|Posted on 16 June, 2019 at 20:25|
I write this post in reply to Age Journalist "Mark Russell" who was too lazy to do any research. Instead his derogatory "Article" about me, has remained on the Age website since 2005; And
Because of recent comments on social media about the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Project (ACBWP), Australian Cricket Willow Pty Ltd (ACW), the Australian Cricket Bat Willow Trust (ACBWT) and Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS).
This is my story:
In 1995 former Fitzroy Cricket Club Captain Tom Cullen (TC) became a partner in my business Callen Cricket Bats Pty Ltd. Our idea was to re establish the Cricket Bat Willow industry in Australia.
Not long after joining me, TC introduced a friend he described as a multi-millionaire (The Money Man), as I like to call him. His real name is Edward Ashley Murphy (EAM).
As a result of us meeting and on the basis the “Money Man” fund the project, meeting all its expenses, he would be given an equal stake holding and a Directorship in the ACBWP.
This responsibility also included the raising of a prospectus, an idea TC took from “Southern Blue Gum” the only difference, we were going to grow Cricket Bat Willow (The link below tells a sorry tale of TC's idea as a result of it being stolen by charlatans who lied and misinformed everyone involved including Investors).
The first and most important aspect of the project was to find suitable land to grow the trees and with advice from from Ross Bickford and Dr. David Flinn from the Centre of Forest Tree Technology, we’d found the perfect site. 200 acres of Yarra river flats at Healesville belonging to the Shire of Healesville. The price to purchase this land was $200,000 and the "Money Man" had agreed to put up the money. All we had to do was wait for the approval to be passed in Chambers by Shire Councillors.
There was also another site at Lilydale on the Olinda Creek Flats belonging to Yarra Water that had been made available to us with all the water we needed.
EAM knew all this and of course that TC and I had already established the first Healesville Plantatioin and a nursey of 20,000 English Willow trees so planting the area out would not be a problem.
However, by the time council voted to sell us the 200 acres the "Money Man” had, without our knowledge, (I was overseas and TC interestate) removed all of our English Willow trees, transporting them to Wood Wood along the Murray River, were he was planting them for the prospecus. If you’ve driven to Mildura along the Murray Valley Hwy you might have noticed the ACBWP sign.
Since that time, many things have been written and said between me and the "Money Man”. But all of this is irrelevant, because we are now in possession of the facts, proving every decision or conversation we had ever had with EAM was based on hidden agendas, lies or misinformation.
The following provides the background history:
Many had thought of trying to re-establish the Cricket Bat Willow in Australia. The undisputed fact is... I have actually achieved this and given all that has taken place, I reckon it gives me more credability than EAM or his cohorts could ever hope to have.
My first Cricket Bat Willow site inspection took place at Stacey’s Bridge in 1985. Friends of mine, former Australian Athletes Rhonda Mallender, her late husband John and training partner Gary Cantwell had passed on information and site locations where Crockett had taken cricket bat willow from farms near Yarrum.
Paul Jones former Northcote Cricketer from Alexandra was with me when we took timber samples from properties in that area to make bats.
From 1976 –1993 I had spent much of my time training, researching and studying the history of the industry and by 1993, I was selling the Callen Bats all over World.
Unknown to me, Lachlan Fisher of Straight Six Bats in Blackburn (now Fisher Bats) had also been researching the industry and had established plantings from cuttings taken from the old Crockett Plantation at Shepherds Flat.
Please note; Fisher was adamant cricket bat willow trees could not be grown in Plantation format (Re his promotional brochures) but has since changed his attitude with the obvious success of the MacLaren Plantation at Healesville.
The truth is… willow is a noxious weed, an environmental pest that invades the waterways and chokes rivers, creeks and streams. Authorities in Australia had banned the planting of Willow throughout the country and they were working tirelessly to remove this pest and restore the natural riparian environment along all watercourses all over our country.
