Despite the authorities disbarring Dominique Grubisa from legal practice, she continues to offer asset "protection" services and advice. Founder and publisher Dave Donovan reports.
WE DIDN'T think it would take long!
Less than a day after the office of the Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner (VLSBC) issued a statement announcing that Dominique Grubisa no longer holds a legal practising certificate, so is no longer entitled to engage in legal practice anywhere in Australia, Grubisa posted a video on the DGI website referring to an upcoming webinar for her asset protection clients. The event is to be held on 2 July.
The statement from the VLSBC said Grubisa is prohibited from:
'Advertising, representing or implying that she is entitled to engage in legal practice.'
In the video Grubisa says, referring to the asset protection "product":
So, I want to check your setup.
I want to check that you’re fully protected because that’s on me. I want to check that if any changes or updates need to be made we’ve done it so that there’s a health check for you.
And I need to advise you about upcoming legal changes, laws that are changing and are in train and what you need to know about them.
In what capacity is Grubisa checking people’s asset protection set up and advising about legal changes? She’s no longer a practising lawyer.
Little wonder multi-award-winning journalist Neil Chenoweth commented in The Australian Financial Review earlier this week that Grubisa doesn’t miss a beat.
[Editor's note: After the publication of this story the above video was amended. The section from 2 minutes 30 seconds to 3 minutes and 4 seconds was added. We note also that links to the Master Wealth Control product on the DGI website are now redirected to the home page.]
Ever creative, on 27 June, Grubisa changed the product terms and conditions on her DG Institute website.
Those conditions now provide that the customer acknowledges the:
'... suite of asset protection documents are general only and do not constitute [a] legal service.'
But, as there so often is with Grubisa, wait. There's more.
Grubisa says she created the documents that constitute the asset protection package, and they are the intellectual property of her company Master Wealth Control (MWC). According to the terms and conditions, MWC may engage lawyers to provide legal services associated with the product but (get ready for it) those services will be provided on behalf of the MWC, and will not create a relationship of solicitor and client between the customer and the lawyers. Not unless the customer engages the lawyers directly?
Grubisa’s company has by this time pocketed the money for the product.
So let’s get this right, the public pay MWC, which then engages some non-specified law firm (but presumably DGI Lawyers, soon to become Assure Lawyers, it seems); that firm produces a trust deed, mortgage and other documents, including the person’s will, yet the law firm does not act for the consumer but for MWC?
Meanwhile, Grubisa claims that the creation of those documents with the accompanying advice it is not a legal service.
How can those lawyers fulfil their professional obligations to the customer who purchases the product or service? To give them full and fair advice if MWC company is the client? Whose professional indemnity insurance is on the line if the advice is wrong? Given the very serious issues raised about the claims made by Grubisa regarding the asset protection product, these are very important questions.
So why exactly is it that Grubisa is still giving advice about asset protection, given she is no longer practising as a lawyer?
Of course, Grubisa’s marketing of her newly rebranded “Asset Armour” asset protection product tells quite a different story regarding the product. In a video promoting the product, Grubisa claims the benefits of the product are:
“... tailor-made for you. It's custom-built from the ground up for your situation.”
So, somehow the documents are general only but the product is also tailor-made and custom-built.
Reminds us of a certain Katy Perry song: 'Hot N Cold':
Cause you're hot then you're cold.
You're yes then you're no.
You're in then you're out.
You're up then you're down.
You're wrong when it's right.
Of course, Mrs Grubisa being all over the shop when it comes to claims about the nature of the asset protection service isn’t a new phenomenon.
In a video taken down from YouTube the day before multi-award-winning journalist Richard Baker published a story in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, Grubisa claimed, ‘this is a done for you legal service'. Clients were asked whether it would be worth a one-off $35,000 payment to become financially invincible forever.
By January 2021, she was claiming it was a “bespoke professional service”, although still claiming those who signed up would be “financially invincible forever”.
As media attention grew, by June last year it became “a bespoke service”. Invincibility seemed to go out the window, with clients being told they “have control forever”.
Come March this year, it was a “done for you service”. What had been referred to for years as an impenetrable Vestey trust system transformed into a “back to base alarm” system —a term she uses in her recent video.
But never fear, Grubisa reassured clients that her "alarm system" meant “there is nothing for anyone to come and attack”. For Grubisa, control means her clients could be “ambivalent to what lies ahead, because it is totally within [their] control.”
Issues regarding Grubisa’s false claims regarding her asset protection product were raised with NSW legal regulators as far back as April 2019 — well over a month before the last Federal Election. Despite a full term of the Federal Parliament having passed since then, somehow Grubisa is still at it, making the claims that IA has exposed numerous times in multiple articles.
What on Earth is happening in the offices of the NSW Law Society and at the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner?
Why is it that years on from many complaints having been made, is Grubisa still making the same claims? With numerous lawyers and the CEO of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA) raising concerns with regulators? Indeed, ARITA’s concerns were reported by Max Mason in a recent story in The Australian Financial Review.
In her Asset Armour video, Grubisa has been at it talking down the knowledge of others, telling prospective clients:
"Your accountant or lawyer with the greatest of respect won’t know this. They are great at what they do. I’m not saying sack them. I’m saying this is solely focused on your protection. Another team member to have your back."
A question Grubisa often puts to prospective clients in her webinars is:
"Who wants me on their back and to cover their back for life?"
Not us, thanks Dominique. That's a hard pass.
IA founder David G Donovan writes a regular weekly column on Tuesday mornings. Follow Dave on Twitter @davrosz. Also, follow Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus, on Facebook HERE and on Instagram HERE.
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.