Jamie Durie’s spectacular fall from grace
NOT too long ago, Jamie Durie could do no wrong.
After first making a name for himself in the '90s as part of international male stripping phenomenon Manpower, Durie soon swapped topless dancing for horticulture, founding his design practice in 1998.
Within a few short years, he had become a beloved household name thanks to a string of DIY TV appearances on popular home improvement programs such as Backyard Blitz and The Block.
He went on to win the coveted Logie for Most Popular New Male Talent in 2001, followed by the Logie for Most Popular Presenter for his Backyard Blitz efforts from 2003-05.
The father-of-one, who these days splits his time between Sydney and Los Angeles, then shot to international fame thanks largely to regular appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show over a four-year period.
He has now hosted more than 50 design shows around the world, with his various programs airing in over 90 countries.
Durie's design company Patio Landscape Architecture and Design, which was renamed Durie Design in 2010, also grew to become a multimillion-dollar business, and he has written eleven best-selling books on the topics of gardening and design.
The 48-year-old's garden, furniture and design products have been sold around the world, and he has been showered in prestigious, global design awards.
Durie is also a renowned environmental activist, receiving the Order of Australia medal in 2012 for services to the environment, and being selected to be trained by former United States vice president Al Gore as a Climate Change Presenter in 2008.
But in recent years, Durie's kingdom has been quietly crumbling behind the scenes.
Last month, Durie's company, JPD Media and Design Pty Ltd, went into voluntary administration, with Simon Cathro from Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants appointed to look into the company's dire financial situation.
The news follows a long and bitter legal battle between Durie and his former employee Mike Curnow, who had worked as the company's global head of licensing.
Mr Curnow first joined the company in 2004 before being let go in 2013.
He then launched legal action against his employer regarding alleged unpaid commissions, and in March the Supreme Court ruled Mr Curnow was owed $563,049 - although that figure could be as high as $1 million, pending a judgment on interest and costs.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Curnow had still not been paid that initial sum by April, and so his legal team filed a creditor's statutory demand for the payment, which was due by May 4.
But just one day before that deadline, Durie placed his company into voluntary administration,
claiming the former multimillion-dollar business now had just $1 in the bank - which means Mr Curnow is still waiting for his payout.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald he was "absolutely disgusted" by the ongoing situation.
"This has cost me my marriage, my home and my career," Mr Curnow said of the legal fight with Durie.
"If he thinks I'm going to give up now, he's mistaken. I'm not going anywhere."
The publication also reports JPD Media and Design also owes cash to other creditors, including the Australian Taxation Office, with Fairfax media claiming the company owed the ATO more than $215,000 in unpaid taxes for the 2016/2017 financial year.
The acrimonious legal stoush last year also revealed details of a $500,000 loan Durie had sourced from ex-Macquarie Group boss Bill Moss in 2010 in a bid to keep his business running.
The court heard Durie had been forced to ask for an extension on the loan, admitting to Mr Moss he had "made some bad decisions".
News.com.au contacted Mr Durie for comment for this article, but a response was not received before deadline.
However, he has previously told Fairfax reporters Mr Curnow had "made millions out of me over the years".