$7m man Folau raking in public cash
Update: He is sitting on a $7 million property empire and recently sold a $500,000 Lamborghini, but Israel Folau is raking in hundreds of thousands from the public to fund his legal campaign against Rugby Australia.
The sacked Wallabies star received donations in excess of $400,000 within 17 hours of setting up a GoFundMe page asking people to foot the bill for his court case, in which Folau is seeking $10 million from RA for tearing up his $5 million contract,and lost future earnings.
It can be revealed that Folau owns six homes and three blocks of land across NSW and Queensland under his own name or through his investment company Folau Investments Pty Limited, for which he paid a total of $5,501,700, and which is now estimated to have risen in value to $7 million.
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A Lamborghini that he purchased for $500,000 in 2017 was sold last year.
But Folau is adamant his battle is not about money - having rejected a settlement offer of close to $2 million by RA - but for the principal of standing up for religious freedom.
Folau's move to ask the public for $3m in financial support sparked widespread condemnation, led by his former Wallabies and Waratahs teammate Drew Mitchell, who slammed Folau on Twitter.
"I am outraged because he is trying to sell this as freedom of speech and religion when it is a contractual matter," Mitchell told The Saturday Telegraph.
"Israel has put himself in this position, these are choices he has made.
"When I saw the Go Fund Me page I just thought, 'This is a bit rich'. I am sad for the game, for the people who are torn to take a side between religion and the game they love. It has never been about that but because of Israel's actions, people now feel like they've got to make that choice."
YOU are in a fight that YOU chose to be in after YOU broke the terms of YOUR contract, the kids below are in a fight they NEVER wanted to be in & yet YOU think YOU deserve donations more than they do??!!— Drew Mitchell (@drew_mitchell) June 21, 2019
It’s no longer about religion, it’s about YOU and YOUR greed.@IzzyFolau 🤦🏼♂️ pic.twitter.com/mdywzaw1ha
Folau spoke to radio broadcaster Alan Jones on Friday morning, explaining that he was only driven by spreading the word of God.
"Everything that I do and everything that I live by is founded on the principles based in that book (the Bible)," Folau told 2GB.
"The goal for me is to stand up for the word of God.
"I'm always about sharing that from a place of love and believing in the Bible that people have the opportunity to hear that, so they do repent if they choose to and turn away from [sin] and have an opportunity to be in heaven one day."
Folau says he and wife Maria have already spent more than $100,000 in legal fees fighting against termination at his code of conduct hearing.
"I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have started legal proceedings against Rugby Australiaand Rugby NSW," Folau said.
"Even if I win, Rugby Australia can appeal. There is every chance that a prominent test case like this could take years and eventually end up in the High Court of Australia.
"I have the fight of my life on my hands and every little bit will help."