Fraudster caught up in former mayor's loan default woes
THE daughter of a former Lismore mayor has lost her home after a company her father is involved with defaulted on loans mortgaged against multiple properties.
Belinda Catherine Nott's family will need a new home after the matters involving Reavill Farm Pty Ltd, which is connected to her father, former Lismore mayor Jeff Champion.
The news comes just two months after Ms Nott, 39, lost an appeal against a fraud conviction after she faked two CBA receipts to pretend she had settled a long overdue debt.
Her company Manor Holdings (NSW) Pty Ltd - behind the five-star Ballina Manor Boutique Motel - owed creditors an estimated $3.3 million as of June this year, including unpaid tax, penalties and interest to the Australian Tax Office along with unpaid superannuation for former staff.
Before Sydney Supreme Court on August 10, Justice Stephen Campbell considered an application to delay the eviction of Ms Nott, her husband and four children.
Justice Campbell said the first eviction appointment, in May, "misfired because the sheriff served the notice to vacate at the wrong address".
A second appointment for eviction was arranged for August 13.
Ms Nott, who was acting for Reavill Farm Pty Ltd in court, asked for two weeks to file a defence under the Farm Debt Mediation Act.
But Justice Campbell said there was "a body of evidence which suggests that this is not a farm debt", meaning that defence was "not very strong".
At that time, Reavill Farm was more than $1 million in debt.
Justice Campbell said if the eviction proceeded on August 13, the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd - which is repossessing the home - said it would not market the property for sale immediately.
Justice Campbell refused Ms Nott's application to postpone her family's eviction, although the bank agreed to allow them to "leave their possessions in the premises" until August 31.
Another property, at Tuckurimba, will also change hands after a Justice Ian Harrison handed down his decision in legal action brought by Jeffrey Friend and Patricia Holt against Reavill Farm Pty Ltd and Tucki Hills Pty Ltd - which Mr Champion is also linked to - on August 29.
This property was mortgaged against a $785,000 one-year loan the companies entered into on July 27, 2016.
Reavill Farm is linked with Mr Champion's quarry and Ms Nott's Wilsons College student accommodation, both based at Tucki Tucki.
The ABN for Tucki Hills Pty Ltd was cancelled in November last year, four months after ASIC issued a proposed de-registration notice.
Justice Harrison ordered the property at Tuckurimba be handed over to Mr Friend and Ms Holt.
He also ordered the defendants pay them $879,556.24 in outstanding costs as well as their legal costs.
When the case previously went before Justice Harrison on August 27, the companies had not been able to refinance the loan and asked for more time.
But in handing down his judgment two days later, he said they "had more than sufficient time to arrange for the discharge of their mortgage to the plaintiffs".
The plaintiffs' solicitor Kelly Waring first wrote to the defendants on June 28 last year, "putting them on notice of the amount due to be paid", Justice Harrison said.
Despite further correspondence on July 26, August 24 and September 14, 2017 as well as January 10 this year, no payment was made.
The legal proceedings began on June 4.
"It is difficult in such circumstances to conclude that the defendants are entitled to, or should be given, any further leeway," Justice Harrison said in his August 29 judgment.
"The time has now passed beyond which all or any attempts to substitute their lender should have been concluded."
This repossession matter was set down for further directions before Justice Harrison on October 5.