Funny Business: The Rise and Fall of Steve Vizard

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Allen & Unwin, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 338 pages
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Steve Vizard had it all: wealth, fame and power, in equal and impressive proportions . . .

Once a popular, fast-quipping TV comedian and Gold Logie winner, a lawyer and much-loved family man who had even been crowned Father of the Year', Vizard had become a trusted community hero. On the boards of countless companies, including Telstra, Vizard seemed to be involved in every aspect of public and corporate life. And through the charitable Vizard Foundation, he was seen to foster art and other good causes.

Then some curious cheque transactions and the discovery of six mysterious paintings in Vizard's personal records triggered investigations into Vizard's former bookkeeper, Roy Hilliard, who, it turned out, had swindled close to $3 million from Vizard over several years. But Hilliard knew lots of secrets about his old boss, and when faced with criminal charges he hit back hard, accusing the businessman of illegal share deals and more. He portrayed Vizard as a master of deception whose public image was a charade; Hilliard depicted himself as merely the businessman's dupe. Vizard, however, saw it very differently.

In this compelling story of Vizard's fall from grace, Leonie Wood seeks to uncover the man behind the public persona, and to answer the question on the lips of many: why did he do it? Was it greed, audacity or sheer stupidity? And what do we really know about Steve Vizard?
 

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Contents

Prologue
1
1 Soar higher
9
2 Climbing the ladder
21
3 Go to air
32
4 Tonight Live
39
5 Pillar of the community
56
6 Plugging into dotcoms
74
7 Farewell to Hilliard
90
14 Laying it straight
185
15 If Im paid to do it
194
16 Hey big spender
211
17 Vizard cop gun outrage
221
18 All very market sensitive
234
19 Good question Your Honour
247
20 Flogging the servant
266
21 A fair share of shaming
275

8 Double zeroes
100
9 Fishing for clues
116
10 Scapegoat
133
11 The money trail
147
12 The shock of a whipcrack
157
13 Creative investments
170
22 Order in the court
281
23 I say it happened
300
24 Luck of the game
310
Endnotes
316
Index
329
Copyright

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Page xviii - Here they come!" Pinocchio said to himself, and, not knowing where to hide the gold pieces, he stuck all four of them under his tongue. He tried to run away, but hardly had he taken a step, when he felt his arms grasped and heard two horrible, deep voices say to him: "Your money or your life!
Page 313 - ... in the interests of the company as a whole and not for their own interests.
Page 14 - Lance always found plenty of hours to devote to the local community. He was a justice of the peace and a...
Page 66 - Birthday list as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 'for service to the community, particularly through the Vizard Foundation, and to the arts'.
Page 142 - Australian art for a collection which is housed at the Ian Potter Museum of Art at the University of Melbourne. Featured here is Caroline Williams...

About the author (2007)

During more than twenty years of journalism, Leonie Wood has reported on many of the nation's most newsworthy business, finance and political stories. A senior business writer on The Age, Leonie has previously worked for The Australian Financial Review, Australian Associated Press and The Sun-News Pictorial. She lives in Melbourne with her son.

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