Local firms do dough again

SHARE

Queenstown firms are again writing off debt owed by companies linked to Lindsay Neil Singleton – just as they did in 1999. 

SMG Properties and Beech Cove Apartments – two failed entities in Singleton’s development of The Rees hotel on Frankton Road – have crashed owing $108 million, the Government’s Insolvency & Trustee Service reveals. 

BNZ and Dominion Finance are understood to have their debts secured but small-fry unsecured creditors will almost certainly whistle for their money, according to a new liquidator’s report. 

At least 20 suppliers based in the Wakatipu are among 59 small creditors owed $1.5m. 

Queenstown firms each owed $5000 or more include Corys, Firth, Flint Plumbing, Gasco, Hirequip, Hirepool, Mulford, Pumpcrete, Queenstown Con­crete, Railton Plumbing, RHE and Tradestaff. 

Ratepayers are also hit indirectly – council quango Lakes Environmental is owed $17,000. 

Singleton still has an interest in The Rees – another of his wholly-owned companies has the management contract. 

Distinction Hotels has made an offer for these management rights, the Otago Daily Times has recently reported. 

Back in 1999 local suppliers were baying about another company co-owned by Singleton which couldn’t pay its way. 

Pure Events was set up as a 50-50 partnership between Singleton and local businessman Mike Stewart to run Winter Festival under contract from Destination Queenstown. 

However, financial uncertainty saw Singleton ‘step back’ – as Mountain Scene stated at the time – just hours before the festival opened, leaving Stewart to run the event alone. 

Singleton resigned his Pure Events directorship a few weeks later and went holidaying in Europe, ahead of Stewart liquidating the company. 

In September 1999, liquidators reported Pure Events owed $267,000 to 70 creditors – the company had just $94,000. 

After liquidators Bryan Collie and Donald Jackson said they’d seek legal advice over reckless trading, Singleton and Stewart agreed to contribute additional funds. 

Creditors ended up with 71.5 cents in the dollar but had to write off $57,000. 

Then-DQ boss David Kennedy fingered Singleton for alleged over-spending. Separately, Stewart was hailed as the partner who stuck around. 

This week Stewart says Singleton deserves credit for putting additional funds into Pure Events. 

Singleton’s a visionary who “just lacks financial follow-through”, Stewart says. 

Singleton or another of his companies may have to return money to the failed SMG Properties. 

Wagil Ltd, wholly-owned and co-directed by Singleton, owes SMG an unspecified sum, SMG’s liquidator reveals. 

Should repayment be contested, the liquidator reports, “a decision will be made on whether it’s feasible and economical to pursue this matter further”. 

Official records show Singleton is either director or shareholder of 38 companies – 19 have been struck off or are in liquidation. 

Mountain Scene couldn’t contact Singleton – his cellphone number has changed, his Remuera, Auckland home has no 
phone listing, and a message left at SMG wasn’t returned.