[Apologies: Many of you submitted comments, but I couldn’t turn comments off for this post. I had never intended that this post would induce discussion as this would just end up as flame fodder]
In a previous post, I mentioned that the truth will come out. I will resist the temptation to be more expansive and limit myself to incontrovertible cold facts. Do not ask me to expand on these as I don’t wish to reignite. Rather, my intention is to go on the record so that rampant misinformation doesn’t permeate.
Myth: ETTC never got along with YHT and tried to close down the School
Fact: ETTC tried for a number of years to conclude an ordinary long term lease for YHT based on reasonable commercial rates.
Myth: ETTC did not support the school in tangible ways
Fact: ETTC supported both the original establishment of the School and provided a most favourable rental fee for use of ETTC buildings. In fact, YHT paid no rent for many years, and when they later agreed to a nominal rental of $20,000 per annum in return for providing regular mispallelim for ETTC’s daily minyanim, YHT failed to honour this commitment. The bottom line: when compared to normal rental fees over the years, ETTC has supported YHT to the tune of more than 1.5 million dollars.
Myth: ETTC should have offered a better deal to YHT when discussions about a more permanent lease began and none of the litigation from YHT would have transpired.
Fact: ETTC made offers more generous than that ultimately accepted by YHT. All of these offers were rejected by YHT
Myth: ETTC initiated court action against YHT
Fact: YHT brought the legal proceedings against ETTC and ETTC was obliged to defend itself.
Myth: ETTC forced YHT to go to arbitration
Fact: ETTC had no choice but to go to arbitration and in doing so prevented YHT from effectively taking over the premises
Myth: The issue was simply over the existence of a lease
Fact: YHT sought damages of more than 1 million dollars against ETTC
Myth: YHT actually had a lease and ETTC were being difficult
Fact: After a thorough and lengthy arbitration hearing ex Federal Court Judge, the Honourable Alan Goldberg AO QC, ruled decisively in ETTC’s favour and awarded ETTC the costs of arbitration
Myth: After Goldberg’s findings ETTC went after more money from YHT
Fact: YHT did not accept the umpire’s decision and appealed on a technicality to the Supreme Court (one assumes they had Halachic permission to do so?)
Myth: ETTC wasted money by defending itself in the Supreme Court
Fact: YHT hired arguably the most expensive and high-profiled QC in Victoria who eventually unearthed a technicality that questioned but one aspect of Goldberg’s findings. ETTC had no choice but to defend itself once more.
Myth: The appeal in the Supreme Court found in favour of YHT
Fact: The appeal was allowed (on a procedural issue) but made no substantive findings
Myth: ETTC will be in a worse financial situation because it vigorously defended itself against YHT’s claims
Fact: ETTC will recoup over $2m in rent as per the new lease which will more than cover its costs and provide a much needed injection of fresh income for new projects to reinvigorate the Shule.
Myth: ETTC and YHT are sworn enemies
Fact: ETTC hopes that relations with YHT will be harmonious and is very sad that YHT sought the action that they did and that they chose to reject a deal put on the table by the current ETTC board which would have seen YHT with a much better outcome than what transpired.
Disclaimer: I am a board member and long-term member of Elwood Shule. This post, however, was not approved of by the Board and is not to be seen as representing anything but my own summary.