Sacked CEO refused to leave job at ritzy music school: court

A music school in one of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs is embroiled in a 17-month court battle with its sacked chief executive after she refused to stop calling herself the boss and holding meetings.

The fight between the Australian Guild of Music Education and its former chief Bernadette Norton this week reached the Federal Court after the school first filed suit against her in December 2019.

The guild is a not-for-profit music and speech school in ritzy Kooyong that provides tertiary degrees at an average of $17,000 a year, certificates and diplomas.

The board voted to sack Ms Norton in September 2019 in a secret meeting, documents filed that year by the school in the Supreme Court of Victoria show.

The coup was triggered when the board discovered Ms Norton had transferred $50,000 of the school’s funds into her own account, the school alleges in its statement of claim.

Sacked CEO refused to leave job at ritzy music school: court

Camera IconBernadette Norton filed in the Federal Court this week against the music school where she worked for 20 years, who also has a suit against her. LinkedIn Credit: Supplied

Its lawyer Mark Harrick alleged to the Supreme Court on Friday that the money was spent on “kitchen renovations”.

Ms Norton in an affidavit claims she was allowed to transfer the $50,000.

“I deny that I have engaged in any wrongdoing,” she said.

“The conditions of my employment were known to and approved by the committee of management at the time.”

No criminal charges have been laid against her.

She believes the coup was motivated by a rival’s desire to “wrest power” from her, she said in an affidavit.

She had been in the job for almost 20 years.

On the same day the board was voting to sack her, Ms Norton held a rival board meeting with a key ally and appointed new members, court documents show.

Sacked CEO refused to leave job at ritzy music school: court

Camera IconBernadette Norton was the chief executive of the Australian Guild of Music Education until October 2019 when she was sacked over an allegedly fishy $50,000 transfer. Facebook via NCA NewsWire Credit: Supplied

The shadow board continued to hold meetings for three months.

In December 2019, the school sought orders in the Supreme Court that Ms Norton stop “purporting” to be the chief executive and repay the $50,000.

It also asked the court to stop her using an email address it claims she created after she was sacked that looked like it was associated with the school.

The Supreme Court appointed a receiver to sort things out in February 2020.

The receiver appointed a new board that did not include Ms Norton.

She has now filed in the Federal Court seeking her chief executive’s salary, leave, superannuation and entitlements between her notice of termination on 14 October 2019 and August 28, 2020.

The school continues seeking an order that she repay the $50,000 it alleges she improperly spent.

Supreme Court judge Michael McDonald will decide in August if the repayment issue will also be transferred to the Federal Court. 

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Western Sydney residents ‘struggling to survive' with harsh stay-at-home orders

An angry local mayor has compared the covid-ravaged western suburbs, which is currently in lockdown to “Zimbabwe or Kazakhstan”. Cumberland Shire Council mayor Steve Christou said the “vibrant, hardworking community” ... Read more »

‘Reckless conduct': Runaway Bourke Street Mall driver Bryce O'Donnell ordered to perform community work

A Ballarat man who drove his car down the same section of Bourke St where James Gargasoulas mowed down six people will be released from jail on a community corrections ... Read more »

Former Mudgee Race Club head Colleen Walker takes NSW Racing to court

The former head of a prestigious race club has launched a court challenge after being stood down. Colleen Walker has taken NSW Racing to court after she was stood down ... Read more »

‘Not that f***ing stupid': How ‘threats' ruined Roberts-Smith's friendship with private investigator

Court documents have claimed a veteran private eye cut ties with Victoria-Cross recipient Ben Roberts-Smith over “threatening letters”. It comes as the Federal Court hears the high profile investigator will ... Read more »

Sex work to be decriminalised in Victoria

An outdated law that has made sex work “burdensome” and “unworkable” has been overhauled in Victoria, with the state announcing on Friday it will decriminalise the industry. As part of ... Read more »

Dog leash tied around child's neck, hung from clothesline to ‘teach him a lesson': court

A South Australian man wanted to “teach his nephew a lesson” about caring for his pet dog by tying a dog leash around the five-year-old’s neck and hanging him from ... Read more »

