Deceased practitioner shadowed to the end

The late Sam Henderson.
Insolvency Options principal Darren Vardy.

Recently deceased insolvency practitioner Sam Henderson was seemingly in the thick of things to the very end, with a Federal Court judgement detailing meetings the former Jirsch Sutherland partner had with a liquidator in the weeks before he was found dead at a North Sydney hotel on April 4.

“I was satisfied that there was good reason for intervention. Boon’s affairs appear to have been under the control of persons other than its appointed company officers. The person who appeared to have had the primary control has died. I have no confidence that Boon’s affairs will be properly conducted in these circumstances.” Justice David Yates.

In Fourteen Consulting Services Pty Ltd (in liq) v Boon Business Consultants Pty Ltd [2023] FCA 376 Justice David Yates recounts how Fourteen Consulting Services liquidator Darren Vardy met with Henderson on March 10.

The meeting had been arranged after Vardy, in his capacity as liquidator of Fourteen Consulting Services, issued a demand to Boon Business Consultants Pty Ltd on February 20 for payment of $66,843,274.

According to Justice Yates: “The meeting was held in Mr Vardy’s office on 10 March 2023. Mr Vardy’s evidence of that meeting was that Mr Henderson informed him that Boon would be receiving $5 to 6 million from a loan it had made “predominantly” to a firm called Titan Cranes.

“When Mr Vardy enquired about “the other $60 million”, Mr Henderson said: ‘I don’t know about that and will need to look into it further. Anyway, Boon will be placed in liquidation in the not too distant future’,”.

Henderson was nothing if not precient. Having determined that Boon Business Consultants was heavily indebted to Fourteen Consulting Services, Vardy applied to have himself appointed to Boon as provisional liquidator, something his honour was happy to approve given the evidence indicating that the current director had little knowledge of the company’s affairs, whilst Henderson on the other hand had been “able to speak, it seems with some familiarity and authority, about Boon’s finances and its future”.

The judge said further that: “The company search of Boon to which I have referred does not record Mr Henderson as having been an officer of Boon” but “The evidence is consistent with Mr Henderson exercising a degree of control over Boon’s affairs. In that connection, I infer that Mr (James) Burns, in his dealings with Mr Vardy, was acting on instructions from Mr Henderson, given the confirmation by Mr Henderson, at Mr Burns’ sentencing hearing, that Mr Burns would have a role, after his release from prison, in NPC Advisory.”

The reference to a sentencing hearing is in respect of the fact, established by Vardy in preparing his application, that Burns had “acted as the sole director of the company over a substantial period of his incarceration”.

Vardy wasn’t able to respond to iNO’s enquiries by our deadline this morning and may well have been restrained in what he could comment on in any case.

One of the affidavits he deposed to in support of his application is the subject of a non-publication order, made on the basis that it “contains information as to Mr Vardy’s investigations and present beliefs in respect of the company’s financial relationships with a number of other companies, and individuals associated with those companies”.

iNO will update this evolving story as more information emerges.

Further reading:

Former Jirsch Sutherland Partner Found Dead

Colourful Creditors Claim Big In Henderson Bankruptcy

1 Comment on "Deceased practitioner shadowed to the end"

  1. Much as I am vaguely intrigued by industry scuttlebutt, I find the ongoing reporting on persons deceased to be tawdry, if not plain disrespectful Peter. Let’s leave the Court processes to run out as we should and not beleaguer the legacies of the departed, whatever they may be. One ought not, in my humble opinion (and as perhaps as good manners dictate), speak (or infer) ill of the dead. I did not know, nor did I have any interaction with Mr Henderson, but he ought be left to rest. Whether that rest is in peace or not is for higher powers to judge.

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