Sources from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese tell Neos Kosmos of inaccuracies in the ABC report
The ABC has written a scathing report targeting Greek Orthodox Archbishop Makarios and his lifestyle.
The report alleges that a group of taxpayer-funded aged care homes funnelled $31 million back into the coffers of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, and also alleges that St Basil’s (where 45 residence died of COVID-19) paid more than $22 million in rent and fees to the Greek orthodox Archdiocese while the group received nearly $73 million in Federal funding over that time.
The ABC investigation relied upon anonymous sources who spoke to Background Briefing and were highly critical of Archbishop Makarios. However, the ABC also interviewed real estate and tax experts such as Jason Ward, an aged care expert from the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research who assessed St Basil’s final disclosures on behalf of the ABC.
“One thing that pops out immediately on the St Basil’s filings is the amount of rent paid to the church,” he said. “There are other operating expenses which are never explained or classified. What is disclosed is that a portion of that is fees to the Greek Orthodox church.”
A commercial real estate agent, who remained unnamed, told the ABC that the rent paid was double the rental market rate.
A source from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese had told Neos Kosmos that the eight-year rentals included money paid before Archbishop Makarios’ arrival in June 2019. It was denied that the church is funneling money from aged care facilities which were bought and built at the expense of the Archdiocese.
The same source said that the rentals for St Basil’s had been decided before the arrival of the new archbishop, and added that all aged care facilities receive federal funding – and not just those of the Archdiocese.
Previously, a St Basil’s spokesperson had told Neos Kosmos: “St Basil’s occupied the property for many years without making any contribution to the Archdiocese – effectively rent-free if you like. The amounts paid to the Archdiocese in the most recent years have been made up of both rent and an extra portion for rent that was not paid in those previous years.”
The Archdiocese source said the church had invested millions into the aged care facilities.
The report also commented on the fact that the Archbishop currently lives at a luxury apartment with harbourside views at Millers Point. The ABC report also accused the Archbishop for the cost of his clothes, driving a black Holden Caprice with personalised number plates (ARCHBM) and other lifestyle choices deemed too luxurious for a church representative. Church sources said they consider the report “ridiculous” in stating that the Archbishop’s cloaks cost $30,000 each.
On their part, relatives of aged care residents who hold the church responsible for the chaos at the facility during the height of COVID-19 point to the lack of organisation at St Basil’s in Victoria with no pager system for residents to call staff.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos St Basil’s officials stated they cannot comment at this time due to legal proceedings and class action suits being taken against them.