Bar owner accuses priests of conspiracy

Melbourne's punting priest Joe Giacobbe, St Francis' Church parish priest Father Tom Knowles and Victoria's energy and water ombudsman Fiona McLeod are allegedly conspiring to stop his bar opening, claims owner Jerome Borazio.

Mr Borazio has questioned why Ms McLeod and Father Tom Knowles are objecting to his bar, but not to Father Giacobbe's plans to expand his nearby gaming venue, reports The Age.

Father Giacobbe's Doxa Social Club runs the Meeting Place pokies venue at Melbourne Central. The club recently applied to open a first-floor bar and restaurant with a late-night licence.

Father Knowles, from St Francis' Church in Lonsdale Street, and Ms McLeod, who lives in Little Lonsdale Street, have not objected to the Doxa application, but strongly opposed Mr Borazio's plans for a bar and art gallery.

"The Doxa Social Club generates its income from gambling and liquor consumption activities conducted from its premises, directly across the road from St Francis' Church ... Father Knowles and Fiona McLeod have no objection to those activities being conducted ... until at least 1 am," Mr Borazio said in in a statement to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Ms McLeod, who denies there is any conspiracy, has threatened to take legal action against Mr Borazio over the allegation. Father Knowles said the is no connection between Doxa and St Francis' Church.


Priest in 'plot' to stop bar in CBD (The Age)


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