The family court referred Grubisa’s conduct in finding their lists to the NSW Law Society and the AFP, but they did nothing. Why don’t they care? AI founder David Donovan reports.
IN MID-2020, we published our first article on lawyer and self-proclaimed real estate expert Dominique Grubisa.
In this article, we have highlighted that Grubisa promotes strategies to acquire properties from distressed homeowners who are facing repossession, are parties to family court proceedings as well as other “motivated sellers” , such as deceased estates.
Let’s be brutally honest about this company’s messages. It’s about “targeting” others who have lost a loved one, are going through a relationship breakup, or are facing home repossession or some other misfortune. The language and strategies are not subtle. This is the vulture’s strategy.
We reported that Grubisa’s conduct in distributing lists containing the personal details (names, addresses and Google Maps links) of parties to family court proceedings was referred by the court to the NSW Law Society and the police Australian Federal.
The question was raised again in an article by multi-award winning investigative journalist Richard Baker in a story Posted in age on November 28, 2020.
In response to a question from Baker about the referral, Ms. Grubisa responded as follows:
‘To confirm, DG Institute has never been contacted by the Family Court or the Australian Federal Police in connection with any matter relating to DG Institute’s business and DG Institute is not aware of any questions or issues to which the Family Court or the Australian Federal Police may be concerned or investigating.
That may be true, but IA is aware that the attorneys representing Grubisa were indeed aware of such a referral through an email sent from the family court before we published our first story ─ an email that was copied to Grubisa’s attorneys.
More than a year and a half after our initial story and two and a half years since the matter was raised in family court, Grubisa continues to distribute these lists to its students as part of its “Elite Mentoring” program and “Fast Tracker”.
In a new A topical matter segment (above) aired in May last year, Grubisa told reporter Steve Marshall,“I’m proud of what we do. I’m not giving up on that.
“You are proud of browse family court listings?” marshal asked [IA emphasis].
“That’s not what we do, that’s not what we do Steve. I do not agree. I reject that“, replied Grubusa.
Despite his denials, this is exactly what Grubisa does. Week after week, month after month, year after year, the names, addresses and Google Maps links of parties to Family Court proceedings are disseminated by its DGI Institute.
In one video on the DGI website, Grubisa explicitly describes his team going through the judicial lists [30 minutes in]:
We also want to reduce the time and effort required for you. So rather than having to wade through audience lists and join the dots, which is about 20 hours plus a week, we’re doing it all for those doing elite mentoring. So in other words we have an elite team constantly scouring audience lists and every week we give you a list of out-of-market prospects. So it’s every case Australia-wide that has a forensic radar of every type of distress. So that saves you at least 20 hours a week there.…
Likewise, we provide you with a weekly list of prospects in the market. So, for 11 years we have been watching audience lists like a hawk. We all know the cases. Like the more than 70,000 who have hit the justice system and are currently on a watch list. They didn’t come out the other side. But every week we scrub or filter this list. And you get whatever hits the market that week with the distressed story.
So it is the fruit at hand for you.
Those of Grubisa’s students who sign up for his home rescue package learn to scour records for details of parties to family court proceedings.
In one of her lectures, Grubisa explained how it works:
Let’s look at finding divorces in Federal Court, Circuit Court. It comes down to family law issues.
Take, for example, NSW family law. And we can look at the courthouse in Sydney. So these are all divorces….
Now, with the different surnames, they are sometimes de facto; sometimes the spouse resumes her maiden name or other. Don’t worry about that. It would be the same name… uh… Ward. They are both husband and wife and they kept the marital name.
Either way, they’re all going to be on divorce issues. This does not necessarily mean that there is real estate involved. People get divorced without owning real estate.
Leaving aside the moral repugnance of targeting people going through a divorce, it’s not that all of the issues listed pertain to divorce matters. The issues before the Federal Circuit and Family Court are broader.
As a family court notes on his website:
“The Court’s family law jurisdiction includes divorce petitions, spousal support claims, property and financial disputes, parenting orders, enforcement of orders, tracing and recovery orders, warrants for the arrest or detention of a child and the determination of parentage.”
Nothing on the docket of the Court identifies the nature of the proceedings.
A recovery order is a court order, which can require that a child be returned to a parent, a person who has a parenting order that says the person must be able to live with, spend time with, or communicate with that person, or a person who has parental responsibility for a child. Court orders may relate to prevent the removal of a child from Australia.
Which means that parties subject to such intense proceedings have their personal data distributed by Grubisa to its students.
Although Grubisa adamantly denies that she ran the family court list for A Current Affair, her writings belie her words.
On page 79 of Real estate rescue textbook provided to his students, says Grubisa gently, “divorce is an opportunity but obviously delicate”.
Then on page 80, she describes her plan without remorse:
“Our business is to make money from the sale of distressed assets. We ask, we seek, we knock and we win.
The goal is to find that owner at a repossession payment or that motivated seller due to divorce, death or bankruptcy and other debts.
Grubisa is proud of her appearances in the national media and on television. The logos of prominent media organizations appear on its marketing.
(Despite negative publicity from both, the logos of “A Current Affair” and the Sydney Morning Herald still appear in DG Institute promotions)
In the ACA segment interview in May of last year, this exchange took place between journalist Steven Marshall and Grubisa:
Marshal: “We helped get you started.”
Marshal: “Then after talking to these people, we sort of regret it.”
This did not prevent Grubisa from continuing to use the logo of A topical matter and the Sydney Morning Heraldwho have published several not very encouraging articles.
Over the past year or so, Grubisa has taken its vulture strategies to a new level, promoting the use of new technologies.
At about 42 minutes in a video on the DGI site, Grubisa claims authorship of the software:
“We built [FastProperty] from scratch – a platform tailored for property developers.
The software is not a creation of DG Institute but rather software designed and produced by software developers based in Sydney, Archistar.
DG Institute is adding court list details to the Archistar platform to make it easier for its students to target those in financial or relationship difficulty.
Grubisa says in the same video (43 mins):
We feed this throughout…
You are able to see targeted out-of-market leads from these audience lists. You can see the distress from the air.
In addition to targeting people in financial or emotional distress, Grubisa also provides its students with a target list of people over the age of 70.
In other videoGrubisa claims that she also has sophisticated information on the over-70s:
Because of the breadth and depth of our marketing data and because data is the new gold and it’s everywhere, we have downsizers introduced into this inner layer. So, in other words, you would never know it was possible. Nobody else would ever know that more than 70 or 80 years old live there. You may look at the garden and think it looks decrepit. You may wonder because it’s outdated. But you would never know that granular data unless you had that overlay. No one else in the ownership space has this.
Where the DG Institute apparently sources the personal data of people over 70, Independent AAustralia can’t say.
Independent AAustralia has two important questions:
Why did the Family Court decide it was appropriate to refer Grubisa’s conduct to the NSW Law Society and AFP?
Why, years after the removal, nothing at all seems to have been done.
We suspect that those going through family court proceedings would want and expect their privacy to be preserved, not their contact details to be “sold” to Grubisa students for commercial gain.
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