Lauren Quaintance June 24, 2012
GINA Rinehart's estranged son John Hancock has told the author of a new book that his mother favoured the two daughters of her second husband because they were seen as genetically superior.
In a rare insight into the complex family dynamics of the world's richest woman, Mr Hancock, Mrs Rinehart's son to Englishman Greg Milton, told Fairfax journalist and author Adele Ferguson his younger sisters - Hope Rinehart Welker and Ginia Rinehart from Mrs Rinehart's second marriage - were ''put on top from the moment they were born''.
''Again and again it was drilled into them that they were superior, almost as if we [Mr Hancock and his sister Bianca Rinehart] were adopted children whose future was to work in the grease traps,'' he said.
Ginia Rinehart, 25, has sided with her mother in a dispute over control of the family's multi-billion dollar trust and is now regarded as her successor.
Mr Hancock's father, who the mining heiress married when she was 19 and who later became a taxi driver, would be all but airbrushed from the family narrative.
On the other hand Mrs Rinehart described her much older second husband, Harvard-educated tax lawyer Frank Rinehart, as the ''finest person I've ever known''.
But, as reported in The Canberra Times yesterday, the book reveals that Mr Rinehart was convicted of tax fraud and had many secrets in his past.
Mr Hancock described his stepfather as a ''hard man'' and said that, when he was 12 years old, Mr Rinehart physically challenged him and once disciplined him by punching him in the face.
''My mother's view would be 'Let the ones who can't swim drown. Survival of the fittest - there can be no place for weak men'.''
When he was 27, Mr Hancock quietly dropped his stepfather's name and adopted his grandfather's name by deed poll.
Meanwhile, Mr Rinehart's only surviving son Chris Rinehart, has revealed that he uncovered that his father had led a double life. While working as a lawyer in Manhattan in the 1960s, Frank Rinehart lived with Lorraine Boyce and her children in an apartment and returned home to his wife Elizabeth and their three sons in Massachusetts on weekends.
In his first ever interview, Chris Rinehart said: ''I was the one who dug that up. Gina didn't know anything about it. I had met [Ms Boyce] a couple of times when I was a teenager and, while I was digging through my father's records … I came across this address so I took a train to New York City and I knocked on the door and that's how I found out about it.''
When Chris Rinehart told Gina Rinehart about Ms Boyce she launched legal action to secure ownership of the New York apartment where the woman, who was in her 70s, had lived for more than 26 years.
■ Gina Rinehart: The untold story of the richest woman in the world is published by Macmillan Australia on Tuesday.