IA finds more examples of Dominique Grubisa blatantly plagiarising legal works — these ones inapplicable to Australian law. IA founder David Donovan reports.
IN NUMEROUS STORIES regarding self-declared property maven, and lawyer, Dominique Grubisa, Independent Australia has identified myriad instances of plagiarism by Grubisa and her businesses.
A month later, we exposed that material submitted to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) on behalf of clients of her DGI Debt Management business had been lifted straight out of a paper written by Griffith University academic, Dr Pelma Rajapakse.
Unsurprisingly, there’s more.
In a (since removed) video of 1 August 2018 on the DG Institute Youtube channel, Grubisa claimed that as part of the program:
You get my legal toolkit. So, all of my templates that enable you to structure the deals like the big guys do. This legal intellectual property is gold. This is my life’s work that I’ve been doing for property developers for 20 odd years. So, it is… people would regularly pay me $20K for one of these agreements. These are the agreements to suit the deal and this is my whole databank. All of my templates for these types of agreements. All yours. People would pay $20K because it would save them hundreds of thousands of dollars in holding costs, stamp duty. All that sort of thing.
In the same video, Grubisa said:
“You’ve got access to my legal team to support you on your deals. We are a national practice, so we are on the ground in every capital city.”
To IA’s knowledge, Grubisa’s legal practice, DGI Lawyers, has never employed lawyers based outside of Sydney.
In the Property Uplift Manual given to clients who purchased the program, Grubisa set out what was included in her legal kit, which included amongst other things an overage agreement, various forms of option agreements and a contract of sale.
IA has discovered that almost all of the documents Grubisa included as part of her package were not her work but template documents from UK-based online document provider, Net Lawman. The director of Net Lawman confirmed no arrangement had ever been made for the resale of these documents in Australia. Grubisa’s claimed life work was not any such thing.
Not only were the documents not the work of Grubisa’s, they included terminology and legal concepts unique to the laws of England and Wales and which have no meaning in Australian law.
Grubisa also claimed the documents gave her students the power to do a multi-million-dollar deal with no money down and with the deck of cards stacked in their favour. It’s a claim repeated in recent marketing for the program.
The director of Net Lawman commented:
“That’s quite a claim.”
It seems that Grubisa’s plagiarism is not limited to the material she provides her students and clients. The website for the DG Institute contains a number of policy documents that appear to have been lifted from the websites of various registered training organisations.
The Fees and Refunds Policy states under the heading, ‘DGI Default’:
In the unlikely event that DGI is unable to start an advertised course or continue to deliver a course prior to its completion (known as DGI default), the Client, within two weeks, will be offered and can choose to accept either:
- A refund of the unused portion of course fees paid to date, which will be issued to the client; or
- Alternatively, you may be offered a suitable alternative course at no extra cost.
The policy states: ‘You have the right to choose a refund or the offer of placement in another course if available.’
On 18 November last year, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) handed down a decision in a case brought by a Debra Robinson against Grubisa’s company, Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd, in relation to the non-delivery of a “Real Estate Rescue” course.
It seems that Grubisa uses the names DG Institute Pty Ltd and Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd interchangeably even though they are two different companies.
On the product terms and conditions on the DG Institute website, reference is made to Master Wealth Control Pty Ltd trading as “DG Institute”. DG Institute Pty Ltd is a separate company. The distinction seemed to have caused some confusion in VCAT as well.
In its decision, the Tribunal noted that a 3-day live workshop to be held between 27 to 29 March 2020 was cancelled by Grubisa’s business.
On 18 March, Ms Robinson received an email from Master Wealth Control, which said:
As you know we are entering very uncertain times as a society. With the rapid growth of the COVD-19 virus, our Government has announced an immediate ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. So, unfortunately, we are unable to go ahead with the Real Estate Rescues Workshop on Friday 27 March to Sunday 29 March 2020.
We will be holding the event at a later date to be confirmed and will email you with the new dates.
On 23 March 2020, Ms Robinson sent an email requesting a refund due to the cancellation of the seminar.
The request for a refund was denied with only an offer of her “ticket” being available for use in a subsequent seminar.
Ultimately, VCAT found in favour of Master Wealth Control, deciding that Clause 15 of the signed terms (which the Tribunal member noted “challenges one’s eyesight”) was decisive.
That clause stated:
‘The Customer acknowledges that information, venue and event dates are subject to change and the Company is not responsible for any cancellation or rescheduling of venues, events, or changes in the program. In the case of rescheduling of an event, tickets will be transferred to the new date.’
However, that is completely at odds with the policy DGI stated on its website, which is to offer a refund if a course is cancelled.
Why the difference? We suspect the answer lies in the fact that the National College of Vocational Training’s stated policy (from which we suspect the DGI policy was lifted) offers the same commitment to a refund or offer of an alternative choice at the student’s election.
It’s a little ironic that the DGI policy is stated to have been endorsed by the “Continuous Improvement and Management Committee”. Perhaps they are overdue a meeting?
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