Was Rubicon soiled from the start? Gordon Fell, founder of the Rubicon Property Group, was one of the brightest and the best: a former Rhodes Scholar, a director of the Smith Family, chairman of Opera Australia and a trustee of Sydney Grammar School. His best mate David Coe, founder of Allco, was just as smart and well-connected. Hailed as one of the “New Masters of the Universe” by The Australian Financial Review in May 2005, he was a benefactor of the arts, a donor to charities, a member of the MCC, a mate of Michael Parkinson and a much-loved chap.

But both now face serious questions over the controversial sale of Fell’s Rubicon Property Group to Allco in December 2007 for $263 million.

“Is Rubicon a piece of shit?” Bob Mansfield famously asked his fellow Allco directors before a crucial board meeting to consider the deal in November 2008. Sadly, history doesn’t relate what answer he was given, but at yesterday’s examination of Gordon Fell in the Federal Court, it seems it should have been “yes”.

For those who’ve blanked it out, Allco went bust in early 2008, leaving an enormous $10 billion black hole. Months earlier, its shareholders had forked out a ridiculous amount of money to buy Fell’s highly-geared property empire, whose two biggest shareholders were Fell and Coe. The duo picked up a handy $52 million in cash between them on the sale. — Paul Barry (read the full story here)

Powerful people = bigger brains. They may not admit it publicly, but powerful people have always thought they were smarter than the rest of us. Now they’ve got the research to back their claims up.

For the first time researchers have discovered a link between management and size of the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. — Tom Cowie (read the full story here)

The week that was in power circles. Powerbrokers stood their ground on opposing sides of the productivity debate, Gina Rinehart’s legal woes hit the headlines and 35,000 public service workers protested in Sydney: these are The Power Index’s top picks of people who mattered this week. — Angela Priestley (read the full story here)

Peter Fray

Save 50% on a year of Crikey and The Atlantic.

The US election is in a little over a month. It seems that there’s a ridiculous twist in the story, almost every day.

Luckily for new Crikey subscribers, we’ve teamed up with one of America’s best publications, The Atlantic for the election race. Subscribe now to make sense of it all, and you’ll get a year of Crikey (usually $199) and a year’s digital subscription to The Atlantic (usually $70AUD), BOTH for just $129.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW