The murderous chicken mogul, the MP and the broke policewoman

Lenard’s Chicken mogul Gerardus Heijne created so much fear even a police officer required protection…Canning MP Don Randall took up the cudgels for several disaffected Lenard’s franchisees in 2007. He organised a meeting between Heijne, Mr Cianciosi, and franchisees Rochelle Bailey and Leanne McCullagh in his Kelmscott office in July that year. Ms Bailey was a serving policewoman, who told Mr Randall she feared for her safety.

http://www.watoday.com.au
June 9, 2009

The murderous chicken mogul, the MP and the broke policewoman
Chalpat Sonti

Lenards.jpg

A jury has found Frank Cianciosi (pictured here with sister Diana and mum Irene) was murdered by his partner in business and life, Gerardus Gerrit Heijne. Both men owned the Lenard's Chicken franchise in WA.

EXCLUSIVE Lenard’s Chicken mogul Gerardus Heijne created so much fear even a police officer required protection.

Heijne, 45, was yesterday found guilty of murder after strangling business partner and lover Frank Cianciosi, 51, in January last year. The pair co-owned the Lenard’s master franchise in WA.

It followed a three-week trial in which Heijne claimed he killed Mr Cianciosi in self-defence. The jury’s verdict means they believed Heijne did not intend to kill Mr Cianciosi but to cause him grievous bodily harm.

But Heijne’s brushes with the law began before the death of Mr Cianciosi.

Canning MP Don Randall took up the cudgels for several disaffected Lenard’s franchisees in 2007.

He organised a meeting between Heijne, Mr Cianciosi, and franchisees Rochelle Bailey and Leanne McCullagh in his Kelmscott office in July that year.

Ms Bailey was a serving policewoman, who told Mr Randall she feared for her safety.

He organised for officers from the WA Police Counter Terrorism and State Protection unit to attend.

“They were only too happy to when they found out (Ms Bailey) was a police officer,” Mr Randall told WAtoday.com.au.

“We met them for three hours and the police were sitting outside all that time in case anything happened.”

While no violence or threats occured, Ms Bailey did not want to be bankrupted as she was still serving in the force.

She walked away from Lenard’s broke, and was forced to live in a demountable behind Pinjarra police station as she rebuilt her life.

It is understood she has since moved from Perth.

Mr Randall told Parliament shortly after the meeting that Ms Bailey and Ms McCullagh were both unable to pay their share of mediation costs with Lenard’s.

Heijne also apparently used his bodybuilder’s physique to great effect with other franchisees while running his business.

One said they were followed and threatened by Heijne, eight months after walking out of their store.

In a bizarre meeting with Lenard's directors, Heijne paced the room, waving a carving knife.

Heijne was the public face of Lenard's, with Mr Cianciosi remaining in the background.

Other former franchisees claimed Heijne “stood over” them, physically threatening them when visiting their stores, as well as verbally threatening to breach their contracts.

One former franchisee said Heijne grabbed them by the throat and shoved them against a wall in front of staff.

Another claimed Heijne wanted them to buy product at $10 a kilogram and sell it for $7, threatening to breach them and “smash (them) around” if they did not comply.

Most Lenard’s stores in WA are now owned by the company, rather than by franchisees.

Mr Randall again used Parliamentary privilege in September to bring to light the case of Ms McCullagh, who he said had lost her home and become financially destitute after becoming a Lenard’s franchisee.

She was subjected to “verbal abuse and intimidating and thuggish behaviour from the master franchisees,” Mr Randall told Parliament.

“It is disappointing to say that in almost all of the cases brought to my attention these franchisees have not yet received fair compensation for their financial ruin.

"In fact, their avenues for redress within their financial means are all but exhausted.”

Many had complained to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, but Mr Randall told WAtoday.com.au the watchdog had put their cases into the “too hard” basket.

However, some franchisees, through Mr Randall, are trying again.

Heijne is expected to be sentenced today.

http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/the-murderous-chicken-mogul-the-mp-and-the-broke-policewoman-20090608-c0qh.html


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