Showing posts with label crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crime. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The journey towards a name change for Coutts Crossing begins.....


In November 1847 Clarence Valley grazier Thomas Coutts disgruntled by what he thought was a failure of local authority to act on his complaints, angry that his cattle herd had diminished over the space of eight years allegedly due to cattle theft and irritated at the size of his wages bill - all of which he blamed on local Aboriginal family groups living on 'his' property - decided to take action.

According to media reports at the time it soon became common knowledge that Coutts "had poisoned some aborigines" and this was eventually reported to the Commissioner of Crown Lands who, after visiting the group who had been given poisoned flour, hearing their account, arrested Thomas Coutts based on an affidavit sworn by one of his servants. 



One hundred and seventy year later on13 June 2018 The Daily Examiner reported:

Coutts Crossing could have two names and a memorial to the 23 Aboriginal people murdered by the man the town is named after, following a meeting called to discuss proposals to rename the village.

Prospects for a name change for the village have gathered pace since Daily Examiner indigenous columnist Janelle Brown’s article two weeks ago detailed how colonial settler Thomas Coutts murdered 23 Aboriginal people with arsenic-laced flour he gave as payment for work on his property at Kangaroo Creek in 1848.

Yesterday, about 40 people – indigenous and European – met at the Gurehlgam Centre in Grafton to discuss the next steps in proposing a name change for the village. The meeting did not produce formal resolutions, but the debate uncovered key areas to work on.

These included a proposal to include a traditional twin name for the village and to build a memorial in the village for the victims of the atrocity.

“I didn’t know I would get the amount of kick back from the article,” said Ms Brown, who led the meeting.

“But it’s good. It’s time to have these conversations and look at things like a name change for Coutts Crossing.

“What happened at Kangaroo Creek was a horrendous thing and not good for the Clarence Valley.

“It’s not good for a town to be named after a mass murderer.”

She said research into Gumbaynggir language revealed the original name for the area had been Daam Miirlarl, which meant a special place for yams.

However, she was reluctant to push this name as an alternative until there was further discussion among indigenous people about it.

Coutts Crossing resident Cr Greg Clancy said yesterday’s meeting was an initial step to move toward a name change.

“It’s not something that is going to happen next week,” he said.

Cr Clancy also made an apology for the deputy mayor Jason Kingsley, who was also the council’s delegate to the Aboriginal Consultative Committee. He said working through the council committee could be the best way to bring the push for a name change to the council.

Cr Clancy said the work of local historian and environmentalist John Edwards left no doubt Thomas Coutts murdered the 23 Gumbaynggir people with poisoned flour.

“In his book The History of the Coutts Crossing and Nymboida Areas, the chapter on the Kangaroo Creek massacre has all the transcripts from the court case,” he said.

“Its evidence is conclusive, but the case could not go ahead because the court at the time could not hear evidence from Aboriginal witnesses.”

The current owner of the property on which the massacre occurred, John Maxwell, had nothing positive to say about the original owner.

“What he did was cynical beyond belief,” Mr Maxwell said. “To poison 6kg of flour and give it to people, knowing they would take it home and kill a huge number more of their family, is too terrible to consider.”….

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Killing coastal trees is an occupation for individuals with puny minds and shrivelled souls


Clarence Valley Council, media release, May 21, 2018:

Tree vandals hit Yamba again

MULTIPLE trees on the headland between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches are dying in what Clarence Valley Council staff believe is a deliberate and brazen attempt to improve views for nearby residents.

Council’s works and civil director, Troy Anderson, said coastal trees had an important role in protecting headlands and landowners needed to remember they belonged to the community.

“The environment is not theirs to destroy,” he said.
“It belongs to everyone.”

Mr Anderson said about 20 trees had been poisoned in the area over the past six months. They included coastal casuarinas, coastal banksias, pandanus and tuckeroos – all native and endemic to the area.

“In the past two years we have lost between 50 and 100 trees along our coastline.
“We’ve had it happen in Wooli, Diggers Camp, Angourie and twice in Yamba last year – including the site of this latest poisoning.”

He said staff would prepare a report to council recommending a range of actions to mitigate tree vandalism that could include:

managing views for public benefit only at approved locations;

planting species that will enable views to be substantially retained in locations where those views may be enjoyed by the public;

public awareness and education initiatives;

installation of signage at the vandalised area;

installation of view screens or containers at the vandalised area, and
rehabilitation of the vandalised area.

