Kuitpo compound owned by doomsday cult Agape Ministries can't even attract one bid

News.com, Australia/August 8, 2014

The Kuitpo compound owned by the notorious Agape Ministries doomsday cult has failed to sell at auction .

The property at 737 Blackfellows Creed Rd went to auction today in accordance with a District Court order for the religious group to liquidate its assets.

The cult owes the Australian Taxation Office $3 million in unpaid taxes and must also satisfy a compensation award to a former parishioner.

The property, which was being sold by Ray White Mount Barker real estate agents Murray Story and Ian McSkimming, was passed in without a single bid.

The property includes several buildings and is set on a 15.3ha allotment.

It also features a manager’s residence with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, a main hall with a raised stage, projection room and adjoining meeting rooms, four separate dormitory complexes — each with 12 bedrooms — and a communal camp-style dining/mess area with an upgraded kitchen.

Judge David Lovell said in July that if the cult failed to clear its debts by today’s deadline, he would appoint insolvency firm BRI Ferrier to do it.

Agape Ministries first made headlines in May 2010 when a police raid of its properties seized an arsenal of weapons, high-powered ammunition and explosives.

Rocco Leo, the cult’s leader, moved overseas to Fiji and has remained there in defiance of a Holden Hill Magistrates Court warrant for his arrest on charges of assault.

In August 2010, The Advertiser revealed the Agape Ministries financial empire spanned two states, eight properties and a fleet of 13 vehicles, with funds in 10 separate accounts.

Leo and his inner circle, Joe and Mari Antoinette Veneziano, were also named in several lawsuits seeking the return of moneys paid into the cult.

Former members alleged they were duped into handing over up to $1.2 million each by claims Earth’s population would be impregnated with tiny microchips containing their personal information.

They claimed Leo said those who refused the chip would be branded terrorists and be gassed or beheaded in government-run concentration camps.

Leo allegedly warned that those people who chose to be micro-chipped would also die from slow-release poison hidden within the devices.

Ms Melchiorre, who is profoundly disabled, further claimed Leo promised to keep her safe on “The Island”, a South Pacific location where he would also heal her.

In June 2012, Ms Melchiorre was awarded $420,000 compensation but Leo subsequently challenged that decision.

One month later, the District Court ordered Agape be dismantled in order to pay $3 million in taxes owed. Again, Leo challenged the decision.

Since then, the case has been embroiled in out-of-court negotiations and short hearings arguing over the precise amount of money owed by Leo to the ATO and Ms Melchiorre.

The court heard Agape had yet to sell its properties and pay its debts despite having had a year to do so.

The ATO and Ms Melchiorre’s lawyers urged the court to appoint an administrator to liquidate the cult’s assets.

Judge Lovell ordered the case return to court on August 15, when he will appoint a receiver if the properties have not been sold.

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