October 2015, the College of Universal Medicine had its deductible gift recipient status revoked by the ATO (Australian Tax Office). The charity’s official line was that it was revoked ‘voluntarily’. So was the loss of almost $600,000 in tax deductible donations voluntary as well?
Were the donors informed?
The public wasn’t. Figures published on the ACNC (charity commission) website show a $593,098 discrepancy between 2015 and 2016, with only $20k expenditure. Yet, there’s been no announcement by the charity on its website or social media.
In Australia, the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission (ACNC) regulates charities, specifically with regard to their administrative and reporting requirements under the law, and their activities for public benefit. The ATO issues the endorsements for tax benefits, including DGR (deductible gift recipient) status. From August 2011 to October 2015, donations to the College were tax deductible.
In 2013 I lodged a complaint to the ACNC that the College was a building fund to improve a property owned by charity founder and former charity ‘Chairman for life’, Serge Benhayon. Serge is the head of Universal Medicine known to the public as the inventor of Esoteric Breast Massage. He markets himself as ‘a world renowned philosopher‘, and his sycophants refer to him as ‘the world’s teacher’ whose coming was prophesied by fictional Lord Maitreya. (More on that later).
I also made a case that apart from using tax deductible funds to benefit individuals, the charity’s activities do not benefit the public – despite its stated purpose being to ‘advance education’.
Early 2015, I was told by an officer at another regulator that Benhayon, who quit his chairmanship ‘for life’ in 2012, had been required by the ACNC to sign an agreement that in the event that the charity folds, charity funds used to purchase or renovate his property would revert to a charitable purpose rather than being kept by Benhayon. In other words, he couldn’t use proceeds from the charity’s gift fund to improve his property.
The officer also told me that charity constitution includes a clause allowing UM Trust directors (the Benhayons) to contract their services to the College and receive payment from the gift fund. I don’t know if that happened, only that the charity pays about $20,000 per annum in admin costs.
Mid 2015, Lance and I submitted a complaint to the ATO along the lines of the complaints to the ACNC. That the charity was set up to benefit private individuals and the ‘education’ it advances amounts to promoting UM products and services.
The ACNC and ATO don’t release their findings to the public. It was up to us to discover the outcomes from material published in the public domain – often long after action had been taken. Late 2015 I found the DGR had been revoked when I was looking up the ABR website shortly after Benhayon served me with a defamation claim.
Early 2017, the ACNC published the charity’s annual information statement online. The 2016 statement shows a near $600,000 decrease in assets from the previous year. The charity’s expenditure, however, was only around $20,000 for admin.
The $593,098 is equivalent to the charity’s deductible gift fund.
Remember this from 2013?
A charity may only use tax deductible ‘gifts’ in accordance with the requirements of the charity commission and the tax office.
The College’s constitution, also available on the ACNC website, includes the clause regarding the gift fund and its proceeds.
72. Winding Up of the Gift Fund
In the event that the Gift Fund is wound up, or the Gift Fund’s deductible gift recipient endorsement is revoked, any surplus assets remaining after the payment of the fund’s liabilities shall be transferred to another fund, authority or institution which has similar objects and to which income tax deductible gifts can be made under the ITAA. College of UM Constitution pp.25-27
Last March, five months after the DGR was revoked, and only after I persisted with public questions, the College finally announced the revokation, with the assertion it had been cancelled voluntarily. The College confirmed the gift fund had been wound up and confirmed the charity never had a genuine educational purpose.
On 2 October 2015 the College requested that the ATO revoke the College’s deductible gift recipient (DGR) endorsement as a school building fund, after it became clear that the DGR regime was no longer a good fit for the College. The ATO at our request revoked the endorsement with effect from 2 October 2015.The College made this decision as the ATO had been moving towards an increasingly restrictive approach to the DGR regime, in particular developing the view that in order for organisations to fit within the regime, their school activities would need to resemble a registered training organisation, with pathways of learning, graded assessments and externally recognised qualifications at completion of a course of study, none of which was ever the intention of the school building regime or the College’s objects which were to always be an adjunct to vocational and further education, never subsumed by it.The College continues to be a registered charitable organisation with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and still holds an authority under the Charitable Collections Act issued by the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing for purposes of appeals for donations, but has wound up the school building fund in accordance with our constitution. College of UM website (emphasis mine)
‘At our request’…
Was the transfer of $600,000 voluntary as well?
At the time of writing, the College hasn’t announced the fate of those funds. Were they transferred to another (more worthy) charity or institution? If so, where were they transferred? To whom or what and when?
Given the College is still a registered charity, accountable to a public authority, and therefore accountable to the public, why hasn’t it made this critical information public?
Has the College informed donors that their donated funds are gone?
The charity’s accounts are available on the ACNC website showing the assets were cash. The site also lists the charity’s ‘responsible persons’.
Since 2014, the charity’s founder, Serge Benhayon, and director, Brisbane barrister, Charles Wilson, and plenty more UMers have publicly made assertions that my complaints were all dismissed as baseless – persisting into last year, well after the ATO had revoked the DGR. Three previous regulatory actions had also been taken against UM’s charities alone. As a result of my complaints.
