A heated feud has torn one of Australia’s wealthiest families apart as the late patriarch’s widow and children launch a legal battle over how to manage his assets.
Mining billionaire Ken Talbot died in a light plane when it crashed in the Congo in 2010, leaving behind his wife Amanda, her daughters Claudia, 18, and Alexandra, 21, and his children from his first marriage, race-car driver Liam, 38, and Courtney, 35.
In his will the Queensland businessman requested that a third of his estate be given to charity through a single-run family foundation writing: ‘I sincerely ask that all beneficiaries are sensible and do not argue.’
But his dying wish will not come to fruition after a Supreme Court judge ordered two foundations be set up to manage his fortune because his widow and children ‘would not be able to work together as a group’, the Courier Mail reports.
The family of late mining billionaire Ken Talbot (pictured with Amanda Talbot) are stuck in a legal battle over how to administrate his estate
Amanda (centre), Liam (left), Courtney (far right) and Alexandra and Claudia at Mr Talbot’s funeral in Brisbane in 2010
Amanda, Claudia and Alexandra and their half-sister Courtney called on the court to permit a two-foundation model, citing past and ‘likely future’ conflict, disputes and ‘differences’ within the family.
The court heard Amanda, Claudia and Alexandra were unwilling to work with Liam or Courtney, and Courtney said she could not work with the three women, while her brother argued a single-foundation should be launched with an independent board.
Liam married Hi-5 star Charli Robinson in 2016 and the couple share two daughters Kensington Claire Talbot and Theadora Elle Talbot.
Justice John Bond ruled each party will run a foundation, with one managing 60 per cent of the $36million so far allocated towards the project.
The other will manage the remaining 40 per cent of the money.
It’s not known at this stage which party will be handed the larger sum of money to look after and what each foundation’s name will be.
Additional monthly payments will be injected into both foundations from each of the five beneficiaries, to make a total of $200,000 each per year.
The entire board of the Western Australian mining company Sundance Resources and Mr Talbot died when their plane crashed in the Congo in June 2010. They had been on route to visit a mine site.
At the time, Mr Talbot, aged 59, had an estate worth about $1.1 billion, which includes a $12million villa in Italy’s Lake Como, an $8.5million home in Brisbane’s Bulimba, a $5.3million Shanghai apartment and a $50million Learjet.
Liam, who hoped to unite the family, married Hi-5 star Charli Robinson (pictured) in 2016. The couple share two daughters Kensington Claire Talbot and Theadora Elle Talbot
The court heard Liam (pictured) argued for a single-run foundation with an independent board, while the other beneficiaries asked for a two-foundation model
However, previous court hearings have heard his estate has plunged since 2010 due to delays sharing his investments and shares in mining companies.
More than a decade on the management of his fortune, which skyrocketed when the entrepreneur sold his business Macarthur Coal for $860million in 2008, is yet to be settled and has been plagued by legal fights initiated by Mrs Talbot.
According to his will, the remaining 70 per cent of his estate is to be divided among family, with Liam and Courtney to receive 24 per cent, with the remainder split between Mrs Talbot and her two daughters.
He also requested the charitable foundation to make donations to a maximum of $1m per year, with the beneficiaries meet every six months to discuss and organise payments.
Courtney was listed to receive his three metre punt boat, while Liam was noted to be given ‘all other boats, jet skis and associated trailers’.
The case is due to return to court on June 18.
The entire board of the Western Australian mining company Sundance Resources and Mr Talbot (pictured) died when their plane crashed in the Congo in June 2010
Courtney was listed to receive his three metre punt boat, while Liam (pictured with wife Charlie) was noted to be given ‘all other boats, jet skis and associated trailers’