Mosman collar bomb hoaxer Paul Douglas Peters granted parole

Paul Douglas Peters, who made global headlines when he strapped a fake bomb around a Sydney schoolgirl’s neck in a brazen home invasion 10 years ago, will walk from prison ... Read more »

Powerball: Victorian cleaner scoops $80 million in Thursday night draw

A Victorian cleaner can put the broom down after sweeping Thursday’s night’s $80 million Powerball jackpot. The North Melbourne man was instantly catapulted into the ranks of Australia’s biggest individual ... Read more »

Independent review into Wooroloo bushfire that destroyed 86 homes

An independent review will be held into the devastating Wooroloo bushfire that destroyed 86 homes in the Perth Hills. The inquiry will be led by the Australasian Fire and Emergency ... Read more »

Marrickville, NSW stabbing leads to arrest in nearby Dulwich Hill: police

Police have made an arrest after a fatal stabbing in Sydney’s inner west. The arrest in Dulwich Hill came within hours of the discovery of a dying man in nearby ... Read more »

Shock call Roberts-Smith's wife made as alleged ‘mistress' turned up on doorstep: court hears

“Are you sitting down?” – these are the words spoken by Ben Roberts-Smith’s wife the moment she came face-to-face with her husband’s alleged “mistress”, according to a trove of revealing ... Read more »

Journalists call for China to free detained Australian journalist in open letter

The nation's leading journalists have banded together to demand for the release of fellow Australian Journalist Cheng Lei from detention by the Chinese government. Friday marks one year since Ms ... Read more »

‘Feared for her safety': Alleged Tinder stalker Sean Ian Bruce Flintoff slapped with second charge

A South Australian man who was charged with stalking a woman he met through a dating app has been arrested for the second time this week and charged with the ... Read more »

Trinity Grammar School teacher sentenced for sending explicit messages to 13yo girl

A former senior teacher at one of Sydney’s most elite private schools has avoided jail for sending sexual messages to who he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Alexander David Simpson, ... Read more »

‘Absolute gold': Labor leader clarifies tweet blunder about 102yo pensioner facing welfare cut

Anthony Albanese has clarified the meaning behind a now-deleted tweet misinterpreted as celebrating the plight of a 102-year-old pensioner faced with her Centrelink payments being withdrawn. Punchbowl resident Anne Hawkins’ ... Read more »

Australia's Steph Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons qualify for World Surf League finals series

She missed an Olympic medal in Tokyo but Australia‘s Sally Fitzgibbons will chase an elusive world title after securing her spot in next month’s inaugural World Surf League finals. The ... Read more »

YouTuber Friendlyjordies ordered to redo defence in John Barilaro defamation lawsuit

A popular YouTube commentator being sued by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has been ordered to rewrite his defence to the politician’s defamation claims. The member for Monaro claims Jordan ... Read more »

Man arrested after the bodies of two people found at Oberon home

A man has been arrested after two people were found stabbed to death at a home in regional NSW. Emergency services were called to a home on On-Avon Ave in ... Read more »

SPC boss Hussein Rifai outlines four-step action plan to slash waste, gas

The head of the first manufacturer in Australia to mandate the Covid-19 jab among its employees is also unveiling a four-step action plan in a bid to slash the company’s ... Read more »

Court rules major Qld bank used ‘unfair' contract terms for small businesses

A major Queensland bank used “unfair” contract terms when dealing with loans for small businesses, a court has ruled. The Federal Court issued the stunning judgment against Bank of Queensland ... Read more »

Man charged over shooting deaths of 41 horses at rural Qld property

A man has been charged over the shooting deaths of 41 horses at a rural Queensland property. The 49-year-old Mount Isa man was arrested on Thursday as part of an ... Read more »

Victoria Police search for missing 12-year-old boy Ayden, missing for five days

Police have launched a desperate search for missing 12-year-old boy Ayden. Police and family have grave concerns for his welfare due to his age. Ayden hasn’t been seen in almost ... Read more »

