Boss charged with firebombing posh Point Piper mansion

By Peter Gosnell | The Daily Telegraph | February 03, 2009 12:00AM

COMPANY director Michael McGurk is facing arson and assault charges over the firebombing late last year of businessman Adam Tilley's Point Piper home.

The 44 year old from Mosman, who appeared briefly in the Waverley local court yesterday told The Daily Telegraph through his lawyer that the allegations are false.

"Mr McGurk is a respected businessman, the allegations are unfounded and they will be defended to the death," lawyer Patrick Conaghan said.

The arson charge follows a police investigation into the dawn raid on Mr Tilley's home and a spate of assaults and threats allegedly linked to Mr McGurk.

In addition to the arson charge he is also charged with assault occasioning bodily harm in relation to an attack on property valuer Stuart Rowan.

Mr Rowan needed 12 stitches in his head after being hit by an unidentified assailant with a retractable metal bar.

It is alleged Mr Rowan was asked to provide a valuation on a property near Bathurst and refused.

Mr Tilley's home was hit by at least two molotov cocktails at 5am on November 20 hurled by persons unknown.

A well known developer, Adam Tilley is the older brother of Ben Tilley, himself a former close friend and poker partner of the late billionaire and media baron, Kerry Packer.

The Daily Telegraph has learned the attacks coincide with a dispute which began after Mr Tilley and millionaire property developer Ron Medich agreed to develop a residential site in Point Piper.

Sources familiar with the dispute said Mr Medich loaned Mr Tilley almost $10 million.

As part of the agreement, if the development proceeded to sale, Mr Medich could earn as much as $20 million on his investment.

However as the property market toppled Mr Medich assigned the debt to Mr McGurk.

The link between Mr Medich and Mr McGurk is not clear but it is not the first time Mr Medich has passed a financial entitlement to Mr McGurk.

In 2007 he assigned 115.5 million options over shares in low end lender Amazing Home Loans to Mr McGurk for $1.

Mr McGurk and Mr Medich are also said to be associated through Bentley Smythe, a property development firm believed to be funded by Mr Medich.

Once in control of the Tilley debt, Mr McGurk allegedly demanded Mr Tilley repay the maximum $20 million return.

When this was refused, he commenced legal action and the matter is currently being disputed in the NSW Supreme Court

Meanwhile, Mr McGurk is on bail subject to a $100,000 surety and reporting conditions which include attending Mosman police station three times a week.

The arson and assault charges have been referred to the Downing Centre District Court where it will return on March 17.

Contact: Detective Senior Constable Ray Hetherington at  Redfern Police on (02) 8303 5199.

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