Minutes and reports from Lismore City Council meetings reveal Mayor Jenny Dowell and Councillor Isaac Smith’s connection with the Universal Medicine cult. We’d like both Councillors to answer some questions about their association with UM, and the political ramifications. UPDATE Sep. 4: Councillor Isaac Smith has responded to our questions in the comments UPDATE Sep. 1: Scroll down for Mayor Jenny Dowell’s pathetic responses to questions posed by our friends on Twitter.
Both Smith and Dowell spoke at the Real Media Real Change Cyber-bullying Conference in Lismore in December 2012. That was the conference where propagandist Sarah Davis invited high calibre speakers but neglected to tell them RMRC is an anti-free speech front for a harmful cult. Eight out of 10 speakers cancelled when informed, but Jenny Dowell went ahead after telling me in an email she was ‘aware of the links’ within the organising group. I also sent Mayor Dowell some information on UM’s unsavoury and predatory behaviour when I was informed Esoteric Womens Health Pty Ltd would be preying on cancer patients at a breast cancer care retreat held in Lismore City Hall in July this year.
Smith’s role at the event was reported by the inglorious anti-vaccination propaganda network.
Esoteric Womens Health Pty Ltd, which is part of the multi million dollar Benhayon business conglomerate, asked for a discount on the room hire at City Hall – a discount for which authentic non profit community service groups might be eligible. In spite of having ample information that UM is a harmful commercial operation, Mayor Dowell voted in favour of the discount. Councillor Smith absented himself from the vote due to a conflict of interest.
Councillor Smith plans to run for state parliament against sitting member, Thomas George, for the seat of Lismore next year.
Regardless of their political stripe, Councillor Smith and Mayor Dowell need to explain their relationship with Universal Medicine and answer a few questions to assure Lismore constituents and those of us calling UM to account that the cult is not going to receive political favours.
Lismore City Council Meeting
Requests for financial assistance were discussed seeking exclusion of one item relating to the organisation known as Esoteric Women’s Health through a motion . The issue was raised by Cr Battista. Cr Smith had to leave the room due to a conflict of interest.
Cr Battista’s concerns related to a practice of breast massage therapy for cancer patients and other issues resulting in marriage breakdowns. He was of the view that such groups should not even be allowed to use the Town Hall.
Mayor Dowell declared her membership of a cancer support group but she did not participate actively.
Cr Clough expressed concern about making decisions based on personal views and referred to church practices as an example. Lismore Radio Facebook Page August 12, 2014
From Council Meeting minutes:
Councillor Smith declared a significant conflict of interest in the following item:
14.1 Financial Assistance – Section 356 Report
Nature of Interest: The organisation I work for is a tenant of a property owned by Universal Medicine, whom has identified as the organisation being asked to receive a discount. I intend to leave the Chambers and not participate in the vote.
14.1 Financial Assistance – Section 356 Report
A MOTION WAS MOVED that in accordance with Section 356(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, the assistance to persons as listed above is hereby approved…
b) City Hall Reductions in Rental – Policy 8.4.2 (GL390.125.15)
Budget: $17,100 Spent to date: $0
Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre is requesting Council to discount the hire fees ($204) for the use of the City Hall on 2 July 2014 for the launch of a DVD about how family law can help Aboriginal families make good arrangements for their children post separation. An entrance fee is not charged.
Recommendation: In accordance with Clause 5 of the policy, a donation of 20% or $40.80 of the hire fees applies.
Esoteric Women’s Health is requesting Council to discount the hire fees ($257) for the use of the City Hall on 11 July 2014 for a Breast Cancer Care Retreat. An entrance fee is not charged.
Recommendation: In accordance with Clause 5 of the policy, a donation of 20% or $51.40 of the hire fees applies…
(Councillors Clough/Smith) (BP14/585)
At this juncture Councillor Smith left the meeting.
AN AMENDMENT WAS MOVED that That Esoteric Women’s Health be removed from the Section 356 Report and that no discount be given.
(Councillors Battista/Bennett) (BP14/585)
On submission to the meeting the AMENDMENT was APPROVED and became the MOTION.
