The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
Principal appeal funding trickles
A GOLD Coast hinterland principal who is continuing to fight a bitter defamation battle with school parents in court despite already spending more than $700,000 on legal fees, has raised a measly sum through an online fundraising campaign.
Two months after Tamborine Mountain resident Michael O’Brien launched the community fundraiser on the GoFundMe website for Tamborine Mountain State High School principal Tracey Brose, it has raised just $8721 towards a target of $300,000.
Mr O’Brien states on the page that “Tracey has put her entire livelihood on the line so she could stand up for all other educators” and that “all money will go directly to” Mrs Brose to pay her legal costs.
In February, Mrs Brose won a paltry $6000 from two former school parents in a landmark internet defamation case that spanned 3½ years.
The now-bankrupt parents she sued, Donna and Miguel Baluskas, have appealed and told Mrs Brose after the decision that she could “stick her bill up her arse”.
But lawyers for Mrs Brose had initially sought more than $1.5 million from a group of eight school parents.
Mrs Brose has raised nearly $200,000 from court-ordered costs and out-of-court settlements from other parents who settled before trial.
Mrs Brose also sued parents Laura Lawson, a grocery merchandiser from Coomera, and Trudie Arnold, a school-crossing guard from Canungra, for defamation but those cases were thrown out by the District Court Judge Catherine Muir, who found their comments were not defamatory.
Mrs Brose has filed an appeal in her case against Ms Arnold, a bankrupt, to the state’s highest court.
Ms Arnold tipped herself into voluntary bankruptcy in October 2018, on the same day she was ordered by the court to pay Mrs Brose’s $39,234 in legal costs.
Mrs Brose anticipates she will spend a further $120,000 to appeal to the Court of Appeal, according to her “financial hardship” statement submitted on April 9.
The decision by Judge Muir in February was a bittersweet victory for Mrs Brose, with the judge criticising her credibility as a witness.