Liquidator calls receivers to account

Hall Chadwick’s Richard Albarran.
Insolvency Options principal Darren Vardy.

One of the more interesting aspects of the external administration of Epic Mining Pty Ltd (Epic) – and there’s a few – relates to the status of the receivers appointed more than six years ago.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Monday Justice Ashley Black made orders scheduling a hearing next month of an application by Epic’s liquidator seeking an accounting of the receivers’ work since their appointment in May 2018.

In making the application the court heard that the receivers – Richard Albarran and Brent Kijurina of Hall Chadwick – had not provided much in the way of assistance to Insolvency Options’ Darren Vardy, who was appointed liquidator of Epic on the application of its priority employee creditors back in April 2019.

As can be deduced, some of Epic’s employee were dissatisfied with how the receivers dealt with their claims and since being appointed Vardy has also had himself appointed receiver of the Epic Mining Unit Trust.

Albarran and Kijurina were appointed to Epic the company and a look at their first annual return for the period from May 18, 2018 to May 17, 2019 shows that they recovered about $480,000 in the period.

Out of that came $100,000 paid to their appointor, Gino Cassaniti of Consolidated Capital & Funding (CC&F) in August 2018.

A sum of $208,000 was swallowed in appointee fees and around $132,000 went to legals, with about $100,000 going to Nelson McKinnon Lawyers and a little under $30,000 to barrister Roger Marshall.

The primary source of recoveries was pre-appointment debtors. Between June 6, 2018 and June 28, the receivers recovered $353,399.98, presumably in the ordinary course. Another $37,132.04 was recovered in September 2018.

Albarran and Kijurina also recover $90,000-odd sitting in the company’s NAB account.

Seems pretty straightforward, which prompted iNO to ask the receivers what exactly required the expenditure of more than $130,000 on lawyers and counsel?

But those disinclined to assist a fellow RegLiq aren’t likely to look benevolently upon enquiries from the Fourth Estate.

We do know that Nelson McKinnon acquired the practice of solicitor Barry Spinks prior to the receivers’ appointment and that Spinks had briefed Marshall and acted for CC&F in tortured litigation in which Epic was involved as the leaseholder and tenant of a quarry at Luddenham in Sydney’s west.

As well as the application for the receivers to provide an account of what they’ve done, Vardy also wants to explore the question of whether Albarran and Kijurina were able to deal with the assets in the way they did given Epic’s sole purpose appeared to be to act as trustee of the trust, whereas Vardy was appointed receiver of the Trust.

NSW Supreme Court judge Ashley Black, who presided over those related proceedings back in 2018 on Monday made orders bringing Vardy’s application on for hearing on July 31.

That’s fast. Which is also interesting.

Further reading:

Familiar faces in Fearndale fight

Hall Chadwick pair’s Epic Mining appointment curdles

Receivers receiving please retire letter

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