Bishops on the hook for $25 million debt

A law suit has been filed against the current and former bishops of Bathurst of the Anglican Church of Australia to recoup approximately $25 million lost in the collapse of the Anglican Development Fund (Bathurst Diocese). Last week the firm McGrath Nicol, which was appointed as receiver and manager of the ADF by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in October 2013, released a statement saying that as a result of its investigations “the receivers and managers have commenced legal proceedings against certain ADF board members and various related parties.”  Former bishops the Rt. Rev. Richard Hurford and current bishop the Rt. Rev. Ian Palmer were the only board members named so far. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia last year initiated legal proceedings against the diocese to recoup funds it lent to the ADF, however Bishop Palmer has vigorously defended the diocese from the claims saying the diocese is not liable for ADF’s debts. A spokesman for McGrath Nicol countered that ADF “acted as a financial intermediary which borrowed funds from certain financiers such as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and on-lent those funds to schools, parishes, and other institutions within the Bathurst Diocese which are subject to the control of the General Synod,” adding its “activities included governing, controlling and managing those borrowings, and considering applications received for loans from approved diocesan entities.”

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