How are you doing? Yep us too!


Getting you through the pandemic blues bliss. 


Mid-week its home SEX, with your hosts Lynn and Stan.


Next Saturday, GENIUS. Bruce and Karyn tell us HOMESPUN – the greatest story ever told?


Right now, a 2007 blockbuster 100% true, home buying story on great POWER. Enjoy!


by Mal James & Gina Kantzas

Saturday, September 5th, 2020

POWER is only power if you exercise it.


The Greatest Power is often simple patience.


“It Depends” – the starting words to every lawyer’s answer * …




A true story, some of the names have been changed to protect my innocence ignorance.


It was the summer of 2007 and I remember receiving a call on the way back from golf. The call started similar enough to many others, however what I did not know then was……..this call would be an entry into the stratums of another world…


“Jack and Kate here…. we were wondering if you’d be interested in helping us Mal, we’ve heard things about you, from an associate of ours and we want to buy this home.”


I learnt more about deal making over the summer of 2007/08, than at any other time, in any other deal. Yes, I have been involved in a number of bigger ones since, however no doubt my foundation education can be traced back to this one deal.


I was the buyer agent in name, but my role was simply one of errand boy – actually I think a better way to describe what I actually contributed, was that of witness.


Two powerful Toorak families, two powerful players within our client’s family – all combined with three of the biggest practitioner heavyweights in the game.


This was the story of battles, but not in a physical way – they were psychological battles – or so I thought – however the more I live my life – the more I reflect back on those “battles” and see them differently – they weren’t battles, they were part of a game, a game like chess – with all sides knowing they had to win, but also knowing nobody could lose.


Generals and strategies, attacks and tactical retreats.


Sound of Music meets West Wing meets Moneyball.


Nothing illegal, nobody died, and he got the girl in the end.





Girl wanted guy, guy wanted girl and the deal needed to be right for both. The home was the manifest of their quests.


Neighbour wanted sale, but with incredible legal conditions, so as to protect their other block. They wanted their cake and they wanted to eat it to.


Agents wanted the deal and kudos – was this going to be the biggest sale of the year?


Lawyer wanted a clear-cut legal solution and his holidays back.


More agendas than a party-political meeting at a pending leadership change





A Girl named Kate – a chamomile drinking family matriarch with considerable skills in getting what she wanted.


A Guy named Jack – the hard talking, strong willed self-believer also with considerable skills in getting what he wanted.


The Sellers – let’s call them the Caveats.


The Selling Agents – Michael and Gerald: If there is a more experienced, more powerful dynamic duo in the history of selling Top End real estate, then they are not from Melbourne.


And they worked hard – we spoke on Christmas day and met on site on Boxing day, as part of the six weeks negotiations.


The Lawyer – Dodge from Redcourt Partners: A wordsmith magician with the wisdom of the Greek god Athena (the male version), the patience of Buddha and the creativity of Jobs (Steve that is). Have worked with him on a few more since. Is there a smarter, more affable and straight-shooting hard man of commercial law? Our only commonality at the time was he loves The Pies and so does Gerald, come to think of it.





Actually, the specifics of the story matter little, yes it was one of covenants and counteroffers, demands and compromises – any five season Netflix series would give you an idea of the colour, twists and final result.


A Script as I remember:


So are we all on this phone call – Kate, Jack, Michael and yep me.


Here’s the issues as I see it.


Thank you Mal, got any solutions to those issues. No, ok I suggest we do this……….


And so off I would toddle and then I’d ring Gerald or Michael.


They would give me a sense of it’ll be ok and then they would give me words in a code, that I thought meant no chance this deal could happen – however when I relayed them back to Jack he seemed comforted, after his feigned anger subsided.


In the end all that was missing on this massive Toorak property, was the blood and gore – although I was sure that was for me – especially each time either side, strategically lobbed a conditions grenade into my email bunker.


Mr. Dodge, Mal here, I have another potential flesh wound, it’s above my pay grade, if you could fix it and make me look good, I’d appreciate it.


No problems Mal, consider it sorted and call me Michael.


That was the story – day in and day out – until miraculously the deal was completed.


Champers, back slapping and on my part complete oblivion, as to how I had been so skilled.





Many, however, here are five key ones


  • Laser like focus – with patience and nuance pays off. Is often needed in these bigger dollar deals.


  • Holding your bottle when it’s your turn in the biorhythm of the deal, to be in the weaker position – learning to read the winds and currents a few tacks in advance.


  • Dealmakers working together whilst on different sides with different agendas is how deals get down – especially win-win-win as this deal was. Deals are done by dealmakers; good deals benefit with multiple dealmakers.

    The skill level has to go up when there is only one dealmaker and he or she is making the deal work for all sides – this happens – that was not the case here (although I was a weaker link, skillfully managed by all).


  • Words are just words and many words are tests, noise, have codes and it’s not so much the words per se, as the actions they come with or lead to.


  • Honour and ethics. Some with power lose sight of goals, ethics and honour. Power is not absolute power in my mind without class. There was a lot of class here.


Finally, from all my learnings on this engagement – this for me, was the most effective.


From that girl called Kate:  Jack get me this new homesite or get a new wife.


I loved the simplicity and cut through of this message.


To make it more impressive – it was delivered on a chair, in the garden, whilst sipping some tea and in an enchanting and calm voice.


It did the job and into the fading sunset we galloped.





Clients: Private people who approved prior to publish, in the spirit of stories getting you through this pandemic. Thank you for a great ride, Kate and Jack.


Lawyer and Mr. Fix-it: Michael Dodge –


Buying Agent: James Buy Sell


Selling Agents: Gerald Delany and Michael Gibson of Kay and Burton


* Opening power quotes are not ours – they are via google – mixed sources.

Thank you to all police men and women for putting up with us all. You are very, very much appreciated.


Dan, we feel for you mate! You’re between a rock and a hard place. Michael thank you for your ideas and delivery – leaders on both sides who care.


Happy Father’s Day John and to you David James, you 92 year old Covid Warrior – Go Dad!


Happy Father’s Day to all fathers – we’re underrated aren’t we!