Under Fishers concept Cricket Bat Willow cuttings where planted anywhere and without permit... on the other hand TC and I had spent years working with the Centre for Forest Tree Technology (later the Forest Science Centre), Ecology Australia, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Upper Yarra Valley Dandenong Ranges Authority, Murray Darling Basin Fresh Water Research Centre, Melbourne Water, Shire of Healesville, Shire of Yarra Ranges and Minister of Sport and Recreation and Racing in order to obtain permits to plant Cricket Bat Willow in Australia.
It was on the 6th of January 1995 that TC and I were finally granted PERMITS for a Plantation of Cricket Bat Willow on the Watts and Yarra River flood plain we leased from the Healesville Amateur Racing Club. (I continue to lease this area today)
Enter the "Money Man" EAM.
In May 1995 ACW was set up with TC, EAM and myself as Directors. It is important to note that the Registered Office was the "Callen Business Centre" 50 Mt Dandenong Rd. East Ringwood Victoria and CCB was working full time for ACW. By 1997 TC and I had put in place many strategies for the ACBWP. As Directors TC and I had initiated the following:
• Resolved that ACW lease or purchase 200 acres of Yarra River flats at Healesville for the next plantation.
• Resolved that the ACBWT be established as owners of the ACBWP and that ACW be the Trustee.
• Resolved that the mission of ACBWT be to establish a prospectus.
• Resolved that a booklet, “The Romance of the Cricket Willow”, be prepared by IC.
• Resolved that the ACBWT Deed be prepared by Solicitor Michael Long.
• Resolved ACBWT become the owner of the ACBWP and the intellectual knowledge and Idea of IC and TC.
• Resolved that 500,000 units issued in the Trust, 50,000 units each to IC and TC and 50,000 units to EAM when he fulfilled his funding obligations. A further 50,000 units set aside for others by TC and I felt we should consider for work done.
• Resolved that 300,000 units be used for acquiring a 90% interest in the trees at Healesville Racetrack to be increased from 1200 to 1500 and the remaining units be used to produce a public offering prospectus.
• Resolved that the ACBWT be the sole supplier of cricket bat willow setts (trees) to the proposed public offering prospectus or any other plantings undertaken by the project.
• Resolved that a valuation be carried out on the trees at Healesville to determine a price ACBWT would pay.
• Resolved that initial funds raised by the ACBWT be put toward an interest in 1500 trees valued @ $100 ea belonging to IC & TC.
• Resolved that ACBWT contract CCB as the Maintenance Manager of 1500 trees at a rate of $7.50 per tree per year, subject to CPI and that this was to apply to any other plantings undertaken by the project.
• Resolved that ACBWT licence CCB as its sole grower/nursery provider of cricket bat willow setts (trees).
• Resolved that the 40-acre site at the Lilydale Treatment Plant would become the ACBWT Consumer Reward Program plantation.
These records of the resolutions are recorded in the Minutes of Meetings file and which have always remained with me.
On the 1st May 1997 as Directors of ACW the Trustee for the ACWT, we (IC, TC, EAM) signed the "ACBWT Deed".
By this stage a number of EAM's cohorts (hanger on's) were sniffing about everywhere. Michael James Camilleri more commonly known as James Camilleri, (we found had spent time in the "Big House" for fraud). Then there is John McDonald, every time he opens his mouth, his teeth just about drop out of his head (In the link above McDonald, now Director of ACBWPMS states; "that planting at Wood Wood was the company's best option for growing English willow. "The forestry people recommended Wood Wood as a better growing location." He knows this is not true... he's a liar). He and EAM knew very well that TC and I had all the best scientific information from the real experts.
Then we had the "Fence Sitters", hanging around like bad smells were Doug Warren-Smith (DWS) and a former Victorian team mate of mine, Paul Anthony Hibbert (PAH) who tried to hide his addiction to alcohol by drinking Listerene (We found bottles of it stashed all over the place... and so bad was he that he believed the project was his idea.
Our downfall came on or about the 24th of July 1997 when EAM secretly lodged documents to ASIC's removing TC and I as Directors of ACW. He then issued new Shareholdings in ACW (of course, without first offering those shares to TC and I, the original shareholder) this reduce our ownership in the Project to a minority.
