Legal

Rich Listers Harold Mitchell and Bob Jane to slug it out in court over $300,000 debt

Cara Waters /

Two Melbourne Rich Listers are set to battle it out in court after former ad man Harold Mitchell issued legal proceedings against tyre and automotive entrepreneur Bob Jane.

Mitchell and Jane have been friends for almost 40 years but Mitchell has filed civil proceedings in the County Court against Jane.

News Corp reports Mitchell claims he loaned Jane $300,000 last year but despite demands it still hasn’t been repaid.

Mitchell alleges the loan was to assist with Jane’s “personal and business needs”.

At the time of the loan, Jane was embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with his son Rodney Jane.

In 2012 Jane won a court ruling which allowed him to trade under his own name despite protests from the Bob Jane Corporation, which is now run by Rodney.

Last year the father and son were back in court with Jane seeking to recover $2.9 million, which he claims was loaned to Rodney – Rodney claims a large portion of that was a gift.

Jane’s legal disputes have become increasingly acrimonious with his son labelling him a “calculating” liar last year.

He once had a vast fortune but has fallen on hard times in comparison to Mitchell, whose wealth has been estimated at up to $370 million after he retired last year from ad company Aegis.

He now spends his time on philanthropy through the Harold Mitchell Foundation.

The legal action against Jane comes despite years of friendship.

Mitchell’s autobiography, Living Large, lists Jane amongst one of his first clients in the 1970s. 

Mitchell says he has begun proceedings reluctantly.

“It’s very sad and I’m sorry to do it,” he told News Corp. “Bob Jane has been a hero of us all. I was happy to help him out in a tough time for him. I hope we’d always be friends. He’s been a great Australian.”

Mitchell declined to comment to SmartCompany.

SmartCompany contacted Jane through his lawyers but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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