Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gloria’s REALLY empty cup

Australian company Gloria Jeans International is insolvent and should be put into liquidation, the New South Wales Supreme Court has been told, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s the latest chapter in a dispute between Gloria Jeans and a US coffee supplier, Western Export Services.

I can’t say I’m terribly upset by the news. In fact, I might mutter something about karma, if I believed in such things. Still, this is no tale of schadenfreude.

Gloria Jeans International, which controls the company outside of the US and Puerto Rico, has strong ties to Australia’s fundamentalist Hillsong Church. One of the company’s co-owners is an “elder” of the church and the other owner, Peter Irvine, was the former chief executive of Mercy Ministries, another Hillsong project that Gloria Jeans supported financially. Long-time readers will remember when I wrote about all this in 2008.

Mercy Ministries made money by “treating” troubled teenage girls, reportedly using little more than bible study. The US parent of the ministry had an “ex-lesbian” program. In Australia, garden-variety fraud killed off Mercy Ministries. Said the SMH:

“In December, Mr Irvine and fellow Mercy Ministry directors admitted engaging in false, misleading and deceptive conduct following an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission investigation into the practices of the Hillsong-connected organisation. They were required to pay $1050 and apologise to each person affected by Mercy Ministries' conduct, all young women with mental health and drug and alcohol problems.”

These are not nice people and they have done incredible harm. It’s hard not to think they made this trouble for themselves because of both factors. However, many—or even most—of the Gloria Jeans franchisees would have been completely unaware of the company’s nefarious connections, and they may suffer because of the sins of the owners. I sincerely hope they’re not destroyed because of the company’s antics.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other choices for coffee. Someday, that may again include Gloria Jeans, but for me today is still not that day.

Tip o' the Hat to Scotty.

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