“If people have any evidence of who might be responsible they should report it to council and we will follow it up,” he said.

The sites of where some of the trees have been destroyed.



Trees between Yamba’s Convent and Pippi beaches destroyed by vandals.....





Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ultimately allowing live animal exports and cruelty to livestock is the responsibility of the Australian general public and we should not turn away from our part in this trade


It would appear that live animal exporters are still ignoring the health and well-being of livestock.

Take Emanuel Exports Pty Limited, first incorporated in Western Australia in 1955..... 



ABC News, 9 March 2018:   

A scandal-plagued live export ship slated to take 65,000 sheep to the Middle East has failed to satisfy an inspection and must provide evidence of improvements before maritime officials will allow it to set sail with livestock on board.

The concerns relate to airflow in pens where sheep will travel.

Inspectors from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) spent hours inspecting the Awassi Express after it docked in Fremantle, Western Australia, on Sunday.

"AMSA has advised the master and ship operator that they will have to arrange a third party air flow verification report to prove compliance with air flow standards before an Australian Certificate for the Carriage of Livestock can be issued," an AMSA statement reads.

To carry livestock, a ship must have a certificate for the carriage of livestock.

The inspected ship, used by Emanuel Exports, is the same vessel linked to 2,400 sheep deaths during a voyage to the Middle East last August.

The Department of Agriculture investigated that incident but scandal erupted after footage of the sheep surfaced, reportedly showing livestock being mistreated.
The vision, broadcast on Channel Nine on Sunday night, showed hundreds of sheep crowded into a small space, workers throwing dead sheep overboard, and faeces-covered pens where animals stood panting or collapsed on the ground.

It remains unclear what will happen to the sheep and 250 cattle Emanuel Exports plans to send to Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar in the coming days.
Emanuel Exports was also responsible for a July 2016 consignment, in which an estimated 3,000 sheep died from heat stress during a voyage to the Middle East….

Governments and farming bodies will react after the event when particular instances of animal cruelty or poor shipping conditions make the news. However such reaction frequently makes a claim that the incident in question is a 'one-off' occurrence.

There appears to be a general lack of will to address the fundamental failure of the live export industry to protect livestock from harm or to turn and face the fact that live export in itself is a cruel practice.

Responsibility for animal welfare lies in the last instance with the Australian general public and it will not be until tens of thousands of everyday citizens pick up the phone or write/email federal ministers, MPs and senators that the public's voice will begin outweigh the political influence of farmer-grazier lobby groups.

Contact details for all members of the federal parliament be found at List of Senators - (PDF 163KB) and List of Members - (PDF 145KB)   if readers want to have their say on the subject of live animal export.    

BACKGROUND

ABC News, 5 February 2017:

WA's largest live exporting company, Emanuel Exports, is back in court today to defend itself against charges of animal cruelty brought against it under the state's Animal Welfare Act. The case harks back to 2003 when he animal rights group, Animals Australia, won a Supreme Court order which forced the state to investigate alleged breaches of the Act during a shipment of 100,000 sheep on the Al Kuwait in November of that year. The livestock industry and animal rights groups say the outcome could set a precedent for the future of live exports. Natacha Hammond spoke with Tim D'Arcy from the Pastoralists and Graziers Association who has been at the opening morning of the case.

8 February 2008, DLGD v Emanuel Exports judgement.

beefcentral.com, 1 March 2012:

The export licence of one of Western Australia’s oldest livestock exporters, International Livestock Exports, the South East Asian export arm of Emanuel Exports, could be under threat as a result of footage released by Animals Australia this week.

The footage, showing mistreatment of cattle inside Indonesian abattoirs, aired on ABC Lateline on Tuesday.

ILE is believed to be the exporter responsible for at least one of the animals shown in the footage.

The Federal Government’s Export Supply Chain Accreditation System, introduced to improve animal welfare standards in the wake of televised footage of cruelty in Indonesian abattoirs last year, places the onus of responsibility for the welfare of all exported animals through until the point of slaughter on exporters.

Penalties for breaches of the ESCAS include conditions being placed on licenses, or the suspension or cancellation of a licence.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is currently investigating the footage supplied by Animals Australia last Friday, and will decide on penalties if it confirms that an Australian exporter has breached the ESCAS rules.

