Money is tighter than it used to be for Deborah Marlborough, the showy queen of the Members Alliance empire which collapsed owing $40 million.
Money is tighter than it used to be for Deborah Marlborough, the showy queen of the Members Alliance empire which collapsed owing $40 million.

‘I should have held out for $10k more’

When Deborah Marlborough sold her 10-carat diamond ring to a leading Sydney jeweller recently for what two sources say was about $90,000, her first thought wasn't paying back creditors of the failed family empire, or former X Factor host Luke Jacobz.

"I should have held out for another $10,000 to get my tits done," she instead exclaimed, according to a witness.

The ring sale - along with attempts to offload a $200,000 Hermès Birkin handbag - are part of Ms Marlborough's efforts to support herself since the $40 million collapse of the investment property spruiking group that had funded her luxury lifestyle.

Following the demise of Members Alliance, she split from husband and group founder Richard Marlborough, who is now defending criminal fraud charges in Queensland over the fiasco.

Police allege Mr Marlborough orchestrated a cold-calling scam which saw mum-and-dad investors buy into properties that often were never built.

He was arrested in 2018 as he got out of his Rolls Royce, which has since been repossessed.

Ms Marlborough has not been charged nor is there any suggestion she engaged in wrongdoing.

The Marlborough mansion at Links Hope Island. Picture: Supplied
The Marlborough mansion at Links Hope Island. Picture: Supplied

The former couple's mansion in the Links Hope Island gated golf estate on the Gold Coast was sold in 2019, with the net proceeds paid to the Queensland Supreme Court in line with orders obtained the year before by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Ms Marlborough fled to Sydney and, like her ex, into the arms of a younger lover.

But her new home - a two-storey terrace in the inner-Sydney suburb of Zetland - has not been a happy one.

The Saturday Telegraph can reveal an apprehended violence order was granted against Ms Marlborough, 53, to protect her new man, 40-year-old Sydney photographer Mark Scarrott.

Deborah Marlborough's boyfriend, Sydney photographer Mark Scarrott. Picture: Facebook
Deborah Marlborough's boyfriend, Sydney photographer Mark Scarrott. Picture: Facebook

Ms Marlborough was charged with "intentionally or recklessly destroy/damage property domestic violence related" last year.

According to a police fact sheet filed tendered to Downing Centre Local Court, "on the 15th of December 2018 the victim collected the belongings of the accused and placed them in the back of his car. The victim intended to take the accused to the airport however, she refused. Both parties were having verbal arguments on the night previous and throughout the day.

"The accused refused to leave the premises. More verbal arguments continued throughout the day. About 3:10pm both the victim and the accused were outside at the back of the property. The victim became upset and went back inside though the timber and glass sliding kitchen door.

Ms Marlborough and the 10-carat ring she has since sold. Picture: Facebook.
Ms Marlborough and the 10-carat ring she has since sold. Picture: Facebook.

"The victim locked the door leaving the accused outside in an attempt to stop the accused from entering the dwelling. She tried to open the door using her foot to lever it, but was unsuccessful. The victim was standing on the other side of the door in close proximity. The accused kicked the bottom part of the door which resulted in the glass shattering."

The fact sheet continued: "When police spoke to the accused she stated she tried to get back into the premises and that she tried to lever the kitchen door open and was using her foot. The accused stated in the process the glass kitchen door had been broken and that these sorts of arguments occur on a regular basis.

"The accused was taken back to Redfern Police Station so that an apprehended violence order could be applied for. The accused was cautioned and stated no property had been damaged. However, when questioned about the broken glass from the back kitchen glass door, the accused agreed she kicked it.

"An apprehended violence order was applied for, granted and served on the accused for the protection of the victim and his property. The victim estimates the cost of the damage to be about $200 to fix the broken glass kitchen door."

The property damage charge against Ms Marlborough was dismissed.

In 2017, the liquidator of one company in the Members Alliance group told creditors he had "uncovered" loans to Mrs Marlborough of $553,000 and written to her seeking repayment.

It is understood the loans have not been repaid.

 

Deborah and Richard Marlborough celebrating with Anthony Callea and Luke Jacobz in an undated photo. Source: Facebook
Deborah and Richard Marlborough celebrating with Anthony Callea and Luke Jacobz in an undated photo. Source: Facebook

In an affidavit filed in that Queensland Supreme Court case in 2018, an ASIC investigator claimed a company of which she was sole director and shareholder used a $100,000 loan from Luke Jacobz, the former Home And Away star, "in furtherance of unlawful phoenix activity".

At the time, Ms Marlborough told ASIC that Jacobz - real name Luke Ashwood - would be repaid.

Mr Ashwood lent the Marlboroughs the money in 2017 on the promise he would get $125,000 a year later. He told ASIC he didn't ask the Marlboroughs what they would do with the cash.

It was used to pay mortgages and the loan on the Rolls Royce, as well as the family's life and private health insurance premiums along with their power bill.

It is unclear whether Mr Ashwood was repaid. His management company did not respond to requests for comment. There is no suggestion he did anything wrong.

Deborah Marlborough and singer Anthony Callea in 2015. Picture: Facebook
Deborah Marlborough and singer Anthony Callea in 2015. Picture: Facebook

Last year, the liquidator of another company of which Ms Marlborough was sole director told creditors he intended to report to ASIC she may have committed breaches of the Corporations Act including failing to use her position as director "for a proper purpose".

Selling off her wares is one of the few ways Ms Marlborough can raise significant amounts of money because she "does not have any professional qualifications, skills or experience," according to an affidavit by her accountant in response to Supreme Court proceedings ASIC brought in Queensland.

Ms Marlborough leaving Mr Scarrott’s home in Zetland recently. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Ms Marlborough leaving Mr Scarrott’s home in Zetland recently. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Ms Marlborough told The Telegraph the AVO "expired many months ago" and that she was "not going to discuss my finances with … anyone."

She would not comment on the alleged Corporations Act breach.

Originally published as 'I should have held out for $10k more'



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