Creditor fury at Crow show. By Rob Maetzig – Taranaki Daily News 29/08/09
A group of businessmen are furious the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce helped allow a debt-ridden man to be involved in a presentation on a major commercial development project for New Plymouth.
David Crow is the director of Buildwise Ltd, an Inglewood building company that has been placed into liquidation owing several hundred thousand dollars to at least 57 creditors, most from Taranaki. On Wednesday night he fronted up with his brother Steve at a Taranaki Chamber of Commerce function to give a presentation on multi-million dollar development plans for the New Plymouth RSA property.
The pair bought the premises for $1.9 million in July last year and are planning a $20 million commercial development called the Te Ara Complex. This has infuriated several business owners who are owed large amounts of money by Buildwise.
They had planned to protest by disrupting Wednesday’s meeting with heckling during the presentation, but decided against the idea at the last minute.
Instead, they sat at the front of the gathering and eyeballed the Crow brothers the whole time. And once the presentation was complete, they went up to the Crows, shook their hands, and reminded them that they were owed money.
“I wished David Crow good luck and told him the eyes of all of New Plymouth will be on them,” businessman Ron McLeod told the Taranaki Daily News.
Another New Plymouth businessman, Paddy Baker, had wanted to take a bag containing $20,000 in cash and empty it on the floor in front of the Crow brothers “so they could know what the cash we are owed looks like”.
“There was a moral issue there. Right through the function I kept thinking about the gall of those two turning up to tell us about the development plans when we’re owed all this money.
“We don’t need that sort of insult. I find it very strange that the chamber went ahead with the function, knowing that there are a lot of us out here who are very upset.”
But chamber chairwoman Shona Glentworth said it was not the chamber’s job to judge.
“The chamber is a member-based organisation, and it is there to provide services to its members, including giving them the opportunity to promote themselves through the Business After 5 meetings,” she said.
“Wednesday’s event was jointly hosted by the Nosh restaurant and Te Ara Complex, both of which are members of the chamber.
Both wanted to tell other members what their businesses are about.”
Attempts by the Taranaki Daily News to contact David Crow last night were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, a liquidators’ report on Buildwise says the company entered into a significant construction contract that required additional resources including manpower.
“The project experienced delays arising from a number of causes resulting in labour and material cost overrun on this project and restricting the company’s ability to complete other projects severely, and adversely affecting profitability and cashflow,” it says.
The report says the company specialised in education projects in Taranaki.
At the time of the liquidation there was little or no work on offer that might have enabled the company to trade out.
The possibility to diversify into other markets such as housing was explored, but ultimately these markets were in no better shape than education.
For further reading see:
RSA moves to protect assets
By Leighton Keith – Taranaki Daily News