FORMER City of Greater Bendigo councillor Julie Hoskin was declared bankrupt the day before she sent her resignation to the council, court documents reveal.
A sequestration order – confirming a debtor bankrupt – was made against Ms Hoskin in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney last Thursday.
She emailed her resignation on Friday.
The order states “the act of bankruptcy occurred on 21 May 2018”, but the Bendigo Advertiser understands the bankruptcy became valid once the sequestration order was confirmed.
Related: Julie Hoskin resigns from council
It was made in relation to a matter in which Robert Balzola and Associates – the law firm engaged by Ms Hoskin to run appeals against the approval of the Bendigo mosque – was attempting to recoup costs from Ms Hoskin.
The Federal Circuit Court ordered that the costs be paid out of Ms Hoskin’s estate.
The Local Government Act states “a person is not capable of becoming or continuing to be a Councillor or nominating as a candidate at an election if he or she is an undischarged bankrupt; or his or her property is subject to control under the law relating to bankruptcy”.
Her resignation was emailed to the City of Greater Bendigo’s governance manager on Friday and was forwarded on to the mayor and chief executive officer. The resignation was formally accepted on Monday.
Ms Hoskin said she had encountered a “perfect storm” last week and she intended to resign from council on Friday for other reasons. She became aware of the court order when it was mailed to her on Friday, but believed it was to be an adjournment.
She said she would appeal the court’s decision.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the council had no knowledge of Ms Hoskin’s bankruptcy.
“Council was unaware Ms Hoskin had been declared bankrupt, this was not communicated by her or any other source,” she said.
A council statement following Ms Hoskin’s resignation did not detail a specific reason for her resignation. Ms Hoskin took a leave of absence for several months this year.
Ms Hoskin was issued a list of complaints by the council in May in relation to alleged breaches of the councillor code of conduct.
The Council of the NSW Law Society had attempted to have Mr Balzola suspended earlier this year, but failed on a legal technicality. It was sparked by allegations from Ms Hoskin that Mr Balzola was misappropriating money from anti-mosque campaigners, which Mr Balzola denied.
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