James’ Bestjet “heartbreak”
RACHEL James, the founder of the collapsed Bestjet Travel online agency (TD 19 Dec 2018) claims she and her family are distraught at the company’s failure just a few weeks after it was sold to the McVicker family (TD 06 Nov).
James broke her silence over the collapse on the weekend, citing her heartbreak over “poor management by McVicker International and questionable actions from consolidators, banks and airlines to recoup funds”.
Rachel James noted that the sale of Bestjet had included formal due diligence undertaken by accounting firm BDO, and that she and her family had “not received a single payment from new owner Robert McVicker.
“Its demise since relinquishing control is heartbreaking and has rattled our family as we come to terms both with unemployment and without proceeds from the sale,” she lamented.
“We simply cannot believe the devastation caused by the actions and inactions taken by Robert McVicker, with each day of inefficient management costing the business an average of $2.5 million,” James added.
However her statement didn’t address allegations by the company’s administrators, Pilot Partners, that James had illegally retained control of the Bestjet servers, systems and website
(TD 02 Jan), nor claimed “acts of interference” such as an unauthorised email alert sent to the Bestjet customer database (TD breaking news 24 Dec).
There was also no mention of her husband, Michael James, who was cited in a report to the administrators as having control of the Bestjet accounts (TD Thu) despite previous assertions that the disgraced former Chief Executive Officer of the collapsed Air Australia was not involved in management of the online travel agency.
McVicker has noted that he was a director of the Bestjet group for just 39 days, saying he took the role following assertions that the business could be substantially improved by renegotiating contracts and addressing customer service issues.
“Later in my tenure we were told a $3.2 million payment would be transferred from Bestjet Singapore (an entity outside of the Bestjet Group’s control) on or before the 17th of Dec.
“This did not materialise...I was then legally obliged as director to place the Bestjet Group into voluntary administration.”
McVicker added that he was restrained from giving any further information “due to legal issues based on misleading and deceptive actions by others”.