EXCLUSIVE: Her glitzy sham LGBTI Awards just went bust with her own business partner claiming she’s been defrauded to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. While in the recent past she’s been accused of ripping off her own employees. But LOTL publisher, Silke Bader, is now begging people to donate at least $20,000 so she can start a so-called community “foundation”. Serkan Ozturk reports.
They were dubbed the ‘Gay Oscars’. A glitzy sham community awards night run-for-profit and that asked it’s own nominees – some of them struggling community activists – to stump up close to $1,000 just to attend. The LGBTI Awards always smelt like a fraudulent attempt to make a quick buck and that’s exactly what’s now being proven in the public arena.
Launched only in 2017 and having held its third ceremony just this March, the awards night is now in disarray after the company behind it, Twin Media Group, was liquidated amidst infighting between its only two directors – the UK-based Linda Riley and LOTL publisher, Silke Bader.
The pair had attracted sponsorship for the celebrity-packed awards from corporate luminaries such as Coca-Cola, PwC, Amazon, Dow and Vodafone among a host of other companies looking to ‘pinkwash’ and cash in on the queer dollar.
But, somehow it has all been squandered. And then some.
Ms Riley alleges Ms Bader used company money and transferred funds to other bank accounts controlled by her. According to reports, a criminal complaint about Ms Bader has been made to NSW Police. According to Ms Riley’s claims, Ms Bader may have taken up to $130,000 in total. Ms Bader has denied the allegations.
Silke Bader: Alleged to have swindled tens of thousands of dollars from her business partner (Image: Twitter / Supplied)
A liquidator’s report shows the company owed $174,695, with $65,000 of that apparently owed to Ms Bader.
Ms Riley says the wind-up order and liquidator’s report was done behind her back, “obtained by deceit” and without her “knowledge and consent”.
According to documents, Ms Bader has set up a string of business names over the past few months with similar titles to the awards, under a new separate company named Iris Media and Events.
Ms Bader has previously been accused of engaging in phoenix scam activity to get away from paying creditors, or in some cases defraud her own employees.
No longer friends: Silke Bader (right) and Linda Riley in happier times (Image: Twitter / Supplied)
Two years ago, a former employee of Ms Bader’s who worked on LOTL Magazine told True Crime News Weekly how she was left owed $10,000 in superannuation.
“Instead of paying me super every three months she used the money to keep the business afloat and put it into other dealings like launching a magazine called BOUND which failed, that is where all my super went,” the former LOTL employee informed True Crime News Weekly.
“She put Avalon Media into liquidation who was the company publishing LOTL and surprise surprise … she started up another company, L Media, which publishes LOTL.”
Caught in a bind with her awards night, Ms Bader has now turned to her loyal LOTL readership to solicit more funds.
In an email sent to LOTL subscribers last week, Ms Bader writes she is now raising funds to kick start the so-called “LOTL Foundation”.
According to Ms Bader, apparent “recent community research” she conducted revealed to her that “it is still important to keep on advocating for our rights and visibility”.
As such, she now wants $20,000 to launch the LOTL Foundation.
Under fire LOTL publisher Silke Bader with Lord Mayor Clover Moore at the LGBTI Awards sponsored by the likes of Coca-Cola and PwC (Image: LOTL / Supplied)
The emailed message begging for funds was sent just one day after it was revealed by the ABC that Ms Bader’s other company behind the LGBTI Awards had gone bust.
“After 30 years in publishing we know that for the brand to keep growing and stay engaged, we need to evolve with the needs of our community. Our recent community research revealed that it is still important to keep on advocating for our rights and visibility,” the email from Ms Bader reads.
“Therefore we are excited to launch the first step of creating the LOTL Foundation. Our first goal of $20,000 will finance the professional start up required to establish a legacy for LOTL and its community.”
“Raising funds to kick start the LOTL Foundation”: The emailed message from Silke Bader a day after it was revealed the LGBTI Awards had been put into liquidation amidst infighting and allegations of financial impropriety (Image: Supplied)
A link at the bottom of the email with the tagline ‘Support Us’ takes the reader to an Indigegogo crowdfunding page.
On the page, Ms Bader waxes lyrical about the changing media landscape and why she needs to create a foundation with other people’s money.
“LOTL magazine can no longer continue with the old publishing model. As a trusted brand, LOTL can continue with its activism, by giving back to the community through grants, fundraising and building a better infrastructure for the future,” Ms Bader writes.
“After 30 years in publishing we know that for the brand to keep growing and stay engaged, we need to evolve with the needs of our community.
“Our first goal of $20,000 will finance the professional start up required to establish a legacy for LOTL and its community.”
As of yet, however, Ms Bader has not received a dollar in donations for her so-called foundation.