Speaking exclusively to PS from his Gold Coast mansion, Foster was unmoved by the prospect of a new podcast featuring explosive secret recordings made by the former maid who was hired to help care for his ailing mother Louise, who died last month.
The recordings, which include arguments between mother and son over millions of dollars, are due to be broadcast on Sunday night, along with claims he has two children he refuses to acknowledge, and paint a decidedly less glossy image of the 57-year-old.
However Foster denies the now grown children are his, and insisted to PS: “These people are on the perimeter. They have no real insight into me or my life. It is not entertaining or informative. Don’t waste your time listening.”
But Foster appeared to be relishing finding himself back in the media spotlight this week. He was even door-stopped at a Gold Coast cafe by Karl Stefanovic for Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes on the Nine Network (Nine is the owner of this masthead).
“For sure I’ll be taking legal action,” he said, in relation to the new podcast. “They are all counting on my reputation being near enough to worthless, but I have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.
“I am not going to sugar-coat my past, I just ask it is treated in a fair and balanced way. I know my reputation is putrid, I am a social leper, but I am trying to live a more dignified, decent life,” he said. “I was my mother’s carer for 18 months, you don’t come out of that sort of experience unchanged.”
Foster said he had been approached to do podcasts before, but: “I haven’t lived the life I have lived to see my story being handed over to someone else. I’m writing my book, there has been interest to have it turned into a miniseries or film … but it has to be with my creative input.”
PS confirmed Foster had been in talks with The Australian’s journalist Hedley Thomas whose 2018 Teacher’s Pet series on the disappearance of Lynette Dawson has been one of the genre’s most successful. However the idea fell over.
On Sunday Audible launches the podcast King of Sting: Australia’s Greatest Conman. In eight episodes, King of Sting documents self-titled “international man of mischief” Foster and his evolution into Australia’s most notorious conman, from his early days on the fringes of criminal gangs on the Gold Coast, to conning the rich and famous in Britain, the US and Fiji.
Investigative journalist Justin Armsden, who famously tracked down Foster while he was on the run and in hiding near Byron Bay several years ago, and private investigator Ken Gamble teamed up for the series.
Armsden, a former reporter on A Current Affair, told PS he had been covering Foster’s various scandals for 25 years, and the podcast would “destroy the loveable rogue character Peter Foster has cultivated”.
“The guy is not a hero.”
Foster confirmed he and Armsden “have a lot of history” and made it clear he was not a fan.
Over the years Foster’s tentacles have wrapped around an extraordinary cast of characters, from Cherie Blair and boxer Muhammad Ali to Britain’s most famous “Page 3 girl”, and Foster’s former girlfriend, Samantha Fox.
While Fox declined to talk about her time with Foster for the podcast, she had a relationship with him during the mid-1980s and was used to promote a weight loss tea.
Foster also conned Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, over Bai Lin tea, a supposed “ancient Chinese diet secret” which turned out to be ordinary black tea, and led to his conviction for fraud in Britain.
“I have an ego as much as the next man … or maybe even more,” Foster admitted to PS. “But this is my story, and I am going to be the one who tells it”.
It has all the hallmarks of gossip gold: Charity founder sues millionaire hostess over ‘dog bite’ during glamorous ball at luxury Sydney harbourside mansion.
But for heiress Ros Oatley and her son Robert, it’s a sensitive subject they declined to discuss with PS. However for the founder of women’s emergency shelter charity White Caravan, Juliet Potter, her legal action in the District Court is the latest chapter in a long and bitter dispute after the glamorous Christmas party, which raised $30,000 for her cause, turned sour.
In March Potter filed a statement of claim in the District Court of NSW which says Oatley’s pet dog bit her on the backside during the “Merry Litmas” event held in the millionaire’s Mosman home, on behalf of White Caravan, in 2018.
But PS can reveal the fallout between Potter and the “Merry Litmas” committee, which includes high-profile socialites Nadia Fairfax and Tim Holmes a Court, wine and sailing heir Robert Oatley and his fiance Xanthe Wetzler and New York-based entrepreneurs Jack and Rae Temily Bedwani, had actually occurred in the days following the swanky soiree over a dispute about precisely how the money raised to support women fleeing abusive relationships should be spent.
Earlier this year the lawyers were called in. The committee hired Sydney law firm Kalantzis Lawyers, which in February issued a “concerns notice” to Potter and several media outlets after rumours about the dispute began circulating.
PS has viewed a full breakdown of the party’s financials, which shows $30,000 was raised for White Caravan from the 73 attendees. It also broke down costs – such as DJ, booze, wait staff and hire equipment – totalling more than $12,000.
The committee’s legal letters confirmed that figure.
While much of the country burned in bushfires, a second “Merry Litmas” event was held at Ros Oatley’s home last December and raised more than $105,000 for charity Drought Angels and a further $10,000 for the Waves Of Wellness foundation.
“We are just trying to do something positive and raise money for causes we believed in,” Rae Temily Bedwani told PS, promising “Merry Litmas 2020 is going to be our best yet.”
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.