In the wash up, it wasn't until the 25th June 2004 that TC and I were able to get to the bottom of everything that had taken place.
The evidence we needed was found when we discovered the existence of a second ACBWT Deed with the same dated as the original (1st May1997), but this one was signed by EAM and PAH as Director of ACW. Unfortunately for the Money Man and PAH, ASIC records show the Trust Deed cannot be legal as PAH who signed as Director of ACW (The Trustee of ACBWT) Had not been appointed Director until the July 1997 (2 months after they'd signed the bogus Deed).
EAM’ and his cohorts had been found out. If you invested money in the Trust, TC and I tried to help you all but you refused to help us. Fitzroy Doncaster Cricket Club (FDCC) were investors in the original Trust, but rather than support TC or I, who they knew set up the Trust the invested in and knew about the fraud against us, they chose to deal with EAM... I found a letter from FDCC asking EAM to sell their Units... so they didn't invest in Healesville at all, as was claimed on social media last week.
The discovery of Bogus Trust Deed proves that as early as May 1st 1997 EAM and his cohorts had been wrongfully and maliciously conspiring to defraud and injure us, along with our families, our employees, our businesses and the public in order to take ownership of the Australian Cricket Willow Project for their own personal gain and they did this as follows:
In pursuance and in furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:
(a) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongly and in breach of their employment contract of service and the spirit of the ACBWP secretly replaced the names of the original Unit Holders from the original ACBWT Deed (True Deed) with their own names or Associated Companies to produce a false ACBWT Deed (Bogus Deed); and
(b) On May 1st 1997 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and illegally presented themselves as Directors of ACW in Breach of the Corporations Act and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) signed and sealed the Bogus Deed and presented themselves as the owners of the ACBWP and the Bogus Deed as the True Deed.
In Pursuance and furtherance of the conspiracy, EAM and cohorts did the following overt acts, namely:
(a) On or about the 14th of July 1997 and in breach of the Trade Practices Act 51ac began providing misinformation and misrepresentation to IWC, TLC and their business associates to induce and cause injury to their businesses and others; and
(b) On or about July 25th 1997 and in breach of the Articles of Association and the Trade Practices Act 1974 Sections 51(a) and 51 (ac) secretly wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC to remove the two original and true Directors; and
(c) On or about March 1998 EAM and cohorts formed the company Australian Cricket Bat Willow Plantation Management Services Ltd (ACBWPMS) with the objective of persuading and inducing associates in the employ of IWC and TLC to break their contract of employment or service with their business and to cease work for them and become employed by ACBWPMS; and
(d) On or about July 24th 1998 and in breach of the Articles of Association and section 254d of the Corporations Act wrongfully and illegally lodged forms with ASIC and issued shares of the same class without resolution or offering shares of the same class to the original share holders; and
(e) In or about July 1998 EAM and cohorts wrongfully and secretly removed the true ACBWT cricket bat nursery near Corryong and transported and replanted the nursery at Murray Valley Nurseries near Swan Hill; and.
(f) That EAM and cohorts used the offices and place of business of TC and IC to wrongfully and illegally copied lists, contacts, plans and ideas and to remove files and property and take such files, property and lists away with them and have been using the same for their own purposes of profit; and
(g) On or about July 1998 ACBWPMS issued a public offering prospectus to induce investors to purchase property belonging to the true ACBWT for their own purpose of profit.
As of the 29th of June 2005 the web site www.cricketbatwillow.com.au of ACBWPMS was soliciting investment using the trees belonging to CCB and the recognized true and original ACBWT and using rootstock and intellectual project knowledge acquired by EAM whilst acting as friend, Partner, Director and Financial Controller.
TC and I maintain EAM’s conduct was in all circumstances, unethical, immoral and unconscionable in trade and commerce and in breach of Section 51ac of the Trade Practices Act 1974.
Since its incorporation ACBWPMS has issued 4 prospectuses based on the intellectual knowledge and 17,000 cricket bat willow trees owned by CCB and the true ACBWT.
TC and I considered our situation:
We concluded that whilst we'd been severely disadvantaged, so too had all the innocent investors and for the sake of all who had placed their faith in our concept and that we should do something to redeem the losses or at least draw peoples attention to these "A" Holes.
