Facing turbulent waters at home, self-endorsed property maven Dominique Grubisa casts her net overseas, hoping for a better catch in the USA. Meanwhile, Equifax cast Grubisa adrift. Dave Donovan reports on this rapidly developing story.
THIS YEAR, Mrs Dominique Grubisa was appointed sole director of the DG Institute Inc, a company incorporated in January in California, listing its location as a serviced office in downtown San Francisco.
Mrs Grubisa, as readers will know, has been subject to a year-long investigation into her practices by Independent Australia, which has led to her being featured in the Fairfax Press and, on Monday this week, in an exposé by Nine’s A Current Affair.
DG Institute’s website proclaims its mission as to empower everyday Americans to grow and protect their wealth. In its puff for the course, it refers to recent law changes creating a “perfect storm” for business acquisitions.
The advertising for the course further tells potential students how they can ‘take advantage of federal laws to improve the cash flow and profitability of a business’.
Dominique Grubisa’s U.S. advertising refers to her being a qualified lawyer — yet at the time of publication (5 June), the name “Grubisa” does not appear on the register of Californian lawyers. Nor does her promotional material state that her qualification applies only to Australian law. Nevertheless, in a webinar conducted on 13 May, Mrs Grubisa happily provided advice to her new American students regarding numerous provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
NEWSFLASH! EQUIFAX CUTS GRUBISA ADRIFT
The website for her U.S. operations promotes strategies to find, take over and profit from distressed businesses, with no money down.
The Americans who sign up to her course pay US$2,495 (AU$3,224) and are, amongst other supposed benefits, provided with an Equifax “Professional” subscription.
In a video on her U.S. Site, Grubisa refers to how Equifax data is normally used only for credit assessment purposes, but that her team have cherry-picked the data for the purpose of business acquisition.
In a recent webinar to her American audience, Grubisa spruiked her golden data cherries:
Equifax is renowned for their business and commercial data like no other…. Government bodies, big institutions, everyone goes to them for their data. Data is the new gold. But it is for credit reporting and due diligence when people are lending money and offering credit. No-one has ever taken all that data, put it all together and pushed it through a platform for business acquisitions.
However, Equifax told IA today that the company has moved to discontinue their association with Dominique Grubisa, providing the following statement:
‘Equifax is suspending its services to DG Institute and investigating DG Institute's claims in the U.S.’
It will be interesting to see what practical effect this has on Mrs Grubisa's operations.
DOMINIQUE GRUBISA’S PLANS FOR WORLD DOMINATION
This entré into the American market isn’t Dominique Grubisa’s first business venture abroad. In fact, in her marketing to her potential American students, Mrs Grubisa claims to have started or acquired, around the world, dozens of six and seven-figure businesses.
For instance, in 2014, this self-professed property Svengali set up operations in Singapore through a company called Global Property Education Pte Ltd (GPE, later rebranded as Australian Investments and Migration Pte Ltd).
for that business promoted the teaching of strategies for people who were not Australian citizens or permanent residents to buy ‘property in Australia by facilitating legal structuring’. The site also promoted asset protection services and distressed property strategies.
Her promotional material for this venture claimed GPE had devised a ‘legal and safe mechanism’ for clients to make “unlimited” acquisitions of pre-owned or second-hand residential dwellings without the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval.
Grubisa lodged and was granted an innovation patent in 2014 over her strategies.
An innovation patent is not examined before it is granted and is only legally enforceable if examined by IP Australia and found to meet the requirements of the Patents Act 1990. However, having a patent doesn’t make the subject of the patent legal. Furthermore, innovation patents are currently being phased out.
The Grubisa patent referred to a system that facilitated the buying of properties in Australia via
‘… a legal process with supporting documentation involving the setup of a buying entity and the registration of a mortgage debt on the title to the relevant property purchased in favour of the non-Australian investor thus ensuring the property is held by that entity safely and securely as the non-resident becomes a secured creditor.’
Throughout 2014 and into 2015, news stories appeared on websites across Asia promoting the GPE business, including in Singapore and Thailand. Over the same period, Mrs Grubisa appeared at events in the region promoting her strategies.
QUESTIONS RAISED ABOUT GRUBISA OVERSEAS IN AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENT
Back in Australia, meanwhile, questions were being asked about the strategies she was promoting.
Indeed, in an article published in the Australian Business Review on 14 April 2015, the then chair of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Foreign Investment in Residential Real Estate, Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer, was quoted as disputing claims made on the GPE website. Ms O’Dwyer was reported as saying a number of the assertions made by GPE were erroneous. Her Inquiry tabled a report before Parliament in November 2014.
Regrettably, a question raised by then Federal Labor MP Kelvin Thomson into the company’s activities, tabled in a House of Representatives on 25 May 2015, seems to have gone unanswered prior to the dissolution of that Parliament, as it was still on the notice paper as of 15 March 2016.
776 MR THOMSON: To ask the Treasurer — Has he or any other Government agency investigated the property scheme established by the Australian Investments and Migration Service in Singapore to help foreign buyers get around the provisions of the Foreign Investments and Takeovers Act 1975 which prevent non-Australian residents acquiring existing Australian real estate; if so, what was the result of the investigation; if not, will he or the appropriate Government agency undertake an investigation.
The same strategies were still being promoted on the BPE website as late as February 2016.
ASIC and the AFP are currently investigating the very fishy activities of Dominique Grubisa in Australia. Now, perhaps the American authorities may soon wade in?
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