The AGM of John Singleton’s STW Holdings started at 10am in his bar on Friday, so it was always going to be a brief exchange given that the more interesting Babcock & Brown AGM started at 10.30am across the other side of town. Crikey’s Kate Jackson interrupted her long weekend in Sydney to produce a brief report on the Singleton interaction in Friday’s edition, but there are a couple of additional points to make.

Singo is clearly no fan of former Fairfax CEO Stephen Mulholland, who launched a huge swipe at a range of people on a South African website two months ago. The specific Mulholland reference to Singleton read as follows:

Then there was the board, the board from hell. It ranged from dodgy characters like a chap called Singleton – John, I believe – whom the company secretary apprehended buying Fairfax shares in the market without informing the company and in a closed period. This was no peccadillo – he’d bought a million shares.

Singleton rose at one shareholders’ meeting to answer an allegation from the floor that he had been charged with abuse of one his several wives. Yes, he replied, but that was in another state.

When asked about this on Friday by Crikey in the context of the STW Holdings share trading policy outlined in the annual report, Singo declared that Mulholland’s claims were “not accurate” and then said it spoke volumes about Mulholland that he was chosen to lead Fairfax by fallen Canadian entrepreneur Conrad Black.

“Given all the improper things that happened at Fairfax, fancy getting upset about a director actually buying shares and supporting the company and then holding them until after I left the board,” Singo said.

The colourful Sydney advertising figure also said it was instructive that Mulholland’s book never got published in Australia, suggesting that it was both defamatory and lacking in credibility.

Crikey also raised the question of Singo’s personal expenses, which was picked up in the Fin Review’s Rear Window column today, although Angus Grigg couldn’t bring himself to name us in his lead item.

Singo managed a succession of gags about this before saying: “Are you going to ask about the assault charge next?” The point of the question was to ensure Singo wasn’t doing a Conrad Black and charging the public company for personal expenses. Given his spread of interests, force of personality and the fact that he controls two publicly listed companies, it’s fair to ask who picks up the tab for Singo’s expensive lifestyle. Singo reassured us that he gets nothing more than a $300,000 a year salary from STW and no expenses are charged back to shareholders.

All up, Friday’s skirmishing wasn’t as lively as this exchange from the 2001 STW Holdings AGM, but it was still good for a laugh.