Roberta Williams' Essendon abode set to be sold

Roberta Williams' Essendon abode set to be sold
Roberta Williams' Essendon abode set to be sold

The gangland matriarch Roberta Williams' Essendon home is set to be seized and sold off by the taxman.

It follows a ruling in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Roberta, the widow of slain drug lord Carl Williams, had been embroiled in a legal dispute with the Australian Taxation Office over the estate of her father-in-law George Williams.

He died in 2016 owing more than $576,000 in unpaid taxes.

On 20 November 2007 the Australian Taxation Office had issued to George Williams amended assessments of income tax for the years ended 30 June 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, together with notices of assessment and liability to pay a penalty.

The legal fight centred on who should take control of the home after George left it to his under-age granddaughter, Dhakota, in his will.

The women in his life are at loggerheads about how to carve up what he owned, with allegations flying between daughter-in-law Roberta Williams and his de facto Kathleen Bourke, who told the court she is unable to sell the property as she does not have physical possession of it.

Both are executors of the estate.

Williams retains all keys.

Bourke advised she does not have the physical ability to remove Williams from the property.

The ATO had agreed in 2013 to become the mortgagee on the Essendon property rather than force the convicted drug trafficker to sell the home to cover the debt.

The deal gave George time and resources to wage a separate lawsuit against the state government for compensation over his son's murder in prison in 2010.

But after losing that case, George reneged on the ATO agreement and refused to pay the tax debt.

Roberta continued to refuse to sell the home after George's death, claiming no tax debt existed because it was supposed to be wiped away by a 2009 deal struck with Victoria Police in return for Carl providing information about a series of murders committed during the bloody Underbelly War (1999-2006).

Carl was bashed to death inside Barwon prison in 2010.

Victoria Police cancelled the deal to pay George's tax debt and Roberta argued, as a result, her father-in-law was unconscionably coerced into mortgaging his house to the ATO – an argument rejected by the Supreme Court on Friday.

Associate Justice Mark Derham ruled Roberta had no claim to the house and the ATO be paid their costs from the sale of the home.

Williams alleged that George Williams suffered from a ‘special disability’ at the time he entered into the Settlement Agreement and Mortgage consisting of chronic heart-related conditions and severe depression, and that the plaintiffs were aware or ought to have been aware of the special disability.

Justice Derham ruled as "hopeless" and "vague" the assertion George had a 'special disability' at the time he entered a settlement agreement with the ATO.

"The second defendant (Williams) has failed to identify any proper legal foundation for her generalised arguments," he said.

"In these circumstances, to suggest that the Commonwealth’s officers should have somehow discerned the existence of a ‘special disadvantage’ that his own lawyers were unaware of is, frankly, ludicrous."

"There is nothing unconscientious about George Williams (through his personal representatives) being held to a bargain he entered voluntarily, and on the advice of experienced litigation lawyers."

Roberta, who is an undischarged bankrupt and convicted drug trafficker, also personally owes the ATO $300,000.

The judge ruled Williams had "chosen to defend the proceedings without a reasonable basis to do so and ought not to have any indemnity for her costs from the estate."

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