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Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - Clare.star­ling@news.com.au ben.english@news.com.au carly.gre­gory@news.com.au

Gen­eral Man­ager Gold Coast Clare Star­ling Ed­i­tor Gold Coast Bul­letin Ben English Head of Sales Carly Gre­gory Gen­eral in­quiries ....................... 07 5584 2000 News tips .......................................... 5584 2404 Let­ters ...................... let­ters@gold­coast.com.au Dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing .................... 07 5584 2204 Clas­si­fieds ...................................... 1300 112 345 Home de­liv­er­ies circulation ....... 1300 726 161 Photo sales .............. www.newspho­tos.com.au THE di­rec­tor of col­lapsed builder Queens­land One Homes has spo­ken for the first time about his com­pany’s dev­as­tat­ing col­lapse, say­ing the si­t­u­a­tion is “bulls***” and “all fab­ri­cated”.

Paul Cal­len­der said al­le­ga­tions the com­pany was trad­ing in­sol­vent for more than a year be­fore it failed ow­ing debts of more than $6 mil­lion were un­true and that the trou­ble had “a dis­as­trous im­pact” on his life.

“My life has been de­stroyed,” he said.

In a sub­mis­sion to the Supreme Court, liq­uida­tor Michael Cas­paney named “a com­mer­cially un­re­al­is­tic busi­ness model” and “a sys­tem­atic draw­ing down of the com­pany’s liq­uid as­sets in favour of re­lated par­ties” had caused the in­sol­vency.

The court was told im­por­tant com­pany records had been wa­ter dam­aged when com­put­ers were left in the back of a ute and that phone records were lost by the pre­vi­ous liq­uida­tor.

As­sets worth more than $7 mil­lion be­long­ing to Mr Cal­len­der, his wife Am­ber and other com­pa­nies linked to the pair were frozen af­ter the liq­uida­tor found the com­pany had likely been trad­ing in­sol­vent as early as March 31, 2016.

Mr Cal­len­der said there was noth-

IF YOU AC­TU­ALLY KNEW THE TRUTH AND AC­TU­ALLY DONE SOME PROPER IN­VES­TI­GAT­ING ... YOU’D AC­TU­ALLY RE­ALISE THAT I HAVEN’T DONE ANY­THING WRONG.

PAUL CAL­LEN­DER

ing wrong with Q1’s fi­nances. “My ac­coun­tant’s been through it that many times with the QBCC and with the liq­uida­tor, and we more than meet the fi­nan­cial re­quire­ments for the last three years for Q1,” he said. “There was never any wrong­do­ing.”

Mr Cas­paney’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion found emails and other ev­i­dence that ac­tions were taken to change con­tracts and dis­play home sig­nage from Queens­land One Homes to Em­pire Con­struc­tions weeks be­fore the com­pany col­lapsed.

The Queens­land Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Com­mis­sion re­ferred al­le­ga­tions of phoenix ac­tiv­i­ties to cor­po­rate reg­u­la­tor ASIC.

Mr Cal­len­der, speak­ing from a site he was work­ing on for his new com­pany Phoenix Ru­ral Fenc­ing, said he wel­comed the pub­lic ex­am­i­na­tion an­nounced last year that will see him and oth­ers ques­tioned in the Supreme Court over their role in the com­pany’s down­fall.

“I wel­come it be­cause then the truth will fi­nally come out that I haven’t done any­thing wrong,” he said.

Mr Cal­len­der said the com­pany hadn’t failed be­cause of fi­nan­cial mis­man­age­ment on his part, but be­cause money had been stolen.

“There’s a whole heap of rea­sons why (it failed). Some­one steals hun­dreds of thou­sands out of your ac­count, the ATO gar­nisheed $800,000 — I’ve al­ready put over a mil­lion dol­lars of my own money into the com­pany — you don’t re­port any of that in the me­dia,” he said.

“You guys have just fab­ri­cated a whole heap of bulls***.

“If you ac­tu­ally knew the truth and ac­tu­ally done some proper in­ves­ti­gat­ing and ac­tu­ally look at the facts ... you’d ac­tu­ally re­alise that I haven’t done any­thing wrong.”

Mr Cal­len­der could not spec­ify what as­pects of the story were not true.

“Not right now be­cause I’m a bit busy putting up a fence,” he said.

“There’s a whole heap that’s not true.

“Put your­self in my shoes. It’s ob­vi­ously de­stroyed my life.”

What is phoenix ac­tiv­ity?

Com­pany phoenix ac­tiv­ity in­volves registering a new com­pany to take over the failed or in­sol­vent busi­ness of a pre­de­ces­sor com­pany.

Phoenix ac­tiv­ity may not in­volve il­le­gal con­duct. Gen­uine com­pany fail­ure and liq­ui­da­tion — where a di­rec­tor re­spon­si­bly man­ages a com­pany and its busi­ness sub­se­quently con­tin­ues af­ter liq­ui­da­tion us­ing another com­pany — is a le­git­i­mate use of the cor­po­rate form.

Through the con­cept of limited li­a­bil­ity, the law gen­er­ally ex­cuses di­rec­tors and share­hold­ers from per­sonal li­a­bil­ity for the failed com­pany’s debts.

What is il­le­gal phoenix ac­tiv­ity?

Il­le­gal (e.g. fraud­u­lent) phoenix ac­tiv­ity gen­er­ally in­volves com­pany di­rec­tors de­lib­er­ately try­ing to avoid pay­ing the com­pany’s cred­i­tors. For ex­am­ple, di­rec­tors may have run

A Phoenix Ru­ral Fenc­ing ute at an Em­pire Con­struc­tions site. Right: Paul

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