Tim Mander
Tim Mander

Walton Construction collapse: dates set for hearings

THE dates have been set for the public examination into Walton Construction (Qld) Pty Ltd, which went into liquidation in October 2013.

Minister for Housing and Public Works, Tim Mander, said the hearings in the Federal Court would examine Walton Construction (Qld) Pty Ltd's relationship with Peloton Builders Pty Ltd.

A number of projects started by Walton Construction (QLD) Pty Ltd were sold to Peloton Builders Pty Ltd.

Mr Mander said the Queensland Building and Construction Commission's (QBCC) offer to help fund the liquidator's examination of Walton and the company's relationship with Peloton remained in place but the liquidators had not yet requested assistance.

The Federal Court has ordered documents be presented on 9 July 2014 by people associated with Walton Construction (Qld) Pty Ltd, including former company director, Craig Walton, and Melissa Chalker, Patrick McCurry and David Scott.

Hearings are listed for 13 August 2014 to examine Mr Walton and for 18 August 2014 to examine Ms Chalker, Mr McCurry, Mr Scott, Anthony Barnett, Phillip Spry and Norman Metz.

The QBCC is also investigating if Walton Construction (QLD) Pty Ltd and Peloton Builders Pty Ltd have breached the Queensland Building and Construction Commission Act, and is assessing fitness and proprietary issues in the dealings between the two entities.

News of the hearings follows investigations by the Sunshine Coast Daily led by editor-at-large Bill Hoffman.

Those owed millions say Walton Construction's liquidation and the outcome of a public examination of those involved in the $69 million collapse is a test of the system's ability to protect subcontractors who fulfil the letter of their obligations only to be exposed to financial ruin.

Walton Subcontractors Collective spokesman Les Williams told the Daily in May that his group remained furious that access to key Walton financial information had been lost when documents were transferred to two entities, Tantallon and Lewton Asset Services, immediately before Walton went into administration on October 4 last year.

He said his group was not confident a planned public examination of Walton sole director Craig Walton, other staff and those involved in the transfer of the documents and other key Walton assets would get to the bottom of the matter.

Complicating the issue is the as yet unresolved Federal Court appeal by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, which is seeking to overturn an earlier court decision not to sack the liquidator, PKF Lawler, formerly Lawler Draper Dillon, for failing to disclose to creditors the extent of its prior dealings with Walton's business advisors.

Tantallon, which was initially named Peloton Builders, and Lewton were established by directors of Walton business advisors the Mawson Group and took control of its contracts, intellectual property and physical assets through Asset Sale Agreements that were left unchallenged by the liquidator.

Both companies have subsequently gone into administration, further restricting access to critical Jobpac files that carry the fine financial detail of the state of Walton's numerous construction projects in the months leading up to its insolvency.

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