Helm duo dump gig as Liquor and Gaming deliberates

Helm Advisory founder Stephen Hathway.
Consent of one liquidaotr enough despite joint appointment judge rules
Helm Advisory’s
Phil Hosking.

Helm Advisory duo Stephen Hathway and Phil Hosking have resigned as administrators of The Sydney Portugal Community Club Ltd a day after being appointed thanks to their appointors overlooking the requirements of section 41 of the Registered Clubs Act 1976.

The Helm pair accepted the appointment on March 15 and resigned immediately after learning that the club’s directors had not obtained the appropriate authorisations from the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority prior to seeking their consents to act.

As is outlined on the authority’s website: “Insolvency practitioners and registered clubs are reminded that the proposed appointment or approval (as the case may be) must be secured before the proposed appointment of the practitioner occurs, lest the validity of the proposed appointment is called into question.”

It then refers to the case of Correa V Whittingham 2013 (NSWCA) 263 (15 August 2013) where the NSW Court of Appeal held that a club was not capable of appointing a voluntary administrator in circumstances where it had not yet obtained approval by the Authority of the appointment.

People familiar with the chequered history of the The Sydney Portugal Community Club may not be surprised that the club President or those advising the president overlooked this critical requirement.

As was reported in the Fairfax press in 2018, the club squandered a $2 million taxpayer grant handed over by the then Federal Labor Government in 2013 intended to build a large, modern grandstand and related facilities.

The club’s playing field is situated in Fraser Park, located in the Sydney suburb of Marrickville, part of federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese’s electorate.

Financial statements for the club for the year to June 30, 2020 show the operations of the social and soccer clubs slumping from a $45,000 profit in 2019 to a net loss of $433,576. The latest financial statement was lodged with ASIC on March 23, 2021.

Despite the botched attempt to appointment administrators less than a fortnight ago, the financial statement declares that there are no events that have arisen subsequent to the balance sheet date: “that have significantly affected or may significantly affect either: the entity’s operations in future financial years; the results of those operations in future financial years; or the entity’s state of affairs in future financial years”.

Fortunately for the club’s directors, the NSW Liquor & Gaming Authority boasts some seasoned insolvency experience on its board, including chairman and former Henry Davis York restructuring guru Phil Crawford, ex-McGrathNicol founding partner Murray Smith and PPB Advisory co-founder and these days Duff & Phelps consultant Steve Parbery.

No doubt they’ll see the necessity of acting swiftly in respect of any application lodged by the club’s president “to approve an insolvency practitioner to act in a relevant capacity”. Support INO’s continued chronicling of the insolvency sector.

3 Comments on "Helm duo dump gig as Liquor and Gaming deliberates"

  1. John Oliveira | 28 March 2021 at 12:38 pm | Reply

    The information is not right the stand is there.

  2. I have written recommending repeal of this quaint 1976 section, as have others – see NSW Registered Clubs – insolvency law change required | Murrays Legal Commentary, 11 October 2018. No other state has such a requirement. If the Authority has such ‘seasoned insolvency experience on its board’, the board, or the government, might explain the need for the section’s retention.

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