Cult leader’s house under the hammer
IT survived the end-of-theworld prediction made by its fugitive owner and now the home of Agape Ministries doomsday cult leader Rocco Leo will go under the hammer at auction.
The 2258sq m property at 25 Hart St, Campbelltown, was opened for inspection yesterday as part of a court-ordered sale later this month.
It is expected to sell for more than $1.5 million as part of Supreme Court action designed to repay the doomsday cult’s creditors, including the Australian Taxation Office.
The Supreme Court heard last year that Agape Ministries’ unpaid debt was now in excess of $10 million.
Leo’s distressed wife, Assunta, was at home yesterday when the Sunday Mail attended the open inspection at 10.30am. There was little interest from among about 10 groups of people who visited the property.
A real estate agent not linked to the sale, and who did not want to be named, said there would be significant interest in the property because of the land area, which is about four times the size of an average suburban block in the Campbelltown area.
The Sunday Mail was told Ms Leo, who became the registered owner of the property with her husband in 1998, did not want to talk to the media. “We’re told she has nothing to do with the (Agape) cult and like everyone else she is just cleaning up the consequences,’’ a representative linked to the sale said.
The Hart St property was unremarkable until it made national media in 2010, when the cult’s world came tumbling down and Leo fled to Fiji where he currently lives.
About 90 heavily-armed police raided 12 properties owned by the church, looking for three leaders, and illegal guns and detonators. The fivebedroom Campbelltown home, which includes a tennis court and large backyard, was advertised in The Advertiser’s realestate magazine yesterday.
Rocco Leo could not be contacted yesterday but, in the Supreme Court in March, his Adelaide “messenger”, Kathryn Conder, said her leader would not attend court only because he could not afford an airfare from Fiji.
“Pastor Rocco is a man of God and he’s telling you that, if someone makes a decision against whomsoever is a man of God, they will personally see the hand of God move,” Ms Conder said.
“So it’s really important that people understand that to try to fight against the hand of God is futile.
“To make a wrong decision, well, the judgment of God can come down on a person’s head that very day.” In August 2010, The Advertiser revealed Agape Ministries’ financial empire spanned two states, included eight properties and a fleet of 13 vehicles and funds in 10 separate accounts.
Leo and his inner circle have been named in several lawsuits seeking the return of money given to the cult.
Former members allegedly had to pay up to $1.2 million each because of fears Earth’s population would be impregnated with tiny microchips containing their personal details.
They claim Leo said anyone who refused the chip would be branded terrorists and be gassed or beheaded in government-run concentration camps.
FUGITIVE: Doomsday cult leader Rocco Leo and, right, his Campbelltown property and some of the rooms.