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 ...................... email@example.com 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.
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