With help from investors, Double Bay fashion designer Alex Perry planned to make his Mercedes Fashion Week 2000 show his biggest and best one ever.
Perry did have a big show that year -“ featuring an international model on the verge of major celebrity, Megan Gale, among other talent. And three years later the methods of payment used by his major investor -“ former Satellite boss Greg Fisher -“ are the subject of a trial currently under way at the Sydney District Court.
Fisher has been charged with six counts of dishonestly using approximately $220,000 in Satellite money -“ without knowledge or consent of the board -“ which was paid to Perry in April, May and June of 2000.
The charges arise from an Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigation into the collapse of Satellite, a property and media company which floated on the Australian Stock Exchange on 23 September 1999 and went into administration in November 2000.
At the time of its float, Satellite was billed as the world’s first pink company, with a stable of gay and lesbian newspapers and magazines. These included the Melbourne-based Outrage magazine and Sydney Star Observer rival Capital Q. Fisher has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Perry gave evidence this week that he and Fisher had met at a dinner party in 1999. After a discussion about Perry’s plans for Fashion Week 2000, the pair arranged to meet to discuss possible financial support.
Fisher eventually agreed to give Perry’s company money. In return, the fashion parade brochure included the words brought to you by Greg Fisher.
Perry told the court he had not made any arrangement with Fisher about repaying the Fashion Week money.
Crown prosecutor Robert Sutherland told the court the prosecution would attempt to prove Fisher had made the payments without proper consent from the Satellite Board. The payments to Alex Perry had been made to further Fisher’s own, rather than the company’s interests, Sutherland alleged.
Greg Fisher’s representative Charles Waterstreet told the court in his opening address that he expected the evidence given during the trial would show that Fisher was authorised to use the company money.
All six cheques paid to Perry had been signed by other authorised Satellite officers -“ either Fisher’s then-wife Michelle, his father Jack, Satellite co-founder Jonathan Broster or company secretary Mary-Lou Taylor -“ Waterstreet pointed out.
The court also heard from Satellite’s National Australia Bank business banking manager Harry Hills. Hills told the court he had visited Alex Perry’s Double Bay studio in June 2000, after Fisher applied for a bank overdraft for Perry. The overdraft never went through.
Several former Satellite board members, including former chairman Dr Keryn Phelps, are expected to give evidence in the trial. Although not slated to testify, the court yesterday had a celebrity visit from Ian Roberts who popped in to observe proceedings and chatted with Fisher’s parents. The trial continues.