Baker says finances 'not in order'

Andrew Baker
Andrew Baker Adam Hourigan

MACLEAN developer Andrew Baker declared last week that two of his companies had gone into receivership and that despite paying the National Australia Bank $10 million in the past 12 months, he was still not in the clear.

The Daily Examiner sought further details on the matter considering Mr Baker's ambition to be elected to Clarence Valley Council on September 8.

Below are the questions and Mr Baker's answers - including secondary questions that arose from the first email exchange.

Which companies have gone into receivership? What were they involved in?

Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd ACN: 132 925 985 is in receivership.

While I have stated that two companies are in receivership, Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd is the only one.

However, the effect goes to property securities as well. Maclean Hotel Holdings is in the Hotel business.

All of our business interests are property development related in and around Maclean.

Why did you state two companies had gone into receivership when only one had? Also - can you please explain what this statement means "the effect goes to property securities as well"?

While the receivership is over one company, property owned by another is cross-securitised.

Further, on the Monday evening, less than three hours after the introduction of the receivers, I did believe it was two companies.

The effect of one company owning security property and the other being in receivership, when given as a personal declaration in the manner it was, is something I am comfortable with as a proper description.

Are your finances in order, that is, can ratepayers expect a by-election if this trouble can not be worked though?

Quite clearly finances are not 'in order' right now. However, we are working cooperatively with the receivers to establish an exact position.

When that position is established I will be in a position to pursue reconstruction.

I don't believe the risk of a by-election is any greater now than any other time.

However my purpose in making a public declaration was to fully inform voters to allow them to make an informed judgement.

If I thought that such greater risk of by-election did exist, I would publish a personal request to voters to not vote for me.

We are told that computers and files have been removed from your office by receivers. Is this true? When did this occur and what was taken?

You have been misinformed on that. No computers or files have been removed by the receivers or anyone else.

You, or anyone else, are welcome to come to my office upstairs in the Top Pub anytime (but please come around lunchtime if you want the best value lunch in town) to have a look for yourself.

The receivers were here last week to collect copies of any information they wanted.

We are also told some local contractors have not been paid. Can you please declare how much money is owing and to whom?

The income and expenditure control of the hotel properly transferred to the receivers last Monday (August 20) in the afternoon.

Some accounts were in then and some have come since. They remain on hold.

We are also waiting to receive money due to us (a well publicised $18,000 owing by Council to us remains unpaid).

I don't feel this question was addressed adequately. Surely you have some idea how much money is owed and to whom?

I do have a very good idea. I don't have complete accuracy and I don't know if everything is in yet.

I don't want to say anything that is not 100% accurate. I don't intend to say something that suggests I am trying to minimise the amount. Or leave anything out.

If you have any specific accounts you want confirmed or otherwise, please let me know and I will tell you.

What do you still remain in control of and what areas do they focus on?

I remain director of a number of companies.

By agreement with the receivers I remain as Licensee of the Maclean Hotel.

Nothing in my answers should be taken as any attempt to minimise the seriousness I give this matter in both my business life and my candidacy for Council.

As with all matters, I will do the best I possibly can to deal with the real issues, and the facts.

Can you please name the companies you remain involved with (to save me an ASIC search)? This really should be a matter of public record in any case so people can be assured that you register your pecuniary interest when these companies come before council.

I am aware of the need to register pecuniary interests and will do so if elected. The ASIC search approach will give you accurate, independent verification of the information you seek.

  • Note: The Daily Examiner did not receive a return call from ASIC's media unit yesterday.

Further to this question - are there any companies of which you are a director/major shareholder (aside from Maclean Hotel Holdings Pty Ltd) that are involved in: "property development related in and around Maclean"?

All of the companies I am involved with are property development related.

What were the main issues leading to the receivership?

While I continue to work toward a resolution of present matters, I prefer not to comment on issues.

A story based on these email interviews and further revelations from a phone interview can be read in The Daily Examiner's print edition on Wednesday.

Topics:  candidate local elections 2012

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