Liquidator, director in court over building company's debts

The fallout from the collapse of construction company Australia's Residential Builder has spread to the courts, with the liquidator and a former director now embroiled in a lawsuit over the firm's debts.

The fallout from the collapse of construction company Australia's Residential Builder has spread to the courts, with the liquidator and a former director now embroiled in a lawsuit over the firm's debts.

The Port Melbourne-based firm failed in August, owing creditors more than $7.2 million.

The stoush began when liquidator Hamilton Murphy issued a statutory demand over a $1.31 million debt allegedly owed by associated company ARB Developments, which is controlled by former ARB director Robert Wiederstein.

Mr Wiederstein resigned from ARB before the company's collapse under circumstances his co-director Graeme Varcoe found concerning in light of ARB's dire financial position.

But Mr Wiederstein is contesting the debt in the Supreme Court, claiming that ARB owed his associated company at least $2 million. His affidavit claims ARB Developments was created to buy land to build display homes for ARB. Mr Wiederstein and his business partner, Raymond De Weerd, would loan money to ARB with a "risk-fee" equivalent to a 50 per cent interest rate on the outstanding debt.

After the collapse, ARB Developments filed a claim with the liquidator that ARB still owed it $1.68 million, according to ASIC records.

But Hamilton Murphy has dismissed the claim, calling the debt "a contrivance and ... unsubstantiated" in correspondence submitted to the court.

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