Fighting for Subbies Rights
We believe that last nights 7.30 Report story on Cullen Building Groups Liquidation was as good as it could be with the time constraints on National TV. We would like to thank Peter McCutcheon and the ABC for taking the time to do this story.
The hope is that there will be more of them in the future to shine the spotlight on the blatant theft that is repeated ad nauseam. We want to put pressure on Governments to properly fund ASIC and on the local scene, the QBCC and to set up a Police Task Force to investigate building industry fraud.
We want all liquidating builders with even the slightest stench about them investigated by a Police Task Force for fraud.
We want to see convictions and jail time because this is fraud on a grand scale. They have ripped subbies off for hundreds of millions of dollars and so far they have all got away with it. To our knowledge no one has been charged but that is about to change.
$75,000 Default Judgement Awarded to AllPro Australia
- A default judgement for 75k was awarded to AllPro Australia in March 2016.
- Cullen did not pay AllPro until July 2016.
- Our credit reporting agency did not report the Default Judgment until October 2016 so no subbies or suppliers would have been aware that it existed.
Preferential Payment Claims
Last nights story highlighted one glaring issue.
The QBCC is the regulating body for the building and construction industry in Queensland.
The Cullen Group Liquidator has found that for the 11 months prior to their liquidation, from January 2016, Cullen Group were trading insolvent.
The QBCC Commissioner is an ex ASIC employee and as such, would have an excellent understanding of how insolvency works and the inner workings of trading insolvent.
The QBCC had access to the financial records of Cullen Group and according to the Commissioner, sometime after March 2016 they did an audit of Cullen.
- Cullen Group passed that audit and their Category 4 QBCC License (30-60 million) remained intact.
- This means the QBCC deemed Cullen to be solvent.
- The Commissioner said when questioned about the default judgement awarded against Cullen in March 2016 "one debt does not mean a company is trading insolvent".
- The Commissioner also said "there was not at that point in time an immediate risk in our view that there would be a significant risk to a larger group of people".
The only conclusion you can reach from this is if they were insolvent from January 2016, the financials they submitted to the QBCC after that were fraudulent.
- What checks do the QBCC have in place to validate a companies financials?
- Do they just trust the Accountancy firms who submit them?
Creditors qualify to be sued for preferential payments if they tick certain boxes such as;
- Making written demands for overdue payments
- Stop production or work on jobs
- Send emails asking or begging for payments.
This is the evidence a Liquidator uses to identify those subbies as knowing that the builder is trading insolvent.
If a subbie or supplier provides goods and services and is not paid for them, why are they pursued for payments received earlier?
These dumb laws basically say we should just give our products away and hope for payment and if we are not paid, don't under any circumstances try to ream payment out of them because some smart arsed liquidator and lawyer will use the law to take the payment back off you.
A question for the Liquidator:
- If the QBCC, the industry regulator who HAS access to Cullen Groups financial records were not aware that Cullen was trading insolvent, how were subcontractors and suppliers who DON'T have access to Cullens financials be reasonably expected to know that Cullen Group was trading insolvent?
Please email your answer to email@example.com
Its time the archaic preference laws were changed and we intend to make that happen.
In case you haven't already guessed, the purpose of this article is to highlight the fact that if the regulator has NFI (No F'ing Idea) that the company was insolvent for 11 months prior to liquidation, how the hell are subbies with their heads down and arses up (easy targets) supposed to know?