QLD liq stung by $150k in adverse costs

Nick Combis cops adverse costs order
Vincents’ Nick Combis.

Vincents partner Nick Combis has found himself on the wrong side of an adverse costs order after the creditor he was pursuing persuaded a judge that her preferences were protected.

In Queensland Quarry Group Pty Ltd (In Liquidation) & Anor v Cosgrove [2019] QDC 26 Combis, in his capacity as liquidator of QQG, sought to retrieve more than $350,000 received by a landholder who had leased part of her and her husband’s property to a quarry operator.

Save for a single glaring exception, the quarry operation bore all the hallmarks of a successful enterprise.

Trucks barreling in and out at all hours. Water licence breaches. Applying for and receiving increased extraction rate permits. Dust spreading. Irate neighbours converging.

But despite the activity and the major contracts with the state government and others the leasors were constantly chasing QQG for their rent and royalty payments.

They even had to issue statutory demands and at one point had themselves attached to a winding up application commenced by another creditor.

Yet despite this seeming indicia of insolvency, Queensland District Court judge Jennifer Rosengren observed, “the Company paid the entire amount the subject of the statutory demand, together with costs”.

It was actions like these, along with payments made in full in to other creditors in similarly delayed circumstances, that saw the judge accept the defendant’s contention that her payments, whilst potentially preferential, were non-voidable under 588FG(2).

Combis did not respond to requests for comment about the possibility of an appeal by INO’s deadline but we understand that his adverse costs of the application are in the ballpark of $150,000, and the defendant won’t be paying any.

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Peter Gosnell
Insolvency News Online illuminates the practice of insolvency Australia-wide, highlighting the triumphs and travails of the nation’s registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. INO is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white-collar crime.

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