Terminally-ill woman gets her last wish to die in the home billionaire Harvey Norman founder tried to evict her from after her husband – and his FRIEND -passed away
- Peggy Luker’s late partner Garry Dent was a friend of Gerry Harvey for 50 years
- Ms Luker said the billionaire gave Mr Dent a property as part of a business deal
- Mr Harvey said there was never any such arrangement and the property is his
- Ms Luker, now 68, sued G Harvey Nominees Pty Ltd in the NSW Supreme Court
A terminally ill woman who billionaire Gerry Harvey tried to evict from one of his rural properties has made final arrangements to die in the home.
Peggy Luker lived rent-free in a house at Kurrajong, 75km north west of Sydney, with her de facto husband Garry Dent for eight years until he died aged 80 in 2017.
Mr Dent had worked for Mr Harvey as a contractor for a decade and a half before his death and the pair had been friends for 50 years.
Ms Luker, who is dying of cancer, believed the property had belonged to her late partner but shortly after Mr Dent’s funeral the Harvey Norman co-founder told her to ‘move out and get the pension’.
Billionaire Gerry Harvey was trying to evict a dying woman from a house she shared with her late de facto husband who was a friend of the entrepreneur for 50 years. Mr Harvey, the co-founder of Harvey Norman, is pictured with wife Katie Page
Peggy Luker lived rent-free on a property at Kurrajong, 75km north west of Sydney, for eight years with her long-time partner Garry Dent until he died aged 80 in 2017. Ms Luker and Mr Dent are pictured
The dispute was to play out in the NSW Supreme Court earlier this month but was settled before it went to hearing. Ms Luker was unable to continue with the case because her health had deteriorated so severely.
The terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed but it appears Ms Luker and Mr Harvey each had some success.
A title search with NSW Land Registry Services confirms the Kurrajong property is still owned by one of Mr Harvey’s companies, G Harvey Nominees Pty Ltd.
Daily Mail Australia has also become aware Ms Luker and her doctor signed a NSW Health document in June which stipulates she intends to die at the Kurrajong address.
The document is titled ‘death certification arrangements for expected home death’.
‘This form will assist with timely removal of the body from the patient’s home and give certainty about who will complete the medical certificate of cause of death,’ it states.
A title search with NSW Land Registry Services shows the house Peggy Luker occupies at Kurrajong is still owned by G Harvey Nominees Pty Ltd (highlighted above)
The document does not preclude Ms Luker being taken to hospital but that would be against her last wishes.
A representative for 83-year-old Mr Harvey confirmed to Daily Mail Australia earlier this month the legal action against Ms Luker had finished.
‘Mr Harvey is very happy the matter has resolved and wishes Peggy Luker all the best for the future,’ the representative said.
‘No further comment will be made as the settlement terms are confidential.’
Ms Luker’s lawyer Christopher Crawley said at the time his client had been too ill to continue with the court case.
‘Unfortunately, Peggy Luker was required for cross-examination and was unable to continue with the case as her health had severely deteriorated,’ Mr Crawley said.
Mr Harvey, now worth an estimated $2.83billion, said earlier this week he had a ‘blessed life’ and his own health meant far more to him than money.
Mr Harvey had asked Mr Dent to help him subdivide 40 hectares of land (pictured) he bought with his first wife in 1972 and wanted to sell as 15 individual lots
A $4million mare he owned had died recently and despite the horse not being insured Mr Harvey thought about the monetary loss ‘for five minutes at the most’.
‘In the big picture, I’m still alive, I’m still healthy,’ he told news.com.au. ‘I would’ve given away every penny I’ve got just to be healthy.
‘The money side of it, your assets, I couldn’t give a damn. At the end of the day you’ve got to be happy and healthy, nothing else matters.’
Ms Luker had a failed kidney transplant eight years ago and developed skin cancer from medication she took to stop the organ’s rejection.
Doctors told the now 68-year-old there was no more they could do to prevent the cancer spreading to other parts of her body and the disease would kill her.
After Mr Dent’s death five years ago thought she could go on living at the Kurrajong house because she believed it belonged to her partner. Mr Harvey had even delivered a eulogy at Mr Dent’s funeral.
She fought an eviction notice issued on Mr Harvey’s behalf by suing G Harvey Nominees Pty Ltd, the trust listed as owning the property.
