Out of pocket, no dream boat

MORE creditors of failed boat builder George Lousick and his Jopalo Boats have come forward, driving the amount of money he owes to well over the $500,000 mark.

The most recent, a Sydney man who wants only to be identified as ‘John’, said he and a friend had spent $140,000 ordering an 8.5-metre Jopalo game fishing boat.

“We read on your (The Daily Examiner) website that he was in trouble and wanted to find out what was going on,” John said yesterday.

“We started with an order for a 7.5m boat, but then decided to up it to 8.5m.

“We paid a deposit on it and for other things that came up and all we’ve got is a set of plans.”

John said the ploys Mr Lousick used to get money out of people were familiar to him.

“I got a call from George saying Suzuki had a special deal going on motors and if I could shoot him $25,000 he would get me one,” he said.

John is another person who has no doubts about Mr Lousick’s ability as a boat builder.

“We were really excited about getting a Jopalo boat. They have one of the best reputations on the market,” he said.

“You were even prepared to wait a bit longer because you knew you were getting a better boat.”

All that is academic now as Mr Lousick filed a debtors petition for bankruptcy with the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia (ITSA) on April 21.

A lawyer representing some of the people chasing Mr Lousick for their money, Mark Spagnolo, said he had heard of two more people from the Gold Coast who had been stung for an undisclosed sum.

ITSA cannot release any information about Mr Lousick’s case, but indicated that it is able to investigate each case if there are suspicions of wrongdoing.

Since the beginning of April when Mr Lousick’s business at Uki Drive in the Yamba industrial estate suddenly closed down, an increasing number of creditors have come forward saying they paid sums ranging from $15,000 to $140,000 for new boats or repairs.

Since shutting his doors Mr Lousick has refused to answer phone calls and emails.

There have been a number of sightings of him, but he has not made a public statement about the collapse of his business.

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