EXCLUSIVE: He is the billionaire cheapskate retail king who controls the weak, pliable Australian mainstream news media with the bundles of cash he throws at them through his incessant and annoying advertising, but Harvey Norman big boss Gerry Harvey has been hiding behind his self-proclaimed image as a “family man” for decades, writes Serkan Ozturk.
Described by many as a “wealthy snob” and a billionaire retail behemoth by those who want to suck up to him, Harvey Norman founder, Gerry Harvey, can’t take a trick at the moment.
It started early last year. He earned the opprobrium of the Australia public after being one of the first of the uber-elite to beg for the Jobkeeper handout as the COVID-19 pandemic got into full swing in March 2020.
That scorn turned to widespread anger this year after it was revealed Mr Harvey and his company received more than $20 million from Jobkeeper and was refusing to pay back even a cent of it, despite Harvey Norman posting record profits of more than $900 million over the past 18 months and paying over $500 million in dividends to investors.
Mr Harvey himself collected $70 million of those dividends. Not a bad earner, even for a billionaire.
Then, over just this past week, Mr Harvey and his company have proved themselves the masters of needlessly pissing the public off by blocking people en masse on the social networking site Twitter due to growing criticism of his cheapskate ways; which now includes opposing increasing the measly wage of under $20/hour his hard-working employees earn while he gets to swan about and spout hateful and stupid nonsense and counts his bundles of notes. The company has since deleted it’s own Twitter account.
One hard-working Harvey Norman employee who spoke to True Crime News Weekly on the condition of anonymity labelled it the “worst company they have ever worked for”.
Speaking at length with this publication, the employee detailed a litany of poor management decisions by the retail company’s head office and its franchisees.
Shockingly, but not surprisingly, the employee revealed cost-cutting tactics used by management that are basically making employees work for free.
“They put you into all these training sessions – for things like washing machines, vacuums, whatever, it’s never ending – and you don’t get paid for any of it even though they hold these events after the store is closed at night and they expect you to stay back,” the employee explained.
“People who can’t sell a minimum amount of minor items like surge protectors, for example, they are threatened with forced counseling and training sessions and if their sales don’t improve after that they will lose their job.”
The “biggest issue” though that troubled the employee was that sales staff on the shop floors at Harvey Norman stores aren’t allowed to tell customers they work on and largely rely on sales commissions.
“You don’t get any overtime at Harvey Norman. They expect you to work completely for the commission. It creates a stupidly competitive and aggressive culture on the shop sales floor,” the employee said.
“We’re not allowed to tell customers or admit that we get a sales commission. The biggest problem is everyone is on commission and customers don’t know this and therefore there is no loyalty from a customer to deal with a salesperson they like. You could do all the hard work and then another salesperson might swan in and get the commission.”
The punishment for telling a customer about their sales commission was swift and harsh, according to the employee, as was not being able to work certain days for personal or family reasons, even when requested by long-serving, loyal workers.
“If you tell a customer we work for commission and the boss finds out, we will get fired,” the employee revealed.
“In the company’s media policy, if an employee mentions anything negative or critical about the company they will get fired immediately. This includes saying things like we deserve to be paid better wages.
“Getting annual leave at the time you want is difficult. They make it really hard for you. The proprietors get aggressive if you can’t work days like Boxing Day, even if it’s just for that year.
“They didn’t talk to me for a week when I said I couldn’t work Boxing Day for family reasons.”
The employee also claimed that during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, during times when stores were open but customers in retails stores were legally ordered to wear face masks, bosses routinely and regularly put profits over the health and safety of their employees.
“We were told by our bosses we can’t tell customers that they need to put a mask on and when we were abused or harassed by customers in store we received little or no support.”
Now, Mr Harvey may perhaps argue that the contents of our exclusive revelations in this story as already set out above and his ‘hypocritical secrets’ to be detailed out below could be defamatory and damage his high-standing and reputation in the community.
With that possible retort in mind, True Crime News Weekly went to gauge the views of members of the general public about their thoughts on the businessman and the way he publicly goes about his business. Reported below are some of their otherwise unprompted remarks:
“Just a fraudster … and a glorified use car salesman,” wrote a concerned citizen.
One woman called Mr Harvey: “Public enemy number 1%”.
“He is a fascist piece of shit with no compassion for the poor and homeless,” another man said.
The actions of Mr Harvey over the past couples week have been well in keeping with the character of a man who thinks poor and homeless people are undeserving scum but is quick to put out his own hand for millions in corporate welfare from his mates in government.
In a book published in 2008, Mr Harvey pooh-poohed the idea of a welfare state helping those in need and claimed that giving to people who “are not putting anything back into the community” is like “helping a whole heap of no hopers to survive for no good reason”.
Showing his altruistic nature and concern for his fellow humans once more, Mr Harvey then claimed that giving charity to the homeless was “just wasted”.
He continued: “It might be a callous way of putting it but what are they doing?” he said. “They are just a drag on the whole community.”