Voting for: Councillors Battista, Bennett, Houston, Meineke, Ritchie and Scheibel
Voting against: Councillors Clough, Dowell and Ekins (Lismore City Council Website)
Councillor Isaac Smith and Serge Benhayon
Smith is operations manager at Northern Rivers Community Transport – a non profit, government funded transport service for elderly and disadvantaged people operating out of 37 Converys Lane, Wollongbar, which we know as the College of Universal Medicine premises owned by Serge Benhayon. That’s the same College of Universal Medicine that is under investigation by the NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing over alleged breaches of its charitable fundraising authority, as reported by News Ltd. Last year, NRCT secured a 10 year lease at the premises and an informant suspects Smith played a large part in negotiating the lease contract with Serge Benhayon.
Is that correct Councillor Smith?
We’d like to make it clear we have no issue with Lismore Council or Northern Rivers Community Transport. Our purpose is to call Universal Medicine to account for its abuses. We question political figures knowingly associating with a harmful group, publicly promoting that group, and seeking financial advantages for a cult at rate payer and tax payers’ expense.
While Isaac Smith declared his conflict of interest, he seconded the motion to give EWH a discount before absenting himself from the vote.
Councillor Smith was among the Facebook ‘Likes’ on the Lismore Chamber of Commerce page announcing Universal Medicine had won People’s Choice Award via cult member spam vote last weekend. Among the other Likes was Benhayon’s business partner and vexatious copyright complainant, Desiree Delaloye, and bent Northern Star reporter and UM adherent, Hamish Broome.
The award was not liked by a number of community members, including Lismore Councillor Gianpiero Battista, who also opposed UM using City Hall for its predatory events. He had this to say on the Lismore Chamber of Commerce Facebook page:
Very disturbing news about a cult in our very Lismore Please do your research and don’t be fooled by this very unhealthy practice!!!
If you win the state seat of Lismore at next year’s election Councillor Smith, can we expect that any further dealings with Universal Medicine will be fully transparent and subject to public scrutiny?
More questions for Councillor Smith and Mayor Jenny Dowell
At the business awards, Universal Medicine portrayed itself as a business. On its website it calls itself a religion. It s College of Universal Medicine charity was set up to convert and improve Benhayon’s property at Wollongbar into a commercial premises for Universal Medicine money for nothing services and events to Benhayon’s financial advantage.
Are you religious adherents to Serge Benhayon’s Way of the Livingness?
Do you regard his teachings as the ‘One Unified Truth’?
You voted in favour of a discount for an Esoteric Women’s Health event preying on breast cancer patients. Does that mean you support Esoteric Women’s Health advertised message that the ‘body is the marker of truth’ and that people deserve to develop cancer because of their ‘choice’ to live ‘lovelessly’?
Do you believe people deserve to contract cancer for not thinking the thoughts Serge Benhayon dictates we should think?
Do you believe emotions are the cause of all disease?
Do you agree that everyone who does not subscribe to Universal Medicine is ‘loveless and in pain’, and a member of the ‘Astral cult‘.
You’ve seen the images of Benhayon’s inappropriate touching, including touching a woman’s genitals as a ‘healing’ for rape recovery. Benhayon has taught that technique to hundreds of ‘students’? Do you think that’s an appropriate health practice?
Are Benhayon’s enterprises appropriate businesses for Lismore City Council to be subsidizing?
Comments are open Mayor Dowell and Councillor Smith, or use the contact form to submit your responses for publication.
Update: Mayor Dowell’s Twitter debacle
Yesterday our friends Reasonable Hank & Dr Matthew Berryman asked Jenny Dowell via Twitter about her support for Universal Medicine. Her responses show she’s given little consideration to the very serious issues raised – beginning two years ago. It’s also a cautionary tale for politicians to give careful consideration before answering questions.
All of that happened while I was busy at work. At some point Mayor Dowell realized she might have wrong footed her responses. However, her subsequent responses weren’t much better. Read from bottom up for order of tweeting. In other words, she spoke at conference in spite of being warned, but it’s all good because she left early and didn’t hang around for the cultism.
She says she won’t oppose any group that applies for a discount on hiring City Hall facilities at ratepayer expense, even if she does oppose them, and that’s if she can be bothered finding out who they are and what their agenda is.
She also supports fundamentalist creationists/evolution deniers using City facilities at rate payer’s expense.
She blames policy for her support of predatory and other questionable organizations – but the minutes show a party split, with two of her Labor colleagues opposing the discount for Esoteric Women’s Health.
Finally, Mayor Dowell, this is not an issue that can be smoothed over via emails or a private phone call with me. This a public matter of your political judgement that deserves a public response. I’m only the messenger. It’s the people of Lismore that you need to make your explanation to, and the families adversely affected by the cult you have supported publicly in spite of receiving evidence of their harms.