Graham Lloyd, The Australian‘s environment editor, is in court this morning facing claims he and his partner Vanessa Hunter engaged in misleading conduct and breach of contract against a former business partner.
As Crikey reported back in 2015, Lloyd (under the the name “Efrem Lloyd”) and Hunter spent years building a retreat in Peru — “an ethical business based on conservation, creativity and healing” — called the Lupunaluz Foundation, which described its mission as “dedicated to demonstrating that the Amazon forests have greater value standing than cut down”. Now, former business partner Cheryl Conway, who provided more than $600,000 to the foundation between 2013 and 2015, is seeking damages.
The plan was for a commercial eco-retreat in the Amazon — Conway alleges the deal was that she would provide the funds for construction and Lloyd and Hunter would cede their land to the project. However, her statement of claim alleges that Lloyd and Hunter kept the land registered in their own names and that she has been locked out of the project.
Crikey be keeping a close eye on proceedings.
The dispute has dragged on for years — The Guardian reported the first flaring up in 2017 — but it is scheduled to be heard in the Federal Court in Melbourne from today until Friday. Lloyd and Hunter are expected on the stand later in the week.
Back when we first reported on the venture we noted this was was contrary to Oz‘s usual environmental “skeptic-sympathetic” line. Then-media editor at the Oz Sharri Markson ran a retort, quoting Lloyd complaining that “environmental journalism suffers by too much ideology getting in the way of asking the tough questions”.
We look forward to the Oz ask those tough questions in their coverage of Lloyd’s case this week.