Cancer victim ordered to pay $290k

Cancer victim Jeni Lee is fighting a judgement against her company for $290,000 – issued as she lay in a Sydney hospital.
Cancer victim Jeni Lee is fighting a judgement against her company for $290,000 – issued as she lay in a Sydney hospital. Allan Reinikka

JENI Lee should be devoting her efforts to coping with terminal cancer, but instead she’s having to fight a legal battle after a court in Rockhampton ordered her company to pay $290,000 to Mount Morgan Aboriginal Corporation.

Jeni, whose face is being devoured by a voracious sarcoma, claims she was given no notice of the case against Indigenous Housing Services CQ, which she has run as chief executive since February, 2009.

She said the order was made while she was receiving treatment in a Sydney hospital and was not defended in court because no notice had been served.

Today she is due to lodge an application to set aside the judgement made in the District Court on May 23, before returning to hospital in Sydney where surgeons will attempt to give her an artificial nose.

Jeni, who lives in Emu Park, said yesterday she believed it was wrong for Mount Morgan Aboriginal Corporation’s representatives to take advantage of her medical condition, but vowed to fight to clear the good name of the organisation which was set up by the Federal Government to assist community housing organisations that were in trouble.

Her company is in caretaker mode pending liquidation and Jeni, who since being diagnosed with the rare aggressive tumour has spent months in hospitals in Brisbane and Sydney, says it has no money and no assets.

“My personal assets are not under threat by this order, but this is a huge worry for someone who is the third stage of terminal cancer. I have no idea how much longer I have left, but I could do without all this hassle, that’s for sure,” she said.

“I can’t find a lawyer in Rockhampton to touch it. All say they are too busy, so I am having to handle it myself.”

Mount Morgan Aboriginal Corporation claims it is owed the money for rent paid on up to nine properties it owns in Mount Morgan. Jeni says the rents were never received because it was almost impossible to get the tenants to pay up. She says the legal claim will now be vigorously defended.

In the past few months she has endured three operations and weeks of specialised oncology treatment which has made it impossible for her to devote any time to work issues.

“Effectively there is no business any more,” she said.

“The organisation is owed considerable amounts for its services, but owes nothing in return. I just want this to end.”

Topics:  court

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