Developments Not Threatened

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Media stories have been circulating about well known Australian business people and companies allegedly being defrauded substantial amounts of money. The Johnson Property Group (JPG)—which has assisted the Seventh-day Adventist Church rezone the Wahroonga and Cooranbong estates—is one company that appears to have been impacted.

The Wahroonga rezoning project was completed in 2010 with a successful outcome. JPG is no longer contractually involved with the Wahroonga estate. It is now being managed and developed by denominational entities. This includes a substantial expansion of the Sydney Adventist Hospital that should commence this year.

In addition, the church does not allow tithes or offerings to be used for property development

JPG is still involved with the Cooranbong estate project. JPG financed—from its own resources—the rezoning costs of this church owned land. Rezoning has been successfully completed. JPG is now responsible for sourcing finance to complete the development.

With the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) it has been difficult to obtain property development finance in Australia. In addition, the church does not allow tithes or offerings to be used for property development. And none has been used. Consequently, the Cooranbong project has been delayed. The Cooranbong estate land is still owned by Australasian Conference Association Ltd on behalf of the Church and it is not subject to any registered mortgage.

The Church regrets any losses incurred by JPG as a victim of what appears to be a sophisticated loans fraud. However, Seventh-day Adventist Church administrators have been quick to reassure members that any losses incurred by JPG are the responsibility of JPG. “And further, no tithes and offerings have been, or will be, used to cover any JPG losses,” said Mr Rodney Brady, chief financial officer for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific.