It’s no great stretch to imagine a former liquidator would be well equipped to earn his or her crust from the crumbs that fall from failed deals in the distressed lending space.
It’s even less of a stretch to imagine that that ex-liquidator might be former Armstrong Wily principal Andrew Hugh Jenner Wily.
The ever colourful Wily relinquished his liquidator’s ticket in 2017 during ASIC’s disastrous attempt to persuade NSW Supreme Court Judge Paul Brereton that Wily should be the subject of a judicial inquiry.
But recent investigations reveal that Wily has been operating in the unregulated loan market since well before abandoning life as a formal appointment taker, and that he was at times up to his eyeballs in the stygian tale that is Chatswood Stud Holdings (Chatswood).
This company is best characterised as one whose controller was both blessed with ownership of a bucolic rural property and doomed to have that verdant pasture become so encumbered as to attract the likes of Wily, as well as that pillar of the loan-to-own sector, Ian Lazar.
As was featured in A Current Affair last Monday, Chatswood’s owner found himself in default of loans extended by NAB.
But a veritable school of last-resort loan remora it seems are attached to the underbelly of NAB’s Melbourne-based agribusiness unit and as is evidenced by information obtained by iNO, after discharging the NAB debt and refinancing, the hapless stud owner was unable to recover and subsequently passed through a range of high-interest lenders, each invited to this fee feast by a coterie of commission-hungry brokers.
Among the latter was Kelwyn Hough, whose former business Circuit Finance Australia had flourished with the help of a $70 million loan facility provided by NAB until the impaired credit lender went under in 2008 owing the bank $60 million.
Hough, through his firm Barrington Winstanley Group seems to have worked with Wily, who as the excerpt below from a cache of emails shows, was desperate to get Chatswood directorGreg Willis to agree to a deal.
Wily had good reason to get the director’s signature. He had corporatised his involvement in this saga via Idalia Property (NSW) Pty Ltd, which came into existence with Wily as sole director and shareholder in March 2017 and was deregistered by ASIC under section 601AB (1) in July 2020.
iNO has a table of fees approved by the director which show Idalia Property (NSW) Pty Ltd charged Willis $202,400 for its involvement, comprising a “lender introduction fee” of $191,400.00 and $11,000.00 for “Due Diligence”.
Who needs the regulation, cost and compliance required to hold a liquidator’s registration when there’s this sort of dough on offer?
Regrettably for Willis he defaulted again meaning certain members of the regulated population of liquidators also drank from Chatswood’s bountiful well.
DW Advisory’s Ron Dean-Willcocks and Anthony Elkerton accepted appointments as receivers of the Chatswood properties on February 19, 2019 on the request of mortgagor Karoo Investments Group.
Those receivers resigned in May 2019 after being paid out by a refinance from Bob Ell’s Leda Finance but by August 2020 Leda had acted on its security and the properties were back in the hands of receivers, this time being Hall Chadwick’s David Ingram and Richard Lawrence. Support INO’s continued chronicling of the insolvency sector.