Alleged kill threat as butcher brothers fall out
TWO brothers who inherited their dad's award-winning southeast Queensland butchery empire have fallen out over how to split the business, with claims one threatened to shoot the other.
Paul Robert Schulte has sued Peter Robert Schulte in Brisbane Supreme Court alleging that their long-running business feud escalated in September 2018 when Peter told him: "I am very close to getting a gun and shooting you" during a meeting in the car park of the Woolworths supermarket in Plainlands, west of Brisbane.
Paul alleges, in his claim filed in court, that the comment came two years after Peter allegedly warned him: "Watch your back, I know people" after Peter demanded Paul give him the title to the gourmet butcher shop on the Warrego Highway at Plainland.
Peter denies the claims, but admits he discussed how the business and the an abattoir and shopping centre, called Schulte's Central, should be divided, with Paul in 2018.
Peter and Paul are the son's of the-late Peter Wolfgang Schulte, who founded the Schulte's butchery business in 1952.
The brothers are joint owners of the butchery business - where Paul has worked for 45 years - and have also been in a business partnership as retail landlords for 15 years.
Paul Schulte has asked the Supreme Court to order that the Schulte's Meat Tavern butchery shop, and the business partnership which owns the Plainland store, the meat processing factory and owns valuable adjacent retail shops and land which can be subdivided be wound up, after four years of failed negotiations and sibling hostility left them deadlocked.
The money from the sale would then be divided between them after the court rules whether Peter owes money to the partnership, the claim states.
Alternatively Paul has asked the court to order Peter buy out his share of the business.
The pair allegedly had a close relationship until 2007, but things worsened after Peter replaced Paul as manager of the business in 2013, and a year later when Peter is alleged to have told Paul "I will punch you in the face" and "one of us has to go" during a long-running feud about how the butchery should be run.
Peter denies saying such things.
Their relationship fell apart over a series of issues, including Peter's failed up-market food market The Stores in West End in 2014, which closed in 2017 after suffering a "significant" loss, and claims that Peter paid himself a bloated salary and used company money to pay the rent at his West End unit, the claim states.
Peter states in his defence that the West End business failed due to disruption due to construction and a half-empty centre, and he argues that the rent of his apartment was a business expense.
Paul also claims that Peter owes their partnership $176,000 in unpaid rent for the Plainland butchery store, and owes Paul $287,000 in wages and dividends.
Peter denies the claims.
"There is such ill feeling between the controlling minds of the partners that they no longer have the mutual trust and confidence which is essential to a partnership relationship," Paul alleges in his claim.
"There is continual disagreement between the partners and there is deadlock," the claim states.
The butchery companies are "effectively paralysed and unable to lawfully make decisions" due to the ill-will between the brothers, the claim states.
In legal letters between the brothers, included as part of the claim, Paul claims Peter excluded him from taking an active role in the business, and Peter claims Paul disparaged Peter and his wife Melinda in front of butchery staff.
Paul alleges Peter made a low-ball offer to buy Paul's share of the butchery business and land for $609,000 in September 2017, and that Paul rejected the offer.
Paul alleges he made an offer in July last year but Peter failed or refused to accept his offer, the claim states.
The business sells meat from Plainland and is a wholesaler around southeast Queensland, and provides home deliveries to Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley and Toowoomba.
Their burger patty won the Best Butchers Beef Burger award at the national Sausage King Competition 2017 and in 2010 they won Australian Porks "Australia's Best Bacon" award.
No date has been set for hearing.