Home to reality

Dear Brian

I came home full of hope and anticipation, it was looking most likely I would go back to Melbourne and buy a moribund office in Keilor.

Melbourne had always been a tough gig for the group and I hoped to continue my contribution by building this business into a showcase from where we could build a presence in the expanding Western Suburbs.

There was a tacit understanding you would financially support me in this endeavour, but this was never formalised, probably because I never dreamt it should have been.

I was leaving the group after seven years of unprecedented growth and tireless effort, yours and my relationship had been strong and my admiration for your leadership was untarnished despite the tensions at board level.

I was leaving with basically a year’s salary after tax , this, as payment for my shares in the fledgling loans business.

Was this payment fair given the contribution I had made to the business? That is for others to judge, but I was hopeful you and I would continue to work together and I was happy with my lot.

I was surprised when we met at the Qantas lounge in December 1994 after I had been home for a week or so. It had been six weeks since I had seen you and since you had written the deeply personal letter wherein you had wished me, nothing but the best.

The Brian I met that day was a different Brian, you were angry and berated me about my decision to leave.

With the benefit of hindsight, I should have returned fire about the way I had been treated at Board level and properly explained my decision, but you were in no mood for an honest discussion.

There were things left unsaid at this meeting that should not have been, but it was 1994 and admitting to weakness, especially about homophobia was not acceptable   .

I left that meeting feeling low and disappointed, we reached an uncomfortable compromise where I would continue to do some work for the group in the early part of 1995, but there was none of the camaraderie we had shared in the past.

I was certainly left with the impression that my dream of building Keilor and beyond with your support was unlikely to come to fruition.

We had travelled so far together but I was saddened by the tenor of this meeting and I realised the Bruce and Brian show was at an end.

It was a bitter ending to a wonderful and invigorating holiday, full of optimism and hope for the future, I struggled to make sense of this change in attitude.

There is an old saying about truth, there is your truth, there is my truth and there is the real truth, lying somewhere in the middle.

I wish we could have spoken honestly about the real truth.

Regards

Bruce

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