mead



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Body in drain being treated as 'suspicious'

Police looking at a unit in relation to the man whose body was found in a Gladstone drain.

Investigations ongoing into home of the man found dead in drain

Gladstone turns it on to welcome cruise ship passengers

Judy White and Dianne Kirby enjoy the Feast on East markets at East Shores Precinct.

PHOTOS: Did our photographer snap you?

Local Partners

Battle raging over money to fund CQ roads

Funding for CQ's road upgrades is being ripped out of the region leaving our projects languishing at the starting line says QLD Minister.


Win a $1000

GROCERY GIFT CARD!
Learn More

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Gladstone turns it on to welcome cruise ship passengers

Judy White and Dianne Kirby enjoy the Feast on East markets at East Shores Precinct.

PHOTOS: Did our photographer snap you?

The 'pirate' ship welcoming Gladstone on board

HISTORIC STEP: Graeme Wylie built the replica 15th century caravel, Notorious.

'Never found the remains': the historic 'pirate' ship

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!