Liquidator calls in administrators over tax debt

No monkeying around: liquidator summons administrators.No monkeying around, even when it's embarrassing having to call in the administrators when you're a liquidator.
Justin Cadman: called in administrators

Justin Cadman: forced to call in administrators to his own firm over ATO debt.

Is it simply embarrassing for a company director who’s an accountant, registered tax agent, a Fellow of INSOL and a registered liquidator to have to call in administrators, or might the experience also imbue the practitioner with an enhanced sense of the plight of his clients?

Only those who know North Queensland insolvency practitioner Justin Cadman well could have a stab at answering but SiN can at least reveal some details of this unfortunate happenstance, which has seen Cadman avail himself of the services of Hall Chadwick’s Blair Pleash and Glenn Shannon to take over as voluntary administrators (VAs) of accounting firm McLaren Knight Pty Ltd.

According to Pleash’s Declaration of Independence, Relevant Relationships and Indemnities (DIRRI), he first got wind that the Cairns and Atherton-based insolvency and tax practice was in trouble last year when contacted by a finance broker engaged to refinance McLaren Knight’s existing bank loan with ANZ.

The company was the subject of wind-up proceedings initiated by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and unable to extend it’s overdraft. On December 8, 2016 Pleash spoke to McLaren Knight shareholder and accountant Jim Cadman and on January 4, 2017 he had a face to face meeting with Jim and Justin Cadman in Cairns. It was not until March 30 that Pleash and Shannon were appointed VAs.

According to the minutes of the most recent meeting of creditors on April 4, Pleash told the ATO’s proxy holder he was able to meet the Cadmans face to face in early January because he happened to be in Cairns on other business.

The minutes also divulge that Pleash and Shannon were of the opinion that the management accounts relating to unsecured creditors were likely to be incorrect given the values of debts presented at the meeting.

Incorrect accounts? Three quarter of a million tax debt? Aren’t they the problems insolvency practitioners are equipped to fix? Yet Justin Cadman is still accepting insolvency appointments and has submitted a draft Deed of Company Arrangement (DoCA).

Pleash told creditors that where Cadman had remuneration approval and “when the job is funded, the Company in External Administration will remit funds to McLaren Knight Pty Ltd (Administrators Appointed)” so the revenue streams for this still hypothetical fix would be dependent on both Cadman’s ability to win work and the corporate failure rate within the North Queensland economy.

Embarrassing? Certainly. Instructive and potentially enlightening? Possible, if the opportunity to see it that way is taken.

About the Author

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.

6 Comments on "Liquidator calls in administrators over tax debt"

  1. Your an optimist Peter. Its quite clear whats happened and I wonder what ASIC/ ARITA have to say about an insolvent liquidator?

    • Thanks Tony. I am an optimist as it turns out and it clearly leaches out in my writing. But is this a case of the liquidator being insolvent, or only the company he contracts to, through a family trust?

  2. John citizen | 30 April 2017 at 7:34 am | Reply

    I wonder what the doca proposes. Based on your article, creditors are only going to get something if cadman can continue to win work and the nq economy continues to fall. Isn’t he in a position of conflict now. He needs to over service each matter to maximise his return to creditors. Why hasn’t asic jumped in or even made an application to court for an independent person to run his matters (with him) at his personal cost. Liquidators should be kept to a higher standard.

  3. Paul freebody | 2 May 2017 at 12:57 am | Reply

    About time this do gooder had it coming charges High rates and still can’t make it work tall poppy was in there viens could not happy to a nicer fellow

    All the best
    Paul freebody

  4. Jim Johnson | 3 May 2017 at 9:25 am | Reply

    Was the work done by the incorporated accounting practice of the appointee and if the former were there appropriate disclosures and approvals by creditors? In bankruptcy specific approval of creditors would be required: s 162

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