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GPJ Australia to take former execs Caleb Bush and Dean Moore to court

Former managing director of GPJ Australia, Caleb Bush, and former chief financial officer, Dean Moore, are set to appear in the NSW Supreme Court against their former employer George P Johnson Australia (GPJ Australia), with the agency seeking damages over allegations of misuse of funds by Bush and Moore, totalling $1,019,141.54.

Bush departed the experiential agency earlier in October with chief financial officer Moore, the other defendant. At the time, GPJ Australia declined to share the details of their departure.

Former MD of GPJ Australia Caleb Bush

According to court documents obtained by Mumbrella, GPJ Australia alleges that Bush misused a credit card issued to him to the sum of $647,554 over the period of May 2018 to September 2021.

Ben Taylor, APAC CEO of GPJ parent company Project: WorldWide, questioned Bush on the misuse of the credit card on 5 October 2021, which Bush allegedly told him was due to financial difficulties in 2020, when Bush extended his house and used the company credit card to help him out of a “cashflow spot”.

Bush allegedly told Taylor that he would repay the money, and that Bush had also not taken his 2021 bonus, 2021 StARS payment and monthly salary from August 2021.

Bush stood down from his employment on 5 October, and was terminated on 10 October. The alleged embezzlement has also been reported to the NSW Police.

Initial analysis of the alleged purchases from an internal investigation by GPJ Australia made on the company credit card included purchases of boats, luxury cars, designer clothing, handbags and watches.

The internal investigation by GPJ Australia also alleges that funds have been misused by Bush earlier than 2018, but a changeover in the financial systems used by GPJ Australia in 2018 entails that records are not currently available. Mumbrella understands the GPJ Australia is actively looking into obtaining the earlier financial records.

The GPJ Australia investigation also uncovered payments to Bush’s wife Montana Valich, totalling approximately $155,760.82, and Bush’s father’s company Bush Organics, totalling approximately $4,829.

For Moore, the internal investigations by GPJ Australia found that Moore was aware and had approved the expenses by Bush. GPJ Australia’s procedure was for Taylor to approve Bush’s expenses, not Moore.

The investigation also found that Moore had forwarded $115,000 to his personal account.

Further investigation by GPJ Australia alleges that Moore had sent his wife Amanda Bingham $95,997.72.

Similarly with Bush, GPJ Australia is taking steps to obtain financial records prior to 2018.

The total of the above alleged misused funds comes to $1,019,141.54.

The date for Bush and Moore’s court appearance is set, at the time of writing, for 15 February 2022 at 9.30am.

Bush was set to depart GPJ Australia to take up the role as executive vice president Europe. He had already begun the position, and was planning on moving to London in 2022.

His replacement in Australia was expected to be announced in October.

When Mumbrella approached Bush for comment, he declined.

Mumbrella has also contacted GPJ Australia and Moore for comment.

Update: the appearance date has been pushed back to 12 April 2022. 

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