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Adelaide liquidator faces complaint to ASIC

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EXCLUSIVE | An Adelaide liquidator, managing a collapsed SA construction company owing almost $4 million, is the subject of a complaint to federal regulator ASIC over allegations of “fundamental failings” in his handling of the liquidation.

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Paul Jorgensen, of PKF, is accused of failures in managing the liquidation of Unique Urban Built – a long-standing South Australian construction company that was placed under external administration last month, owing 245 creditors at least $3.87 million collectively, and likely more.

Turnaround practitioner Eddie Griffith, of ReGroup Solutions, accuses Jorgensen of ten separate alleged failures to meet his obligations to creditors, including failing to advertise a creditor’s meeting, failing to lodge legally required forms – and lodging others late – errors in reporting and a failure to comprehensively outline Unique Urban Built’s financial position.

Griffith sent the complaint ahead of the first creditors’ meeting this month, urging an ASIC representative to observe the meeting, writing: “I expect ASIC will find these to be fundamental failings.”

“On behalf of the creditors represented, I would like ASIC to consider attending the meeting.

“I further request ASIC look at the liquidator’s conduct.”

Griffith says he represents 24 Unique Urban Built creditors – who are collectively owed $946,420.

In total, the company has 245 creditors, 227 of which are South Australian.

According to a creditor’s list in Jorgensen’s report, obtained by InDaily, the company owes at least $3.87 million and likely more: 47 of the creditors listed in his April 24 report are listed as being owed an “unknown” amount of money.

The report says the creditors include the Australian Tax Office – owed $145,897 – and dozens of local construction industry subcontractors.

Jorgensen told InDaily this morning he was in the process of preparing a report to creditors addressing the concerns.

“I am in the process of writing a report to creditors which addresses these matters,” he said in an email.

“I hope to get the report out today or tomorrow.

“I will continue to act as liquidator.”

Griffith’s complaint to ASIC also says creditors will struggle to assess the reasonableness of Jorgensen’s fees as liquidator, because “no details of assets have been provided plus standard “101” matters haven’t been attended to”.

He told InDaily an ASIC representative did attend the May 8 creditor’s meeting – the meeting at which Jorgensen’s remuneration was to be approved, which was instead adjourned.

Correspondence from a PKF representative to Griffith last Thursday says that the professional services firm was “in the process of reviewing and investigating all points discussed in your later (sic)”.

“… we will write to all creditors to provide an update on liquidation in near future.”

Griffith responded yesterday, saying that he was pleased the issues were being investigated.

However, he urged PKF to provide a date for the next creditor meeting, rather than a commitment to update creditors ‘in near future’.

“You state in your email that ‘we will write to all creditors to provide an update on liquidation in near future’ … this is unacceptable,” Griffith writes.

“Insolvency Practice Rule (IPR) 75-140(2) states: ‘The meeting must not be adjourned to a day that is more than 15 business days after the first day on which the original meeting was held.’

“I should also like to notify you of our intention to have the liquidator replaced at the next duly convened meeting of creditors.”

Jorgensen’s initial report to creditors estimates his remuneration for the liquidation to cost $146,344 plus GST and disbursements.

“The estimate is based on the high volume of creditors, the need to finalise works to provide the best return to creditors and my investigations to date showing there are various preferential preference (sic) payments, debtors and director loan accounts that I will be pursuing to ensure the best return for creditors,” it reads.

Unique Urban Built was registered in 2007 and is based in Norwood.

The company has engaged in commercial design and construction projects across South Australia, and was involved in upgrades to the Adelaide Aquatic Centre.

An ASIC spokesperson declined to comment.

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