GEOFF Bennett is owed more than $100,000 by the directors of GJ Gardner Homes Bathurst – and he will never see a cent of it.
Mr Bennett is one of 77 creditors caught up in the collapse of the business, which went into liquidation in August last year.
Collectively the directors of the company, which had been trading as Aluka Constructions, owe unsecured creditors in excess of $1.3 million – none of which is likely to ever be repaid.
Since GJ Gardner Bathurst went into liquidation, Mr Bennett says he has been been working seven days a week to trade his way of out the situation he has now found himself in.
He is also selling his house to pay his own debts.
Mr Bennett said he initially suspected something was wrong six months before the company collapsed.
“Payments started to be prolonged and then they started saying to us you need to get the next job done in order to pay the existing one,” Mr Bennett told the Western Advocate.
In the end he said he confronted GJ Gardner Homes director Luke Farraway and was told he would be paid each job by instalment and the overdue payments would be cleared by December.
“He looked me in the eye and shook my hand,” Mr Bennett said.
Mr Bennett is also angry the company traded while it was insolvent, confirmed by a liquidator’s report that estimated the company was insolvent from October 2016. Liquidator Chad Rapsey estimated the company incurred debts of $1,100,000 after that.
Mr Bennett said he had only been able to survive the $100,000 thanks to the amazing support of his own workers, other builders and the suppliers put their trust in him.
“Reece Plumbing Bathurst really helped me in tough times, so did all the builders in Bathurst we do work for. Without them I would have folded,” he said.
“And my staff, they stuck by me. I was very honest with them and the boys put in the big hours on the jobs that were paying.”
Mr Bennett said his decision to sell his house meant everyone got paid.
“I’ll have to work for two years to catch up but I’ll get there.”
He said it was time laws were changed.
“This shouldn’t happen.”