Melgrens owe ‘nearly $1 million’

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A liquidator has slammed a former Queenstowner, labelling him “completely reckless” as he prepares to report him to the Companies Office for reckless trading.

Jaden Melgren – adjudicated bankrupt in Auckland last July – is alleged to have been the controlling force behind Old School Carpentry, which lists his former wife, Jackie Melgren, as the sole director and shareholder.

Phone numbers for the Melgrens are no longer active.

Melgren first hit the headlines in July 2017 when the company he started in Queenstown, True Line Builders Ltd, went into liquidation.

Jackie was a shareholder in that company until the day before liquidation when she was removed.

Liquidator Imran Kamal tells Mountain Scene even he doesn’t know how to get hold of the couple any more and says he’s had “a battle” in that liquidation.

He found a debt owed by the Melgrens to True Line, negotiated a settlement of debt, executed a deed of settlement and was monitoring payments.

Since April 2018 they’ve paid a total of $60,801 – but then they defaulted and haven’t paid a dollar in the six months to July this year, he says.

All of the money received’s gone to fees and disbursements.

When asked how much they still owe in respect of True Line, Kamal says “all of it”.

“We have recovered some money, but if you look at the total debt still outstanding, it’s … $792,000.”

There’s no realistic proposition of that being recovered.

Just days after that company went into liquidation, Melgren started Melcon Ltd – but that was removed from the Companies register in November, 2017.

Next, his now ex-wife started up Old School Carpentry, a “labour-only builders” based in Auckland, in January, 2018.

Despite Melgren being bankrupted in July, meaning he can’t manage or control a business, Kamal alleges he was the shadow director.

“He was using his wife’s company as a trading arm.

“This guy made $300,000 profit for the first year and paid no taxes.

“He had work flowing out of his ears [but] paid no … GST, no PAYE.

“This was like a second chance for him … [he] just doesn’t care … just lives a lavish lifestyle.

“[It’s] just completely reckless.

“People make mistakes in one company – somebody doesn’t pay or something goes to custard – but you don’t make multiple mistakes like what he’s done.”

Kamal estimates Old School Carpentry is in the red for about $180,000 _ racked up in under 12 months.

The majority of that, $160,000, is owed to Inland Revenue.

The first liquidator’s report, from April, said a Toyota Hilux, trailer and boat were put on the company, but Melgren had possession of them.

Kamal tells Scene he’s since managed to get them back, but says the vehicle and boat were trashed.

The condition of the Hilux was so poor and appalling, same with the boat … it was just for fishing … he’s just wrecked it.

“It was a brand new boat – you’d be amazed how rough they were on the boat, and the Hilux as well.

“It looks like it had never been washed.”

He says they’ve since been sold, but there were personal debts owing on them as well.

Kamal’s going to report him for reckless trading, which an enforcement team within the Companies Office will review before making a decision.

The Office can issue a prohibition order, meaning a person can not act as a director of a company, effective for up to 10 years.

Back in August 2017, Melgren told Scene True Line took a settlement from Auckland company B7 Construction Ltd before it went into liquidation in March of that year, but was left “a couple of hundred thousand dollars short”.

He wasn’t aware of the impact that would have.

“It was my true intention to just work through it, have a busy year and make up the loss, essentially,” he said.

He alleged the financial position was compounded when True Line was left about $80,000 out of pocket by clients in Arrowtown and “in the eleventh hour” he realised he had a “major problem”.

“It was my full intention to go into voluntary liquidation to liquidate assets and pay creditors.

“It was not the intention, it was never the intention to be in this position and I suppose when we did so much good by so many people for quite a few years and then you end up in this position, it’s soul-destroying.”