Showing posts with label Dennis Wallace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dennis Wallace. Show all posts

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Knives Out After Oprah Winfrey Trip

She held the country in the palm of her hand for 10 days. (Or should that be the local media ?)
Oprah Winfrey's tour of Australia and the recording of what will be her final 2 shows at the Sydney Opera House was treated by the Aussie media like the second coming.

When the Social Shuttle reported that 12 of her security detail had been sacked without pay because one had the temerity to enter her hotel room to check that it was secure, only 2 tabloid reporters followed up the tale.

Despite us being unable to give our source (protected) we did hand them on to the local law firm acting for Winfrey's Harpo company. They denied the tale but within a day the 12 guards were told they would be paid after all. The Shuttle witnessed documents that confirmed the story.

Now an American who has been living in Cairns and operating two successful tour boats around the Great Barrier Reef is hopping mad.

John "The Yank" VandenHeuvel  says he approached Tourism Australia 6 years ago with an ambitious plan to bring Oprah Winfrey to Australia. And the outline of his plans were basically identical to Oprah's tour as it unfolded over her 10 day visit. VandenHeuval proposed tying in Oprah's visit with Qantas and their ambassador, actor John Travolta and rewarding a number of Oprah's regular audience members with the "trip of a lifetime"

Backing VandenHeuval's claim is the Opposition Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison who was the head of Tourism Australia at the time. Pilot Dennis Wallace says he flew Morrison to Cairns to discuss the project which was common knowledge amongst the majority of local tour operators.

 “Tourism Australia has done the wrong thing, it is very un-Australian,” says Mr Wallace.

It is not about the money, this is about Tourism Australia blatantly lying,” says VandenHeuval
“They reneged on the deal, cut me out of it and cut Cairns out of it and Cairns ended up getting screwed as bad as I did.”

VandenHeuval says he spent $200,000 on the project and while Tourism Australia acknowledged to the Shuttle that they had met with him in 2004 they declined to discuss details.

VandenHeuval has instructed high powered solicitors Slater and Gordon to issue proceedings against the government body and is claiming  $2Million in damages.