Update - Fame Cove Infamy
ReporttonyhFri, 24/09/2021 - 5:07pm
Readers of this website will know that a small action group of local residents has, for some 15 years, been watching the steady environmental desecration of the 400-hectare farmland holding known as Fame Cove to our east. More than this, the group has been actively campaigning for local and state government authorities to bring the owner to order - action which finally resulted in Land and Environment court orders placed on the owner for millions of dollars of restitution in 2017. (See on this website https://northarmcove.nsw.au/generalinfo/fame-cove-who-cares for a background summary).
However, despite the court orders, not much has been achieved on the surface but, it seems, a lot has been going on behind the scenes.
Through an investigation carried out by our local state MP Kate Washington and her staff, we learnt on Wednesday that the Australian Tax Office has taken action in the Federal Court and frozen the assets of the owner of Fame Cove, Mr Dong Fang Lee and his wife Xiao Bie Shi and associated companies.
The freeze involves 20 properties, 6 vehicles, bank accounts, shareholdings, credit cards and Star Casino accounts.
The properties listed include the Fame Cove holding, Tea Gardens Pine Plantations, Nerong farmland, farmland at Bundabah, land at Pindimer, Mandalay (a Point Piper residence purchased by Mr Lee for a record $39.9m in 2015) and other Sydney properties as well as the bank accounts of the Australian Catseye Company
The court order allows Mr Lee an expenditure of $10,000 a week for personal matters and the payment of $600,000 plus GST to lawyers and demands payment of $278,561,080.63 (not a typo!) related to tax matters before the financial freeze is lifted.
Mr Lee has lodged a countersuit against the ATO, details are not yet available.
The MidCoast Council has invested significant resources into bringing this problem to a satisfactory conclusion and they are updating us on progress regularly. We hope to hear more next week and will provide feedback. Meanwhile, in tomorrow’s Sydney Morning Herald, we understand a report will be given by Domain’s prestige property reporter, Lucy Macken. Lucy has been watching these events unfold for some years.
Tony Hann and Len Yearsley