Emanuel Exports director Mike Stanton told Beef Central this afternoon that the company has suspended the operations of one abattoir within its accredited supply chain in Indonesia whilst the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry investigation is underway…..

Sunday, 1 April 2018

UNITED LAND COUNCILS IN THE NEWS AGAIN: Nicholas Petroulias appears before NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption and represents himself at hearings


*This post will be updated whenever additional information becomes available*

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) began a public inquiry on 27 March 2018. 

ICAC’s media release of 7 March 2018 stated in part:

“….as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) (Operation Skyline).

The Commission is investigating whether any public official, being a Awabakal LALC Board director, acted dishonestly and/or in breach of their duty as a Board member in relation to a scheme involving proposals from 2014 to 2016 for the sale and development of properties (“the Sale and Development Scheme”) owned by the land council.

The Commission is also investigating whether any Awabakal LALC Board director acted dishonestly and/or in breach of their duty as a Board member in purporting to retain, or retaining, Knightsbridge North Lawyers or anyone else to act for the land council in respect of the Sale and Development Scheme.

Further, the ICAC is investigating whether any Awabakal LALC Board director: acted dishonestly and/or in breach of their duty as a Board member by participating in, or aiding or assisting any person in relation to, the Sale and Development Scheme including dealings with Sunshine Property Investment Group Pty Ltd, Sunshine Warners Pty Ltd, Solstice Property Corporation Pty Ltd and Advantage Property Experts Syndications Pty Ltd and/or Advantage Property Syndications Ltd; and whether they received any financial or other benefits as a reward or payment for their involvement in, or for their assistance or services rendered in relation to, the Sale and Development Scheme or any connected matter.

The Commission is also examining whether any person or persons encouraged or induced any Awabakal LALC Board director to dishonestly or partially exercise any of their official functions in respect of the Sale and Development Scheme and any other land council property, or otherwise engaged in conduct connected with corrupt conduct within the meaning of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.

The public inquiry will start at 10:00 am and will be held in the Commission's hearing room on Level 7, 255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Chief Commissioner the Hon Peter Hall QC will preside at the public inquiry, and Counsel Assisting the Commission will be Dr Nicholas Chen SC and Ms Juliet Curtin.

The inquiry is set down for approximately three weeks. A witness list for at least the first week of the proceedings will be published on the ICAC website prior to the commencement of the public inquiry.”

Transcripts of Operation Skyline public hearings can be found here.

Note: PURSUANT TO SECTION 112 OF THE ICAC ACT, A SUPPRESSION ORDER IS MADE PROTECTING AGAINST ANY DISSEMINATION OF ANY PRIVATE EMAIL ADDRESSES, PRIVATE ADDRESSES OR PHONE NUMBERS CONTAINED IN EACH OF THE EXHIBITS TO BE UPLOADED ONTO AND PUBLISHED ON THE COMMISSION’S WEBSITE. I MAKE THAT ORDER SUBJECT TO ANY FURTHER ORDER OF THE COMMISSION.

WEEK 1 WITNESS LIST

Tuesday 27 March 
Terrence Henry Lawler - government appointed Administrator of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Wednesday 28 March 
Terrence Henry Lawler government appointed Administrator of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Omar Bin Abdullah building design consultant & sole director/shareholder Alamco Pty Ltd (currently under external administration) 
Steven Mark Slee - former CEO Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, former director 
Awabakal Cooperative and Yarnteen College
Cyril Philemon Gabey - one of three directors at The Indigenous Business Union Pty Ltd (IBU) (deregistered 15/01/2017)

Thursday 29 March
John Terry Hancock - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council Eleanor Swan - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council
Deborah June Swan - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, sister to Elanor
Bernard Michael "Mick' Walsh - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council 

WEEK 2 WITNESS LIST

Tuesday 3 April
Eleanor W Swan - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council
Deborah June Swan former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council 
Larry Warren Slee - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, father of Steven Mark Slee

Wednesday 4 April
Matthew Fisk - employee of Tony Zong first at Sunshine Property Investment Group and later at Luxeland Group
Tony Zong (Shuxin Zong) - sole director and shareholder of Sunshine Property Investment Group Pty Limited, a commercial fitout & building company
Diane "Dan Dan" Ren - property developer, co-director and co-shareholder of Luxeland Group Pty Ltd with Tony Zong *not questioned on the day*