I’ve published much of the evidence since 2013, but to be sure, I’ll certainly be taking it to court. With everything else.
As mentioned, the College is still a registered charity, required by law to operate to benefit the public.
It operates to promote UM products and services. The current ‘menstruation’ course is run by UM’s Esoteric Women’s Health – Esoteric Breast Massagers and other busybody Esoteric practitioners. Selling sexist indoctrination and bent modalities contrived by Serge. And the premium priced compounds of UM’s chemist, Michael Serafin.
In addition, last year I posted about the College’s Living Sutras of the Hierarchy course – run by Benhayon. His book of the same name, ‘impulsed’ to him by the imaginary ‘Ascended Masters of the Hierarchy’, is full of harmful nonsense about supernatural possession, including in relation to mental illness. Last year we saw UM finally publicize their exorcistic practices, with the help of UM devoted NHS surgeon, Eunice Minford. 16 years of trading in.
The College has also run money management courses taught by a former bankrupt, UM CFO, Deborah Benhayon, and Serge’s business partner in Unimed Brisbane, Susan Scully; and a training program for ‘carers’, probably to help UM go after more deceased estates.
Interestingly, the 2017 AIS also showed the monthly ‘Ageless Wisdom Teachings’, which were mostly run by Serge, have been pulled from the College program.
However, the absurdity persists. Recently the College has roped Uni of Sydney Professor of Linguistics and devout Serge worshipper, William Foley, into teaching ‘The Lineage of the Ageless Wisdom‘ course.
The College website doesn’t give much information on Bill Foley’s course, but Unimed Living produced a series of articles on the same fanciful crap. UM is flogging a ‘Lineage’ of characters from disparate philosophical and spiritual traditions, drawn together under the umbrella of ‘Ageless Wisdom’. It all started when Alice A. Bailey held a seance or something and felt fit to rewrite global history. And philosophy as well. Any number of exoticist philistines have been cashing in on her well of bullshit for decades, but UM has gone fully commercial with it.
Work your way down this list:
Nothing beats a credentialed academic willing to compose fictitious hagiographies for a commercial occult religious racket. In this case, around Serge’s contrived ‘Ageless Wisdom’ (that Benhayon lifted wholesale from the culturally appropriated ‘channelled’ fantasies of Bailey) and its cast of mythic and semi-mythical characters.
It gets better. Foley penned the write up for the ‘next World Teacher’.
Serge Benhayon is the World Teacher who initiates this New Era of the Age of Aquarius. He began his work in 1999, just as the initial impulses, but not yet the full power, of the energy of the New Era were released… Because this, the New Era of the Age of Aquarius, is all about awareness, what can now be offered to humanity in the way of teachings of the Ageless Wisdom surpasses all previous eras. In this way the teachings of Serge Benhayon are the culmination of what has been taught by previous World Teachers. The teachings are presented more clearly, more simply and more openly than what was normally possible in the previous eras, due to the practices of persecution that so blighted them. Unimed Living.
For real. Read the ‘teachings‘ for yourself.
The Professor continues:
Oh dear. The ‘Lord Maitreya himself’, also known as the ‘future Buddha’, is one of Mahayana Buddhism’s fictional mythic beings, introduced to the tradition long after Sakyamuni had dropped off his perch. Maitreya has been a convenient object of projection for all sorts of far flung postulations and pretenders since.
Including L. Ron Hubbard.
Moreover, the prophecy quoted by Professor Foley, is from a book authored in 2011 by Serge Benhayon himself.
College director and barrister Charles Wilson mucks in with the Unimed Living devotionals. Although this time he left off his professional titles. Charles, backed by the incandescent credibility of his Esoteric ‘life coach’ missus, reckons history as we know it – as taught by respectable institutions subject to peer review – is unreliable. These are the kind of half truths UM’s whole teetering business model is constructed upon. But Wilson makes the leap into full hilarity with his insistence that only the channelled version of history first revealed to a washed up tennis coach as he sat on the toilet is ‘true’.
History as it has been recorded throughout the ages, in every culture and era, is not our true history…True history is the history of humanity’s evolution, the flowering in different ages and places in the world of a way of living that is the expression of our divine essence –and with it a body of living wisdom which stands at the junction of philosophy, religion and science, which works towards restoring Brotherhood on earth. As such, the Ageless Wisdom, as this wisdom has always been known, is actually the very foundation of our civilisation – without it the form of our civilisation is inconceivable, for its hand can be discerned in humanity’s every advance in every age. Unimed Living
If you say so Charlie. Let’s just whitewash all nuance and irreconcilable temporal, geographical, cultural, doctrinal and philosophical disparities from the last 10,000 years, shall we? Let’s just homogenize human cultural experience over 10 millennia with that clueless New Age broad brush of yours. Then let’s overlook the fact that the ‘way of living’ you’re pushing is an incoherent load of thought terminating clichés and alarmist occult claptrap, which boils down to nothing more than a source of struggle and conflict for a few hundred cash and time strapped ‘subscribers’ and the unfortunates who have to put up with them.
Or should I say, if Serge says so?
So how about a revelation of the whereabouts of that $600,000?
And who’s liable for that £378k VAT bill in the UK? Who’s going to pay?