The events that closed our beloved church
Even though Enmore Spiritualist Church has been gone for some time, the question is still and often put, “what happened to your lovely little church?” Well, the answer is complex and simple all at the same time. Let’s go for the simple version.
The players: Patricia Cleary – ex-president
Patricia Cleary, the then president of the church, had been stealing money from the church’s coffers for a very long time. Indeed, there had been persistent questions and rumours about such dishonesty for a number of years, but all questions were rebuffed by Ms Cleary, normally with a threat of some kind, and usually a threat of court action claiming defamation or suchlike. As it turns out, the threats issued by Pat Cleary were far from empty, and were both malign and well intentioned.
Back in 2009 at that year’s AGM, Pat Cleary lost her role as treasurer, and the extent of the theft of church monies was exposed. A further meeting of the members was subsequently held and the committee dissolved, with Pat Cleary then losing her long-held position as president. She did not like this one little bit, and sought the legal assistance of Terence Goldberg of Turner Freeman Lawyers and commenced court action against five members of the church, and indeed against the church itself, in an attempt to regain her position as president and presumably also that of treasurer.
For reasons which remain difficult to understand, two other church members took Pat Cleary’s side in her court action, as well as a further church member by the name of Mandy Miami (real name Miranda McCarthy). Mandy’s motivations though became clear after a certain length of time as her home address became the receptacle for church funds after the church was closed.
However, Pat Cleary and her three compatriots did not claim victory in their court action against the church and five of its members, as the court made no order in anyone’s favour and, in fact, the court’s only order was that each party pay their own costs. This, in turn, caused a problem for Pat Cleary and her friends as they did not have the funds to pay their legal and court costs, which turned out to be very substantial indeed.
Terry Goldberg (solicitor) and Jon Lindsay
As dishonesty tends to do, its tentacles spread outwards. Terence Goldberg, the solicitor who acted for the four plaintiffs in the abovementioned court matter made an application to the court for the assessment of his costs, and in such application claimed to have acted for the church in the said proceedings (detailed here). This was a clear and obvious lie. Not only was the church named as a defendant in the court proceedings, it was also an unrepresented party, with no solicitor acting on its behalf.
An acquaintance of Terence Goldberg’s, a Mr Jon Lindsay, and while claiming to be a creditor in the amount of $85.00, sought the winding up of the church in order to pay Turner Freeman’s bill of costs. The church was wound up and its building was sold in June 2011 for $965,000 to pay Turner Freeman’s improper first claim of $124,661.90 (which later inexplicably grew to $188,303.60). Jon Lindsay’s claim to be a creditor of the church enabled him to pass a resolution for and in turn vote to wind up the association.
What happened to the residue, I hear you ask? Well, not being content with improperly seeking his costs from the church, it transpires that the remaining monies as belonging to the church have since found their way into a trust as set up by Terence Goldberg, with the sole objective of that trust being to provide monies to a sham entity, as also set up by Terence Goldberg, with that sham entity residing at the given home address of, you guessed it, Mandy Miami and Jon Lindsay.
One would think that the Law Society and the police would be very interested in the above. However, and sadly, all authorities have turned a distinct blind eye, claiming that all that took place was above board.
The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner, the overseer of solicitor conduct (a body answerable to the Attorney General’s Office), has done all in its power to protect Terence Goldberg and cover up his criminal activities.
Michael Jones, Jones Partners Insolvency
Of course, Terence Goldberg didn’t act alone. Michael Jones of Jones Partners has played a central role in the matter. Despite being made totally aware of Terence Goldberg’s fraudulent activities and the improper debt claimed against the church, Michael Jones, being the liquidator, proceeded with the winding up of the association, himself claiming a multitude of costs against the church along the way, while also paying creditors as it turned out who didn’t actually exist.
Michael Jones acted in conspiracy with Terence Goldberg to strip the church of its entire assets, and place those and other funds into the abovementioned Trust, together with other funds of an unknown origin. The term used for such behaviour is money laundering.
The church at the time of its closure had one true creditor only, being CBC Partners, Sydney, in the amount of $3,514.50. Ironically, this sum was invoiced to the church for an audit of its finances, with such audit highlighting Patricia Cleary’s theft of church moneys.
However, Michael Jones, in a declaration to ASIC on 6 December 2017 claims to have paid $242,179.10 to ‘unsecured creditors’. As can be seen, this is quite a disparity. Michael Jones also declared to ASIC that he paid $81,826.35 in legal fees, and we can safely presume this money as belonging to the church was in fact paid to Turner Freeman Lawyers.
Now, of course, what is most interesting in Michael Jones’s declaration to ASIC is his claim to have paid the sum of $500,000.00 into the Trust that both he and Terence Goldberg created. That Trust, in fact, received an amount of $985,447.00 in the latter part of 2016, before an amount of $492,307.00 simply vanished from that same Trust, marked as ‘expenses’. We wonder what these expenses can be, and where did this money go?
Michael Jones’s declaration to ASIC of 6 December 2017 can be found here.
More to follow…
As it also transpires, Terence Goldberg’s wife, Suzie Forell, a rumoured friend of Mandy Miami, was once an employee of the NSW Police Force, as well as being a former employee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. It seems that Terence Goldberg is very well protected indeed. Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction.
See timeline of events which appears after the following letter to Terence Goldberg of 4 November 2019 for a baseline account of the sorry tale.
A concise timeline of fraud