Vanessa Amorosi has launched legal action against her mother. Picture: David Caird
Vanessa Amorosi has launched legal action against her mother. Picture: David Caird

Amorosi sues mother over ‘missing’ earnings

ARIA award-winning singer Vanessa Amorosi has launched legal action against her mother for money she believes she is owed from her recording career and property investments.

Amorosi filed the action against Joyleen Robinson in the Supreme Court of Victoria this week, seeking restitution and the sale of a Narre Warren property. The singer - who has sold two million records over the past 20 years - is also seeking to be appointed trustee of a family investment trust.

The statement of claim ­alleges Ms Robinson "engaged in unconscionable conduct" ­financially towards Amorosi.

Melbourne-born Amorosi was 17 and still at school when in 1999 her mum, who worked as a casual cleaner at the time, took control of her finances.

Amorosi filed the action against Joyleen Robinson in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Picture: Tony Gough
Amorosi filed the action against Joyleen Robinson in the Supreme Court of Victoria. Picture: Tony Gough

The papers filed by lawyers acting for the singer - whose 1999 Aussie hit Absolutely Everybody later became a ­global smash - state: "In or about 1999, Joy told Vanessa she would arrange for her income to go through a company to protect her from creditors."

The "Vanjoy" company was half-owned by Amorosi and the other half was owned by her mum.

Amorosi's income was paid to Vanjoy, with Ms Robinson responsible for "all of Vanjoy's decisions and transactions".

It is claimed in 2001 Ms Robinson set up further trusts and companies.

"Joy told Vanessa that she was setting up some more companies and trusts, to protect her from creditors and allow her to invest her money … Joy would assume fiduciary duties to act in Vanessa's best interests, not to put herself in a position where her interests conflicted with Vanessa's and not to make a profit at Vanessa's expense."

From September 21, 2001 until about October 2020, it is claimed in the court papers that Ms Robinson made decisions relating to the companies and trusts.

However, over that time, Amorosi, 39, believes money she was owed was not paid to her. She claims instead that her mum received money in the form of management fees, and that money was distributed to trusts to the benefit of other family members or was paid to "persons unknown".

 

Many examples of alleged mismanagement are contained in the 40 page Statement of Claim.
Many examples of alleged mismanagement are contained in the 40 page Statement of Claim.

Many examples of alleged mismanagement are contained in the 40-page statement of claim.

In 2000-01 the companies controlled by Ms Robinson ­assigned Amorosi an income of $862,512.

Of that, $390,000 went to pay a mortgage on a Narre Warren home, in which Ms Robinson and her husband continue to live. The remainder did not make its way to Amorosi, it is claimed.

In 2002 Ms Robinson suggested Amorosi buy a building in the Melbourne CBD as an investment, according to the papers.

It was bought through one of the trusts for $1.9m, with Vanjoy contributing $250,000.

"The moneys were initially treated as a loan, but within 12 months, Vanjoy forgave the loan without the moneys having been repaid," the court claim alleges.

In or about June 2007 the Melbourne building was sold for $1.9m.

"None of the proceeds of sale were given to Vanjoy, ­despite the fact that Vanjoy had assisted (another company) to acquire the property."

In 2014 Amorosi asked her mother to give her control of Vanjoy, along with two other trusts.

"Joy refused, asserting that Vanessa's husband would waste the funds," the documents claim.

Amorosi, who currently lives in the US, is one of Australia's most-loved singers with her other hits including Perfect and Shine.

Originally published as Amorosi sues mother over 'missing' earnings


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