The Guardian December 13, 2000


Lakeline Village mortgage rort

by Warren Smith

Over 200 elderly residents of a retirement estate near Wollongong (NSW) 
have had their homes mortgaged behind their backs. The scandal involves the 
major banks, other financial institutions and the management of the 
Lakeline Village Retirement Estate.

Mr Patrick O'Rourke from Lakeline Estate Action Power (LEAP), the 
residents' action committee, said, "Information from our lawyers suggests 
that the owner of Lakeline, Mr Bruce Maples and his company have mortgaged 
our homes to the tune of more than $6m."

Mr O'Rourke then went on to release the names of the banks that are 
involved in the scandal.

He said, "The players involved and who can fix the mortgage problems at the 
stroke of a pen are: National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, St 
George Bank, Permanent Trustee, Perpetual Trustee Victoria, R.A.P. Pty Ltd, 
John Yates and Co Pty Ltd."

The residents are calling on these financial institutions to right this 
wrong that has been inflicted on this elderly community by the unscrupulous 
park owner and manager.

According to LEAP's press release, "There are also two former employees of 
Mr Maples company, Mr Brett Andrews and Mr Gerhard Bernauer who have 
obtained large loans and also appear to have used homes as security."

The land is owned by the park manager. Residents lease the land their homes 
are on. That is the residents pay rent for the land but own their home. The 
homes are technically demountables, that could be moved to another 
location.

It appears that the land and accessories were mortgaged. The "accessories" 
include the residents' homes which the manager does not own!

Many of the residents, who came to the village for a peaceful retirement, 
are now experiencing high levels of stress as their world has been turned 
upside down.

Residents are planning demonstrations in Sydney to picket some of the banks 
and have been provided with a bus courtesy of the South Coast Labour 
Council who have lent their support to the residents over the matter.

There are two demonstrations planned and they will take place at: St George 
Bank AGM on Friday December 15, 10:00am, Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt 
St. Sydney and at:

Permanent Trustees AGM on Monday December 18, 3pm, Grosvenor House, 225 
George St. Sydney.

The press release continues, "It is virtually nothing for these mostly big 
players who have made record profits to intervene and fix the mortgage 
problem."

"I don't know who is at fault but something has gone terribly wrong. 
Questions must be asked as to how our homes can be mortgaged when we own 
them."

The Guardian will follow this matter to see if the banks that have 
made enormous profits in recent times will come to the assistance of these 
elderly people who have borne the brunt of what must be considered a very 
shady deal.

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