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Bar 9 liquidator 'can't see significant return to creditors'

Business

The administrator of the company that pioneered Adelaide’s specialty coffee movement – Bar 9 – has warned that creditors are unlikely to see significant returns from its liquidation.

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Late last year, InDaily revealed that Bar 9 had been forced into liquidation, leaving behind unpaid employees, debts totalling millions, and questions over the conduct of director Ian Callahan.

Liquidator Oliver Sheahan of Sheahan Lock Partners told InDaily today that creditors – including the Australian Tax Office, allegedly owed more than $2 million – were unlikely to see a significant return from the liquidation of Bar 9 Pty Ltd.

He said there were few tangible assets available to recover, but that he was considering whether or not to pursue any claims against Callahan.

Sheahan said Bar 9 Central – in the David Jones food court off Rundle Mall – shut its doors over the New Year, marking the end of the café institution that helped launch the specialist coffee movement in Adelaide in 2008.

The site of the former Bar 9 Central cafe in the David Jones food court. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

According to Sheahan’s October 2019 report to creditors, the café business was sold to Bar 9 Central in October 2018, for the nominal sum of $5.

After that, Bar 9’s assets and employees were transferred to Central, while Bar 9 was left with its debts, including its significant taxation liabilities, the report says.

“We have a claim against Bar 9 Central,” said Sheahan today.

“We need to realise assets (and) distribute them.

“It’s a matter of us forming a view as to whether we want to pursue any other claims.”

Sheahan added that the Australian Tax Office was pursuing more than $300,000 in unpaid superannuation on behalf of former employees.

Five former employees told InDaily late last year that they were owed superannuation and, in some cases, also owed wages, annual leave, or redundancy payouts.

Several employees said at the time that that since investigation by the ATO they have received some superannuation repayments.

All of these payments have since ceased.

Callahan described himself on his Instagram page last year as a “Hospitality, Business and Marketing Consultant”.

“I actually think that we learn far more from our failures than we do from our successes,” he said, when asked at the time whether it was appropriate for him to offer such advice.

Callahan has since removed the tag.

InDaily contacted Callahan by phone call and text message this morning, but he has not responded.

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