An agent acting of behalf of Gerry Harvey sent Ms Luker this eviction notice in June 2020. ‘There is no written lease or licence agreement between You and the Landlord in relation to your occupation of the Property’
Ms Luker stated she learnt the property was still in the name of the trustee only after Mr Dent’s death – the same time Mr Harvey said he learnt Ms Luker believed it was hers.
She had been terrified of being turfed out of the house and feared she would end up living on the street.
Mr Harvey, while sympathetic to Ms Luker’s circumstances, said in an affidavit he never gave the house to Mr Dent and he wished to sell the property.
After years of dispute Mr Harvey visited the property in June 2020 in an attempt to convince Ms Luker to move out, The Age newspaper reported last year.
According to Mr Harvey’s affidavit he told Ms Luker: ‘Maybe you can get into a housing commission or something. Surely you have a Plan B?’
Ms Luker said Gerry Harvey told her partner Garry Dent the couple could live on this property rent free and then take a slice of the profit when it was sold. They later moved to another house
Ms Luker stated in an affidavit sworn on her behalf that Mr Dent was a property developer who had been a friend of Mr Harvey for about 50 years years.
‘The deceased worked for the Harvey Norman group of companies and in the general interests of Gerry’s various corporations until he was 80 years old when he died unexpectedly,’ the document said.
Ms Luker and Mr Dent – who had three children from a previous marriage – had lived together for 23 years and to her knowledge he had died without a will.
According to Ms Luker’s affidavit, Mr Dent had solved a problem for Mr Harvey in 2001 when poor car park access to a Harvey Norman store at Penrith was causing the business to lose money.
A spokesman for Mr Harvey told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Mr. Harvey is very happy the matter has resolved and wishes Peggy Luker all the best for the future’
Mr Harvey then asked Mr Dent to help him subdivide 40 hectares of land he had bought with his first wife in 1972 and now wanted to sell as 15 individual lots.
The land at Kurrajong had a 28 hectare sanctuary in the middle which was fenced off to protect wildlife and featured nature walks and a bicycle track.
According to Ms Luker’s affidavit, Mr Dent advised Mr Harvey he could attract buyers by building a luxury home on one of the larger vacant blocks.
The old friends allegedly agreed Mr Harvey would spend $800,000 on that house, which Mr Dent and Ms Luker would then live in and maintain until all the lots were sold.
When that first house on Patterson Lane was sold the couple would keep whatever difference there was between $1,300,000 and the sale price, according to Ms Luker.
Mr Harvey stated in his affidavit there was no legal agreement to share profits from the sale and Mr Dent never complained about the situation.
Ms Luker stated Mr Harvey rang to express sympathy when Mr Dent died and delivered a eulogy at his funeral in the Trinity Grammar School Chapel at Summer Hill
When the house sold for $1,700,000 about four years after it was built, Mr Harvey built another house on a smaller block for Mr Dent and Ms Luker instead of paying the couple $400,000.
In her affidavit Ms Luker said Mr Harvey never increased Mr Dent’s salary from $5,000 a month in 15 years but her partner told her, ‘He won’t agree to a raise, don’t forget, we have the house’.
Ms Luker stated Mr Harvey rang to express sympathy when Mr Dent died and delivered a eulogy at his funeral in the Trinity Grammar School Chapel at Summer Hill.
Two weeks later, according to her affidavit, Ms Luker rang Mr Harvey to ‘clarify about the house situation’ and he told her the original alleged deal was ‘nonsense’.
Mr Harvey allegedly told Ms Luker that Mr Dent ‘was not his responsibility and she was to move out and get the pension.’
Mr Harvey – ‘representing Harvey Norman where Garry worked for 15 years’ – is listed as one of two speakers who gave eulogies at Mr Dent’s funeral
Ms Luker stated in her affidavit she tried to resolve all her issues with Mr Harvey for three years before receiving a notice to leave the property on June 18, 2020.
‘You have occupied the Property rent free as a tenant at will,’ that letter said. ‘The Landlord requires You to vacate the Property on or before 10:00am on 20 August 2020.’
Mr Harvey is chairman of Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd which owns the retail giants Harvey Norman, Domayne and Joyce Mayne. He is also a noted race horse owner and breeder.
Ms Luker sued Mr Harvey in the NSW Supreme Court after he attempted to evict her from this property at 467 Greggs Road, Kurrajong, where she had lived for more than ten years