Thursday 5 April
Tony Zong (Shuxin Zong) - sole director and shareholder of Sunshine Property Investment Group Pty Limited, a commercial fitout & building company
Nicole Steadman - former interim chair of Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council *not questioned on the day*

Friday 6 April
Tony Zong (Shuxin Zong) - sole director and shareholder of Sunshine Property Investment Group Pty Limited, a commercial fitout & building company
Larry Warren Slee - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, father of Steven Mark Slee
Ronald Wayne Jordan - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, employed by family business
Candy Towers - member Awabakal community, former employee Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council *not questioned on the day*

WEEK 3 WITNESS LIST

Monday 9 April
Larry Warren Slee - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, father of Steven Mark Slee
Leonard James Quinlan - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council
Dr. Raymond Kelly - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council

Tuesday 10 April
Dr. Raymond Kelly - former board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council
Ronald Wayne Jordanformer board member Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council, employed by family business
Clayton Hickey - accountant with PKF Lawler *not questioned on the day*
Ian Sheriff - solicitor *not questioned on the day*

Wednesday 11 April
Keith Kang Rhee - co-director and one of two shareholders in of Keeju Pty Ltd a family sushi business
Sammy Sayed aka Sam Say - said to be in real estate/properties

Thursday 12 April
Sammy Sayed aka Sam Say - said to be in real estate/properties
Ian Sheriff - solicitor
Diane "Dan Dan" Ren - property developer, co-director and co-shareholder of Luxeland Group Pty Ltd with Tony Zong

Friday 13 April
Nicole Steadman - former interim chair of Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council 
Candy Towers - member Awabakal community, former employee Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council


The Sydney Morning Herald report on Day One of the hearings, 27 March 2018:

Disgraced former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias has resurfaced at the centre of a corruption probe into a series of deals to sell off up to $30 million worth of Aboriginal land in the NSW Hunter region.

Mr Petroulias was one of the country's most senior public servants before his high-profile jailing in 2008 for corrupt conduct and unauthorised publication of Commonwealth documents.

The first day of public inquiry by the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) has heard that Mr Petroulias played a "central role" in three deals - and one attempted deal - to sell off land belonging to the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council.

In one of the more extraordinary allegations, Mr Petroulias was accused of signing a 2014 deal on behalf of a company director who was already dead at the time he was appointed.

The deals took place between 2014 and 2016, with the most lucrative worth $30 million, the inquiry heard.

In his opening address, counsel assisting Nicholas Chen SC alleged that Mr Petroulias used a "two dollar company" he controlled - known as Gows Heat - to obtain purchase rights over several parcels of Awabakal land.

"Mr Petroulias at that time had recently been made a bankrupt," Mr Chen told the inquiry. "Neither Gows Heat nor Mr Petroulias paid any money to the land council to secure this 'right'."

It was alleged Mr Petroulias on-sold the purchase rights to a new buyer and then attempted to on-sell the rights again to another buyer, while both remained unaware of the other's existence.

"Gows Heat and Mr Petroulias secured a significant windfall: he sold this "right", around six months later, and received around $1.1 million as a result," Mr Chen said.

Whether Awabakal's board was aware of these deals - and how the deals could go ahead without disclosure to the board - will be investigated by the inquiry.

The inquiry will also examine the actions of two former Awabakal board members involved in the transactions - Richard Green and Debbie Dates - and a lawyer who executed the deals on the land council's behalf.

That solicitor, Despina Bakis, was the sole director of Sydney firm Knightsbridge North Lawyers. Mr Chen noted that she had been in what could be described as an "on-again, off-again" relationship with Mr Petroulias for about 20 years.

Mr Chen noted that neither Ms Bakis or Mr Petroulias were Indigenous and Ms Bakis had "no relevant experience" in undertaking the kind of work she was tasked to do by the land council.

The inquiry heard Mr Petroulias has adopted a string of aliases, including Nick or Nicholas Piers; Nick or Nicholas Pearson and Nick or Nicholas Petersen.

A number of corporate entities with links to Mr Petroulias had been created using the identities of people that knew nothing of their involvement, Mr Chen alleged.

The Newcastle Herald reporting on Day One, 28 March 2018:

The land council's administrator, Terry Lawler, took to the witness box on Tuesday afternoon, testifying that he found no copies of any agreements to sell Awabakal land when he was installed by the state government in 2016. 

Mr Petroulias, representing himself, grilled Mr Lawler over what he told Awabakal members before they voted on one of the land deals.

