Money worries for Nat

SCANDAL has hit the NSW Nationals for the second time in a month with the revelation that a company owned by pre-selection candidate for Clarence Stuart George is in liquidation owing nine creditors more than $250,000.

The $267,620 in debts owed to creditors relate to monies owed by Mr George's former business Capital Car Sales (Casino) Pty Ltd - a figure he disputes.

The debts have the potential to derail his tilt at the seat for Clarence.

Both Mr George and his wife Margaret are listed as directors of the company.

On October 27 last year Mr George acknowledged the debt when he signed off on an Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) statement verifying report as director.

Mr George's creditors include the Australian Taxation Office, North Coast Petroleum, Allianz, Sensis, and his father Member for Lismore Thomas George, to whom he owes the bulk of the debt.

When The Daily Examiner contacted Mr George at a National Party conference at Port Macquarie yesterday he said he had never hidden the fact that his company was in liquidation.

"I knew this was going to come out," he said.

"Unfortunately it was something that happened ... it was out of my hands.

"With the GST and the way the world markets there were plenty of businesses that went into liquidation.

"The National Party is well aware of it," Mr George said.

He disputed the amount he owed creditors listed on the ASIC documents, saying most of it was to his family.

"I have never hidden it but I would dispute that figure," he said.

Mr George said he learnt from the experience and felt it would help him if he entered state politics.

"This has given me a very good understanding of small business, the highs and lows of it all," he said.

"If elected I will fight for small business because I know how tough it is out there."

Tamworth-based accountant firm Nicholls and Co was appointed the liquidators of Capital Car Sales on the day Mr George signed the documents.

On the presentation of accounts and the ASIC statement document, Nicholls and Co indicated Capital Car Sales debts had not been finalised on April 27 this year.

The document, which was authenticated by liquidator Alan Nicholls on May 2 this year, stated Capital Car Sales had a bank balance of $847.53.

Under the estimated outcome section of the document, Mr Nicholls answered the question "do you expect that a dividend will be paid to any class of creditor" with no.

According to ASIC documents Nicholls and Co was appointed as a liquidator for six months, with their appointment to conclude on October 27.

Liquidator Alan Nicholls didn't return several calls from The Daily Examiner yesterday.

A NSW Electoral Commission spokesman said people needed to be aware there were certain disqualifications that sit under the Constitution Act of 1902, section 13.

The spokesman said it was not the commission's role to be the arbitrator of who could nominate to run for a seat in parliament.

He said the only checking the commission did was to make sure the candidates were on the NSW electoral roll.

The commission advises any candidates who are uncertain whether they may be disqualified from holding a seat in parliament to seek their own legal advice.

Under the Constitution Act a candidate or member is disqualified from holding a seat in parliament if they become bankrupt or take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors.



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