Whale tangled off Gold Coast freed but still dragging shark net

The juvenile whale that became tangled in shark netting off the Queensland coast this week has been freed but will be forced to drag debris as it continues its seasonal ... Read more »

Green light for mandatory jabs as Sydney tradies consider legal action

Australia’s workplace watchdog has given the green light to employers in certain high-risk industries to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for staff. It comes after tens of thousands of workers returned to ... Read more »

Urgent virus alert 390km from Sydney as Covid-19 spreads across regional NSW

Health authorities have issued an urgent alert for additional Covid-19 exposure sites in Sydney and across regional NSW. It comes after NSW recorded 345 new cases of the virus in ... Read more »

Melbourne man Jamie Smith allegedly detonated pipe bombs and destroyed cars, portaloos

A Melbourne man accused of using pipe bombs that destroyed cars, washing machines and portaloos allegedly ordered his girlfriend to delete footage of the mayhem from Snapchat. Jamie Smith is ... Read more »

Restaurant owner and friend face court charged with sexual assault in toilet block

A Perth restaurant owner and his friend have faced court charged over the alleged sexual assault of a woman in a toilet block as well as several other alleged sex ... Read more »

Politicians scramble to flee Parliament House as Canberra goes into lockdown

Australia’s politicians are scrambling to flee Parliament House as Canberra’s emergency lockdown looms near. Labor MPs Jim Chalmers, Bill Shorten and Murray Watt are all confirmed to have fled or ... Read more »

Adelaide traveller arrested after gun parts allegedly found in luggage

An Adelaide man was made to do 28 days in quarantine after returning from overseas, only to be arrested over an alleged discovery of gun parts in his luggage. The ... Read more »

James Delinicolis and Angelo Dellosa: Cops filmed threesome with teen

WARNING: Graphic Two Sydney police officers filmed themselves bragging about “double impact” and “double trouble” as they had sex with a teenage schoolgirl in a hotel room, court documents reveal. ... Read more »

Runaway Bourke Street Mall driver ‘in panic' during shocking chase that endangered passengers, court told

A man who sent pedestrians fleeing for their lives as he drove a car down Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall did so out of panic, a court has been told. Bryce ... Read more »

Operation Ironside: Port Botany worker charged over alleged 230kg meth plot

A Port Botany worker allegedly passed on inside knowledge of shipments coming into Sydney to help criminals plotting to import 230kg of meth. Pantelis Spyrou has become the latest arrest ... Read more »

Coroner to probe newborn baby's tragic death in Melbourne prison

Prison guards and a nurse didn’t try to resuscitate an “incredibly vulnerable” 12-day-old baby who wasn’t breathing in a Melbourne prison, a court has been told. The baby girl, who ... Read more »

Grieving family denied funeral exemption for baby Mia who died in magpie attack

Grieving family members of a little Queensland girl who tragically died when her mother tripped and fell after she was attacked by a magpie have been denied a Covid-19 exemption. ... Read more »

SA Premier fires back at AOC amid public outrage over Olympians' quarantine fiasco

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall has fired back after the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) criticised the government for their “cruel and uncaring” decision to force returning Olympians into an extra ... Read more »

Biloela child Tharnicaa Murugappan, 4, loses bid for protection visa in High Court of Australia

The four-year-old daughter of Tamil asylum seekers who settled in Biloela has lost her last ditch bid to apply for a protection in the High Court of Australia. The court ... Read more »

Sydney man threatened to harm police horses: cops

A Sydney man who allegedly threatened to harm police horses in the wake of last month’s violent anti-lockdown protests has been charged. Strike Force Seasoned, which NSW Police formed to ... Read more »

Sydney dad hailed a hero after stopping an alleged home invasion

A woman has been arrested after allegedly breaking into a home in Sydney’s southwest. A family of four was inside the Canley Heights home on Fernlea Place when the woman ... Read more »

SeaWorld resumes rescue efforts to save humpback whale entangled in shark nets

The “emotional” mission to save a humpback whale trapped in shark netting in waters off the southern Gold Coast has resumed on Thursday morning. SeaWorld and Queensland Department of Fisheries ... Read more »