The boss of one of Australia’s biggest petrol chains and his in-house counsel have been ordered to appear in a Brisbane court next month to divulge key financial data about their group.
United Petroleum co-founder Avi Silver and his legal eagle Andrew McLean were each issued with an “enforcement hearing summons’’ after a Queensland building firm won court orders in March to recover nearly $400,000 owing for work carried out on three servos.
In their capacity running United’s building arm, SHA Premier Constructions, the two gents will have to produce financial statements, profit/loss data and banking records at the District Court hearing on June 10.
If they fail to attend without explanation, warrants for their arrest could be issued and they may be cited for contempt of court.
By pure chance, cheques from SHA for the full amount belatedly showed up on Friday at the offices of the lawyers acting for Brisbane building firm Niclin Constructions.
But that’s not the end of it.
Niclin still wants the two gents to attend the hearing because they are aiming to claw back interest and legal costs.
The company is also poised to chase a further $1.1 million allegedly owing from SHA in a matter set to be adjudicated by the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
In an odd coincidence, another Brisbane builder, Paul Lanskey of Lanskey Constructions, is expecting a judgment to be handed down in three of his legal disputes with SHA on June 10, the same day as Silver and McLean are scheduled to appear.
Lanskey, a 34-year veteran of the industry, told City Beat yesterday that he’s hoping to recover about $3 million. He previously won around $500,000 and another $70,000 in costs in two cases against SHA, including on appeal.
Both builders contributed to a joint submission to a taskforce which was set up to investigate widespread fraud allegations in the Queensland construction industry and is due to make recommendations by the end of next month.
Their submission alleges that SHA “artificially and disingenuously create arguments to delay payments for work to contractors’’ and has “engaged in tactics designed to delay and restrict cash flow to contractors’’.
It says multiple cost orders have gone unpaid and “detailed objections have been lodged by the SHA to delay the process’’. The submission also alleges that SHA uses “all available resources to delay payment and approved variations are later rejected and payment not made’’.
An SHA spin doctor said yesterday that he thought it was “unlikely’’ that Silver and McLean would be required to attend court.
He also lashed out at unspecified companies that have “sought to abuse the adjudication process, to delay court proceedings and try to obtain monies that they know would not be awarded in court’’.
“They have blatantly and unashamedly abused the process as leverage to make unreasonable and unfair claims against SHA,’’ he said.