Then, just last year, Mr Harvey appeared on that media channel beloved by struggling battlers everywhere – Sky News – to claim that he wouldn’t bow down to woke “political correctness” while running his retail empire.
WATCH BILLIONAIRE GERRY HARVEY TELL SKY NEWS HOW MUCH HE HATES “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS“
Since Mr Harvey hates “political correctness” it goes to reason then he won’t have any motive to oppose the following major revelations True Crime News Weekly will detail below.
On the official website for Harvey Norman and its board of directors, the 81-year-old Mr Harvey leaves no doubt to anyone reading that he is at pains to have the public believe he is a “family man”.
In fact, it’s in the very first sentence of Mr Harvey’s official company bio.
“Gerry Harvey is an entrepreneur, one of Australia’s best-known retailers, a family man, breeder of race horses and Chairman of Harvey Norman Holdings Limited,” the bio starts off.
But what if all that baloney was a bald-faced lie? Well, because it is.
True Crime News Weekly can exclusively reveal that far from being a “family man”, Mr Harvey carried out a 20-year affair with a woman that carried over from his first marriage with Lynette Harvey INTO his second marriage with current wife, Kay Leslie ‘Katie’ Page, whom he married in 1988.
Ms Page is the current executive director and CEO of Harvey Norman Holdings. She married Mr Harvey when she was 32-years-old and her businessman husband was 49. She was appointed a director of Harvey Norman Holdings in 1987.
We will refer to the woman who Mr Harvey carried out his secret 20-year affair with as Norma.
Norma is unfortunately now dead. So is her daughter, who we will call Andrea.
But a family friend who knew about the affair at the time reached out to True Crime News Weekly recently after being sickened by Mr Harvey’s “obnoxious” behaviour over the past few weeks.
The family friend explained the affair with Mr Harvey began in the early 1970s when he ran the appliance and electrical goods store Norman Ross with his business partner, Ian Norman.
“During the 1980s, Norma and her daughter both worked at Norman Ross,” the source said.
“Gerry even bought Norma a lovely art-deco apartment with ocean views at 8 Ramsgate Avenue in Bondi.”
The family friend described the affair as “a very tightly held secret” that “went on for years and years”.
“Norma never had photos or anything personal from Gerry out on display at her place. I never met him but he was like an uncle to Andrea,” the source explained.
“When Norman Ross opened stores in Brisbane early 80s, one was at Mt Gravatt. He sent Andrea up to Brisbane to work at the store. He really trusted her.”
The apartment block “with ocean views” at 8 Ramsgate Avenue, Bondi where Gerry Harvey’s secret partner of 20 years lived (Image: Domain)
Norma’s daughter Andrea died in 2015, aged only 50, due to complications related to thrombosis and a long addiction to cigarettes. Norma herself died a few years prior due to similar health reasons as her daughter.
The family friend confirmed to True Crime News Weekly the secret affair continued on long after Mr Harvey divorced his first wife, Lynette, and then later married Ms Page.
“Pretty sure he had bought a kitchen make-over type store somewhere near Wollstonecraft. It was a famous place in Sydney … upmarket. I visited Norma at the store in 1990, she was working there alone, no other staff. She told me she was thinking of closing the store,” the source revealed.
“It was a very nice, upmarket store but very quiet sales-wise as she didn’t think it could keep going much longer. She wouldn’t have had that kind of pull or influence over Gerry otherwise. I moved back to Sydney 1991 and eventually lost touch with her.”
The family friend said it might be worth a shot to see if Mr Harvey still had the deeds of the Bondi apartment with ocean views once given to his longtime secret partner.
“Interesting to see if Gerry still owns the place,” the source said. “Norma had a neighbour there who was very close to ‘Old Krug’ but she would have passed away a long time ago.”
Sales of apartments in the same Bondi building have fetched almost $1.7 million over the past five years.
This is the kind of story you will never read, hear or see in the mainstream media. Why? Quite simply for the fact much of the mainstream media has been dependent on the advertising dollars of “retail kings” such as Mr Harvey and “real estate kings” like Bill Malouf to help prop them up for a very long time. The biggest drug in the world is money, of course. These media execs love the dopamine hit they receive from the poorly cut-up $350 bags of cocaine they snort on the regular, but even more than that they love the dopamine hit they receive from a dirty dollar.
Gerry Harvey thinks his employees and poor people as well as the homeless are stupid idiots but he is at pains to present himself as an awesome “family man” (Image: Supplied)
Let’s make one thing very clear.
True Crime News Weekly does not give one, single flying f*ck about who anyone wants to f*ck or how many times they f*ck. Do it vanilla, do it kinky. In a group, or solo. With a loving partner, or a person you met a minute ago. Go for your f*cking life, consensually.
What we care about is powerful, hypocritical men portraying themselves as something they are clearly not.
Particularly those who are f*cking over workers and the community-at-large during a health crisis and pandemic while espousing to be a “family man”.
Gerry Harvey, this time, you may just very well need to go f*ck yourself.
True Crime News Weekly will publish any response Mr Harvey or his company may wish to make to this article.