"Did you mention that I was a criminal to the membership of the meeting?," he asked. 

Mr Lawler responded that a solicitor acting for him may have, but added “fact’s facts”. 

When he put the issue to a vote, there was a "sea of hands" against the proposal, Mr Lawler said. 

“One of the members actually said: ‘are you a comedian?’,” he recalled. 

Mr Lawler told the inquiry that when he was first made aware of the deal, involving a company called Advantage Property Experts Syndications, he “didn’t have any information” about whether it was a good or bad deal.

However he was stunned at proposals relating to the post office. 

“The thing that did really strike me, and I remember thinking ‘this bloke’s delusional’, is that he said to me ‘part and parcel of this is we're going to do up the post office and hand it back to the NSW state government so as they’ll provide us with a strategic state development approval for the development of Hillsborough Road,” Mr Lawler told the inquiry.  

“I found that an interesting statement, because that's just not the way things work.” 
Mr Lawler also noticed a number of typos within the agreement. 

“To be frank some of the agreements I found extremely difficult to read, understand, there were differing parties … one party on the cover sheet another party in the agreement, there were references to agreements even then that I hadn’t seen,” he said.  

Mr Lawler claimed he has since been the target of abusive, defamatory and inaccurate letters and a “slanderous” social media campaign. 

He alleged a businessman associated with Advantage and two other people stood outside a recent Awabakal meeting, handing out flyers making similar allegations.

“My local residential area was letter-boxed with those flyers that same evening and it’s clear from the Facebook post from Advantage that I’m being stalked,” he said. 

“There are quite a lot of photos that are nothing other than me just going about my business.” 

Mr Lawler has reported the matters to police....

 Mr Chen described Ms Bakis’ appointment as “more than a little curious”, given that the land council had been making use of a “highly experienced” commercial and property lawyer. 

He further alleged that Ms Bakis was appointed by Mr Green without the board’s authority until a motion to ratify her appointment more than a year later. 

It’s understood that Ms Bakis will argue that she was always given to understand her appointment was authorised. 

Mr Lawler told the hearing that when he was installed he did not find any records relating to Ms Bakis’ appointment and when he asked for them, it triggered a “flow” of abusive material. 

“Abuse, complaints, accusations and being told that she’s not my secretary and that I’m a thief, it just goes on,” he said. 

“I have never experienced – let alone from a professional person – I’ve never experienced the style in which Ms Bakis writes … clearly [she was] an angry little ant.” 

The Newcastle Herald reporting on Day Two, 28 March 2018:

 A corruption inquiry has been told board minutes of the Awabakal land council appear to have been falsified to show it voted in favour of selling land to a company tied to disgraced former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias. 

It came as a Sydney developer told the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) he did not understand how a reference to the same company – Gows Heat Pty Ltd – ended up in documentation he prepared on the development of the land…. 

Mr Petroulias was a “common feature” in all of the deals and Gows Heat a shelf company he controlled, it has been alleged.  

In the witness box on Wednesday was Omar Abdullah, a building designer and new home specialist based in Sydney. 

He made an overture to the land council in late 2014, after he was informed by a business contact it had property ripe for development. 

Mr Abdullah told the inquiry he was given an opportunity to meet with Awabakal’s board and present it with discussion material on potential developments. 

He felt the presentation was met with a “positive reaction”, but Mr Abdullah did not pursue a deal when he got “nothing formal back” from the board.

The inquiry previously heard a “critical matter” will be an allegation from Mr Petroulias that the presentation was made jointly with Gows Heat. 

When asked if he had ever heard of Gows, Mr Abdullah replied “absolutely not”. 

Mr Abdullah was then shown a document that appeared to be identical to the one he circulated during the presentation, but included a reference to Gows Heat. 

“I’ve never seen this document,” he said. 

The land council’s chief executive at the time, Steven Slee, was questioned over his recollection events. 

Mr Slee told the inquiry the board resolved to contact Mr Abdullah to pursue the land proposal, a resolution reflected in typed and signed minutes and a “running list” of resolutions kept at the land council’s offices.  

Council assisting Nicholas Chen SC tendered those documents as evidence, before presenting Mr Slee with an additional book containing handwritten minutes. 

Mr Slee agreed it appeared someone had written extra words around the resolution. 
He was unable to decipher what they said, but observed they started with the letters “Go”. 