On or about the 30th June 2004 TC’s authorised me to met with EAM and inform him of the follwing and I confronted him in his office at Balwyn:
1/. Under section 254d of the Corporations Act and by resolution in accordance with the true Articles of Association (AA) it was deemed shares allocated to PAH, EAM and his associated companies illegal and under section 26(2) of the AA these shares were forfeited.
2/. Under section 203c of the Corporations Act and by Resolution EAM had been removed as a Director and Office Holder.
3/. By Resolution TLC had been elected Director of ACW.
4/. By Resolution the Trustee ACW has deemed all business carried out under the name of ACW ACBWP and the ACBWT from July 1st 1997 and 30th June 2004 illegal.
5/.That EAM had acted inappropriately and had failed his obligations to the project as resolved by ACW on Wednesday the 5th of July 1995 and was dismissed and that notice was of the 30th of June 2004 the issues concerning the true and original Trust Deed and Register required investigation.
Having informed EAM that I was acting at all times with TC'S Authority I then informed EAM: That
a) That he has failed to act in the interest of Stakeholders and in particular the True Unit Holders; and
b) That he has failed to act within the spirit of the game of ccricket; and
c) That he brings the game of cricket into disrepute.
d) That the discovery of the bogus Deed has created a situation where all, agreements, written or verbal and all decisions made under the name ACW, ACBWP or the ACBWT since the 1st of July 1997 or without TLC or IWC’ authorization and therefore null and void.
And as such TC and I remains the righful Directors of ACW and you're SACKED!
EAM then called the Police but I stayed my ground until they arrived. I wanted the Police to see that nothing untoward had happened and so they couldnt fabricate false stories about me.
All discussions and correspondence concerning the project with EAM and Cohorts as of the 1st of May 1995 had become IRRELEVANT as any decision / comment / thought or idea had been made or based on misinformation and misrepresentations:
(HEDLEY BYRNE AND CO LTD V HELLER AND PARTNERS LTD: HL 28 MAY 1963)
In all circumstance the above certainly lead to my bankruptcy on or about August 2004 in the Federal court.
Whilst all this was going on TC had been working on EAM to find a solution to the mess. But EAM was only trying to coherese his mate against me. On the 15th of June 2005 talks between TC and EAM failed to find a solution. TC as the sole Director of ACW now because of my Bankruptcy appointed me to the position of Secretary (We had research the Law and our understanding was that it does not say a Bankrupt cannot be the Secretary of a Company... it says a Bankrupt canot run a Company or be seen to be making decisions for that Company) and in accordance with the Companies Articles of Association TC directed me to lodge the necessary documents with ASIC to return the company to its legal status and I did exactly that.
On the 17th June 2005 EAM and cohorts were formally advised.
On the 25th September 2005 ASIC in response to a complaint from EAM concluded that the documents lodged with them on the 17th June 2005 void and the registrar be returned to its status of the 15th June 2005.
In a meeting with ASIC, TC and I claimed they (ASIC) had made a decision that should have been determined by a Court. ASIC claimed, that although they had returned the registrar to the status of 15th June it had been done, only for their own records and it did not mean the registrar was legal.
ASIC advised us to seek legal advice. Yeah good on them, I'd written to them twice about all this and they did nothing.
In our opinion TC required no meeting to lodge Documents with ASIC, as the required meetings had been held 12 months earlier.
Sunday October 30th 2005, Mark Russell (MR) of the Sunday Age attempted to portray EAM and his cohorts as the victims of an illegal takeover. IC was unable to comment because matters had placed in the hands of the Fraud Squad MR never made mention of this.
In response to this article I asked MR to arrange a meeting to include himself TC, myself, EAM and Cohorts. The agenda would be the entire project and a story for MR… EAM and cohorts declined.
For those who believed they had invested in the ACW Trust good luck... TC and I tried to make things right but ASIC wasn't interested.
In November 2011 in lieu of years of unpaid maintenance and other expenses the lease and Trees were tranferred to me.