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Accused “phoenix developer” declares bankruptcy

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EXCLUSIVE | An accused “phoenix developer” exposed in a major InDaily investigation last month has voluntarily declared bankruptcy while owing almost $500,000 to creditors, many of them small businesses based in regional South Australia.

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Accused "phoenix developers" investigation

An InDaily investigation published early last month revealed that Angela Thomas was accused of being a “phoenix developer” in Parliament nearly two decades ago, but has built a sprawling corporate empire since.

Three SA-based construction firms of which she was the director have fallen into liquidation over the past year, leaving a devastating trail of unpaid debts to tradespeople across the state.

The developer believed to be her husband, Steven Thomas, was also accused of criminal corporate behaviour in Parliament in 2002.

Read InDaily’s special investigation here.

Now, InDaily can reveal Angela Thomas has declared bankruptcy, owing $480,707 to 45 creditors, most of which are small-to-medium sized subcontracting businesses based in outer suburban Adelaide and regional South Australia.

A creditor’s bankruptcy notice, obtained by InDaily, says Thomas was made bankrupt on April 17.

Daniel Clark’s business DC Roofing – based in the small town of Kersbrook, north of Adelaide – is owed $26,081.

“It hurt my company a lot,” he told InDaily.

“All these little businesses … struggle because of her.”

He told InDaily Thomas’s unpaid debt reduced his profit from $32,000 to $6000 in the last financial year.

“To only profit that much in a whole year is very disappointing,” he said.

“I want to get to a spot where I can employ someone (but) it was like a dead year.”

He doesn’t expect to ever see the money repaid.

According to the bankruptcy notice, Thomas owes Port Pirie building company Lynch and Saracino more than $120,000.

35-year-old father of two Michael Lynch told InDaily earlier this year that he considered re-mortgaging his family home after Thomas’s company Liberty Homes failed to pay.

“We were on a knife-edge,” he said at the time.

“We hung out on our bills till we were overdue on them all.

“I thought I was going to have to re-mortgage my house.”

He and business partner Ryan Saracino eventually decided to re-mortgage their entire stock of construction machinery instead, to cover the shortfall.

He said they would be paying the machinery back over the next decade.

The bankruptcy notice describes her as an aged care or disability care worker.

Personal insolvency firm Worrells (in Brisbane) has confirmed to InDaily that it is administering Thomas’s estate.

A representative of the trustee, Morgan Gerard James Lane, said they were unable to say whether or not creditors would receive any dividend from the estate.

InDaily contacted a representative of Thomas for comment, but we did not receive a response.

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