The Oxford St Gloria Jean’s outlet could face ruin as a multi-million dollar lawsuit continues.
The Hillsong-affiliated coffee group is facing a massive lawsuit from American-based coffee supplier Western Export Services.
Claiming that Gloria Jean’s parent company, Jireh International, broke a joint venture agreement signed in 1996, WES is pushing for $56 million.
“We are vigorously defending the matter and deny the allegations contained in the claim,” a Jireh International spokeswoman said.
She also denied there were links between individual Gloria Jean’s outlets and the Hillsong Church.
Jireh owners Nabi Saleh and Peter Irvine are both connected with the church, which allegedly encourages reparative therapy for gay people.
But the spokeswoman maintained that there were no financial or legal ties between the coffee houses found throughout Australia and Hillsong — meaning that even if the Oxford St outlet were to close, it might not be a direct win for the GLBT community.
“There is no connection between franchise ownership and church membership,” the spokeswoman said.
“A person’s faith is personal and it is their choice to disclose it to others or not.”
The Oxford St franchise was showing no signs of financial hardship at this point, she added.