Sunday World reported on June 19…
“A dodgy church which lost a whopping €40,000 in a raid by thugs never reported the theft to gardai (Police).
Bosses of the collapsed Victory Christian Fellowship did not want people to know the huge amounts of cash they were collecting.
An insider told the Sunday World that rather than going public, the church elders decided to take the hit.
“It was an inside robbery. A few druggies joined the church claiming they had found Jesus and wanted to be saved,” said a former follower.
“They must have discovered the electric code to the back room because they took off with all the money. It was a huge amount but the church’s average take was between €30,000 and €35,000. They are a well-known drug family in Ballyfermot.”
The theft took place at the Westland Row church which was Victory’s headquarters until it built the massive 1,100-seat auditorium in Firhouse in 2009.
Donations were huge because members of the cult-like church, which went bust this month owing €18 million, were expected to hand over one tenth of their earnings.
Even after last Sunday’s exposé in the Sunday World, pastor Brendan Hade was urging his congregation to give “as much as you possibly can”.
We revealed last week how the controversial church had been stripped of its charity status following an investigation by Revenue. That move sparked the Bank of Scotland to call in the receiver over its loans to Victory of €18 million.
Brendan and wife Sheila owe a further €2.2 million on a retail unit on Main Street, Rathfarnham, and for the Rosebank Hostel centre on nearby Ballyboden Road.
KBC Bank is owed a further €350,000.
Victory’s trustees Brendan and Sheila Hade and fellow pastor Gerry Byrne were ordered to appear before the High Court along with the Hades’ sons Brian and Niall.
They had to pledge not to interfere with the receiver, who had been prevented from taking possession of Victory properties by a blockade.
Brian and Niall were taken to court by gardai following a dawn raid.
Gardai could not find Brendan and Sheila Hade or Byrne after forcing entry to their homes before 6am.
They subsequently appeared before the court where they agreed to allow the receivers into the properties on Firhouse Road, Westland Row and Kilmacud Road.
Victory received more than €1 million a year in donations and over €200,000 annually in tax refunds, but it failed to pay its debts.
Former followers also want to know what happened to the €16 million paid to Victory by the state over a 10-year period to house refugees.
Today we can reveal that the Hades’ son Brian still receives thousands of euro a month to house the homeless in his property Brentwood House.
He was infamous among residents for installing a bully boy as hostel boss.
James O’Rourke, who spent time in prison in the UK for grievous bodily harm, was paid €500 a week by Brian, while also signing on.
“He would beat heads against the wall and throw people out. He would tell them if they came back he would kill them,” said one former hostel resident.
Our source was a resident for several months but never once saw Brian Hade.”