Developer’s bankruptcy ‘escalated’


The bankruptcy of former Queenstown developer Lindsay Singleton has been “escalated”.

In 200 pages of official information released to Mountain Scene, the Insolvency & Trustee Service reveals Singleton’s bankruptcy has been upgraded to “complex” because of his “interest in multiple trusts and companies”.

The documents reveal a civil court action brought about the developer’s financial demise - and suggests his indebtedness may run to tens of millions of dollars.

The bankruptcy administrator is investigating Singleton’s financial circumstances and assets - but warns his creditors they’re unlikely to receive anything.

Singleton fronted the development of The Rees, one of Queenstown’s swankiest hotel/apartment complexes.

But he bankrupted himself this February.

The former high-flier’s bankruptcy application to the Insolvency Service says he faced civil court action over personal guarantees “relating to a failed property development”.

“[Singleton] explained he could no longer afford to fight the proceedings and attributed his insolvency to the adverse legal action,” the Business Ministry offshoot says.

Much of the information released has been censored, including how much Singleton owes - Singleton himself refused comment this week.

However, one inter-office email from the Insolvency Service contains a blacked-out reference to “debt level” which appears to occupy 11 spaces - suggesting a figure in the tens of millions of dollars.

Two corporate corpses associated with The Rees - SMG Properties and Beech Cove Apartments - went under owing $108.8m.

An Insolvency Service letter to Inland Revenue says Singleton’s understood to have interests in the Singleton Family Trust and Lifeguard Investment Trust.

Mountain Scene reported in April that Lifeguard Ltd, wholly owned and directed by Singleton’s son Paul, appeared to have shareholdings in seven companies formerly linked to Singleton senior.

It’s unclear if Lifeguard Ltd is linked to Lifeguard Investment Trust.

Singleton senior told this paper in April Lifeguard Ltd was a “trustee” company, adding: “I’ve no shares in anything.”

Official paperwork records Singleton as saying he’s a “trustee” shareholder of two family-trust companies “but I have no personal interest”.

Singleton directed 23 struck-off companies, the information shows.

Singleton gives his address as a swanky street in Auckland’s Mt Eden. But, he says firmly, he has “no property” and hasn’t been involved in any in two years.

The Insolvency Service has queried Singleton’s situation with fund manager Fisher Funds and two unknown banks.

Pending the outcome of an unrelated KiwiSaver court case, the bankruptcy administrator ordered Fisher to freeze Singleton’s fund.

The two banks have been asked for copies of Singleton’s statements over the past two years and to advise ITS should Singleton’s accounts contain over $1000.

In his mid-60s, Singleton now works as a “property development project manager”.

He drives a 2007 BMW 330 owned consecutively by three different companies he’s been associated with.

Singleton claims the vehicle’s worth $25,000 - Insolvency Service suggests it’s more like $15,000.