Jon Kelly has appeared in court over the sale of some of his show trucks.
Jon Kelly has appeared in court over the sale of some of his show trucks. Contributed

PART 1: Liquidators question Jon Kelly truck deal

  • The first of a series of stories about the collapse of Heavy Haulage Australia
  • Court hears Jon Kelly took 10 months to cash cheque for six show trucks
  • Show truck such as Reddawg, Woodyard, NVRL8V8 sold for $450,000

LIQUIDATORS appointed after the collapse of Heavy Haulage Australia have taken Jon Kelly to court over the suspected dishonest sale of his custom trucks.

In a Supreme Court of Victoria public examination into JFK Project Solutions a business Jon and his wife Joanne owned, a lawyer working for Ferrier Hodgson probed Mr Kelly on why he sold his trucks to long-time friend Karl David Finne-Larsen and didn't cash the cheque until 10 months later.

See Jon Kelly's Breaker truck being built at PJs

In court documents from November 4, 2015 and February 4, 2016 viewed by Big Rigs it was revealed that six show trucks were sold for $450,000 to Finne-Larsen.

The trucks included a 1998 Mack Titan (Reddawg), a 1990 Mack superliner (Woodyard), a 1985 Mack Superliner (E9K9), a 1990 Mack Value-liner (Smiler), a 1989 Mack Value liner (NVRL8V8) and a '86 Kenworth (Aces High).

Check out the trucks here.

Mr Finne-Larsen told the court he was running Larsen's Truck Sales at the time of the sale and had previously run Adtrans Used Trucks.

"I've known Jon since he's been 10 years of age. His father worked for me many years ago and Jon worked for me from the age of 15," he said.

The court heard that Mr Kelly sold the trucks on December 17, 2014 but didn't cash the $450,000 cheque for them until October 20, 2015 when his friend was summonsed to court.

Mr Finne-Larsen did say that it was "unusual" for someone to not cash a cheque for 10 months.

He said the arrangement came after Jon had talked about selling his trucks.

 

Jon Kelly's Western Star was the standout of the Perth Truck Show. Photo Sean Owens / Big Rigs
Jon Kelly's Western Star was the standout of the Perth Truck Show. Photo Sean Owens / Big Rigs Sean Owens

"He wanted a stupid price. I offered a stupid price. We come to a deal in the middle," he told the court.

"I didn't see any issue at that stage. He's just sold his business and he was quite well off."

Questions over whether Jon was actually able to sell the trucks came up during the examination, as well as whether Mr Larsen had possession of them all.

The business went into administration in June last year.

The court heard Mr Kelly kept using Gold Digger and Red Dog until April this year and the rest were at Larsen's house until he moved them into storage.

Mr Finne-Larsen also has possession of Mr Kelly's red Peterbilt called Majestic but told the court he had not purchased it.

He said he had been treated like a criminal since the sale. "Pickles had organised two heavies to come to my yard to repossess these trucks."

 

Some of Jon Kelly's trucks ready to roll for the 2013 Brisbane Convoy for Kids. Photo Sean Owens / Big Rigs
Some of Jon Kelly's trucks ready to roll for the 2013 Brisbane Convoy for Kids. Photo Sean Owens / Big Rigs Sean Owens

Mr Kelly himself faced the court on February 4, saying everyone in Australia knew he had a nice collection of show trucks.

"These trucks were my personal trucks…I said to Mark Rowsthorn and everyone through the process that I would retain.

"Basically, I did not get paid personally any money for the share sale transaction, so as part of the deal I said that I wanted these trucks basically put in asylum in the deal and McAleese agreed to that as they were non-core to the business and considered my personal assets, and as such this schedule was created and they had the ability to be transferred out prior to sale."

Lawyers probed whether or not the vehicles were actually transferred to Mr Kelly.

In September last year Kelly put his Peterbilt up for sale.

Kelly said Reddawg, Woodyard, Ace High and NVRL8V8 were in possession and paid for by David Larsen, Big Iron was in the possession of PJs Spray Painting as was his Ford Kentucky LTL.

EvilE9 was purchased by Daniel Bower, the 2013 Ford F350 was sold to Preferred Motor Brokers, E9K9 was purchased by David Larsen but is still in Jon's possession in Perth.

 

Jon Kelly faces off with his latest truck, Big Dog 5. Photo Contributed
Jon Kelly faces off with his latest truck, Big Dog 5. Photo Contributed Contributed

HHA07 has been purchased by Lee Moulds Transport, JCash went to the administrators, the Lone Ranger Mack Superliner was sold to Chris Betts and Mini Me was sold and paid for by someone called Mort.

Mr Kelly said he was personally paid for the six trucks that Mr Larsen purchased while the rest were invoiced through JFK Projects and paid into HHA.

Jon laughed of claims the business was in trouble back in 2014.

Mr Kelly said he was pressured to recoup $600,000 after the sale of his Larpinta depot fell through and McAleese wanted their share of the expected 50% of proceeds.

However in the last six months of trading he was "living off fumes" and needed to sell the trucks to pay McAleese their $600,000.

 

After eyeing the truck off for several years before acquiring it, Jon Kelly couldn't be happier with his 'restored' all original driveline 1990 500hp V8 Value Liner and admits to having a soft spot for the former icon of the road.  Casino Truck Show trucks on display, V8 Mack Value Liner Jon Kelley unveiled at show. Photo Chris Blanchard / Big Rigs
After eyeing the truck off for several years before acquiring it, Jon Kelly couldn't be happier with his 'restored' all original driveline 1990 500hp V8 Value Liner and admits to having a soft spot for the former icon of the road. Casino Truck Show trucks on display, V8 Mack Value Liner Jon Kelley unveiled at show. Photo Chris Blanchard / Big Rigs Carly Morrissey

"Basically, Dave was up on holidays at the time in Queensland and we got talking about trucks and how McAleese were pretty much being - I suppose, to be blunt, arseholes about the whole transaction and putting pressure on me to produce their $600,000. I was concerned about my financial position and the business itself, and he said, if I needed some money, he'd buy the trucks off me," he told the court of the deal.

"I wanted some more, Dave wanted to pay less, we agreed on $450,000."

Administrators tell of the businesses debts.

However it was put to Mr Kelly that if he was strapped for cash he would have cashed the $450,000 cheque from Mr Larsen earlier, but Mr Kelly said he was concerned his wife would have had a claim to the money as they were going through a Family Court Matter.

He said the money was later spent on legal bills and living expenses.

 

The Bulldog stands guardian over the classic front view of Jon Kelly's HHA V8 Value Liner.  Casino Truck Show trucks on display, V8 Mack Value Liner Jon Kelley unveiled at show. Photo Chris Blanchard / Big Rigs
The Bulldog stands guardian over the classic front view of Jon Kelly's HHA V8 Value Liner. Casino Truck Show trucks on display, V8 Mack Value Liner Jon Kelley unveiled at show. Photo Chris Blanchard / Big Rigs Carly Morrissey

A Victorian Supreme Court spokesperson said the public examination was the end of the matter.

Big Rigs has sought comment from the liquidators, Jon Kelly and McAleese.

  • Next story reveals what administrators say was the reasons behind the collapse.
  • Then what Jon said in court about McAleese
  • Following, how did it come to this, Jon talks about McAleese' ultimatum and what he's been up to since the business stopped trading.
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