Macalister creditors face ‘grim reality’

HOPES the uncovering of alleged financial deceptions by embattled builder Macalister Constructions have faded, as the company’s liquidation comes up against severe funding restraints and restricted investigation parameters.

Gippsland tradesmen and suppliers are facing the grim reality the full extent of “grossly misleading” conduct may never be known, after SVPartners administrator Richard Cauchi moved to dampen expectations ongoing investigations into the company would expose the money trail of at least $18 million in known money owed.

At a Traralgon meeting hosted by SVPartners on Monday, where more than 30 creditors unanimously voted the company into liquidation, a widely held view of owed monies to more than 350 creditors was unlikely to be reclaimed, did not deter a combined will by tradesman to see company director Callum Board held to account for what one tradesman called “reprehensible conduct”.

While Mr Cauchi noted creditors’ enthusiasm towards the extent at which Macalister was potentially trading while insolvent, he said he could only perform investigations for as long as liquidator remuneration existed.

According to itemised remuneration details in a report to creditors, SVPartners charged $87,245 for preliminary investigations made into the company from 11 January to 8 February, at an average hourly rate of $281.

While Mr Cauchi acknowledged the cost of proceedings “abhorred people”, he promised he would be diligent in his final recommendation to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission at the end of the liquidation process.

“The reality is that the records the company kept are abysmal; under legislation, if a company’s records weren’t kept adequately to reflect their financials, they have committed an offence,” Mr Cauchi said.

“All the finances are there to be found, and a reconstruction could reveal that, but that would cost a fortune… we’ve got 27 boxes of documents to come up to Melbourne, and so that becomes quite a task.”

Mr Cauchi faced repeated questions as to what extent other companies of which Mr Board was director would be scrutinised, including Macalister Capital, MP Plumbing, Macalister Commercial Property, Macalister Property and FP Res.

He said the accounts of Mr Board’s other companies could not be looked into unless they owed Macalister Constructions money, adding the liabilities “appeared to go the other way around”.

Attending the meeting via phone link, Mr Board spoke only once, in response to a question regarding why he had not provided requested details of his personal assets and liability position.

“I can complete that and have it back to you by the end of the day tomorrow,” Mr Board said, to which the room erupted in laughter.

“We’ve heard that a hundred times before from him,” one tradesman said afterwards.