Grose Wold electrician Glenn Fitzgerald has been doing business with McGraths Hill builder Darren White for 10 years, but it wasn’t until two years ago that Mr Fitzgerald said things started to turn sour.
Mr Fitzgerald, who runs G & M Electrical at Grose Wold with son Liam, claimed Mr White now owed him $238,000. He reckons his chances of seeing any money now are “next to none”.
“He’s got insurmountable debts – the more we delve, the more debt there is,” he said. “I have four employees and I’ve paid all of them and all my suppliers but he’s basically got my life savings. I’ve been in business since 1992 – I’ve never been stung like this before.”
Mr Fitzgerald was at the first creditors’ meeting at Richmond Golf Club on Friday, November 4, when 32 people filled the meeting room to try to claw some hope from Chifley Advisory, who were appointed voluntary administrators by the company Darren White Pty Ltd on October 25. The Gazette rang the administrators for Mr White’s contact details to ask for his comment on the allegations. Chifley Advisory contacted him on the Gazette’s behalf on Monday. Administrator Trent McMillen got back to us that “the director advised he did not wish to participate in such an interview with the Gazette”.
At the creditor’s meeting administrator Mr McMillen read out a list of around 30 creditors who claimed Darren White Pty Ltd trading as White Design and Construction owed them money. It was estimated the company owed about $2.45m.
Well-known Hawkesbury businesses were on the list, such as HR King & Sons at Ebenezer, which claimed it was owed $110,000, and Cooks Plumbing Supplies (amount not disclosed). Seven creditors, including Mr Fitzgerald, claimed to be owed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr McMillen said that Mr White had borrowed $1.44m from the company and that assertions were made that it was used for private purposes. He said Mr White had provided materials however to show he had put $1.66m back into the company, which would offset the $1.44m loan.
The creditors at the golf club included many aggrieved homeowners who just wanted to get on with their project. Mr McMillen said 22 homes were in various stages of construction by the company across the Hawkesbury, Hills, The Ponds, Blacktown and Wentworthville. He said they had estimated it would cost $2.68m to complete all these houses.
He advised the homeowners at the meeting wanting to engage their own “subbies” to continue work on their homes, to “cross the t’s and dot the i’s” for claiming homeowners’ warranty insurance.
Chifley Advisory was confirmed as administrators for the company at the meeting, and no creditors’ committee was appointed. Chifley Advisory has seized all the company’s paperwork and by the end of this month will determine whether the company continues to trade to generate money to pay the creditors, or whether it is put into liquidation.
The administrators advised that the second creditors’ meeting will be held between November 17-30, at which time it is expected more detailed information will be available about the state of the company’s affairs.
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