Mr Slee was then shown a different resolution that appeared to have been stapled into the minute book, recording a decision to push ahead with the sale of the land to Gows Heat. 

“Mr Slee, whilst you were CEO was it the practice of the board to staple resolutions into minute books?” Mr Chen asked. 

“No,” Mr Slee responded, agreeing it appeared someone had tampered with the minutes. He was unable to pinpoint who it might be. 

The Newcastle Herald reporting on  Day Five, 5 April 2018:

As an experienced property developer and qualified valuer based in Sydney, Matthew Fisk knew his way around a land deal.

But as he bargained with the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council over land it owned at Warners Bay, there were aspects of the negotiations that struck him as strange.

One of the more “unusual” elements, Mr Fisk told an Independent Commission against Corruption inquiry, was the role of disgraced former assistant tax commissioner Nick Petroulias and an instance where Mr Petroulias allegedly “scribbled out” a figure in a contract….

Mr Zong later took – and dropped – legal action against the land council, claiming he was not informed the deal did not have proper authorisation.

Mr Zong’s involvement began in 2015, when he attended a meeting at Warners Bay McDonalds over a potential land deal. 

Mr Fisk told the inquiry he accompanied Mr Zong to the meeting, also attended by Mr Green and Mr Petroulias.

The parties were allegedly brought together by a former inmate who served time with Mr Petroulias at Silverwater jail – Sammy Say  – who was acquainted with a contact of Mr Zong. 

Mr Fisk recalled one of the third parties introducing Mr Petroulias as a lawyer acting for the land council. 

So he was surprised – at the end of a tour – when he was informed that Mr Petroulias had a “larger interest”.

“I believe it was Sammy Say that had used words to the effect that Nick has already put the deal together,” Mr Fisk recalled. “Then Nick proceeded with he already has an option to acquire these five parcels of land and it would be, in fact, us … acquiring Nick’s option moving forward.” 

An option is where a potential buyer pays a vendor for the right to purchase their property at a fixed price at a later time. The vendor can not sell the property to a third party in that period. 

Council assisting Nicholas Chen asked Mr Fisk if he thought it unusual that the land council’s lawyer would have an option over its land. 

“I thought it was quite unusual, particularly that when I asked what the purchase price was I was told that it was to be subject to valuation,” Mr Fisk said. 

According to Mr Fisk, another odd twist came as a contract was being signed with the amount to be paid out to Gows Heat. 

“After Mr Zong had signed the document Mr Petroulias then lent over, scribbled out $250,000, wrote $673,000 and then initialled it,” Mr Fisk said. 

“Tony [Zong] said, look, he said to Nick, ‘what are you doing?’ I don’t recall the response that was given but I found it very unusual.” 


North Coast Voices’ readers might recall that Nick Petroulias (using the name Nicholas Peterson) and Richard Green gave sworn evidence before the NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No. 6 INQUIRY INTO CROWN LAND, as part of United Land Councils' lobbying for the potentially environmentally destructive Yamba Mega Port proposal.

Before Operation Skyline’s public hearing began, one of those named in the inquiry began short-lived and unsuccessful proceedings in Knightsbridge North Lawyers Pty Limited v Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The matter of the proposed Awabakal land sales was also before the NSW Supreme Court in 2017….

The Newcastle Herald, 21 October 2017:

The matter is the subject of a Supreme Court legal battle that veteran lawyers have described as one of the most extraordinary cases they have seen in their careers.

Labelled by a lawyer familiar with the case as a real-life version of “Alice in Wonderland”, its cast of characters includes an international fugitive known as Robbie Rocket, a convicted drug dealer and a dead company director who somehow continued signing agreements a year after he was cremated in a Sydney cemetery.

The existence of an international money laundering syndicate and a karaoke junket intended as a bribery attempt are among the other sensational allegations contained within thousands of pages of evidence that have been tendered to the court.

Last year in an unrelated matter Mr. Petroulias was the defendant in Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) v Petroulias [2017] NSWSC 1290 (28 September 2017), excerpts:

When this matter came on for hearing before me there was no appearance on behalf of the defendant. The defendant now goes by the name Michael Felson. For abundant caution both of his names were called outside court three times….

During the hearing I was informed that the defendant is an undischarged bankrupt. He was declared bankrupt by a sequestration order made by the Federal Circuit Court on 23 October 2014. His statement of affairs was filed on 10 March 2015. He will thus be eligible to be discharged from bankruptcy on 10 March 2018.