Juniper $71m debt shock
FORMER high-flying Sunshine Coast property developer Scott Juniper hopes to walk away from debts of almost $71 million by paying his creditors $20,000.
The offer is part of a Personal Insolvency Agreement which will be presented to Mr Juniper's 17 creditors - including an elderly Sunshine Coast couple - at a meeting in Brisbane tomorrow.
The creditors will decide whether to accept his offer or file for bankruptcy.
Scott is the son of Graeme Juniper, the property developer credited with reshaping Mooloolaba and who was ranked Queensland's second richest man in July, 2007, with a worth of $444 million.
Scott Juniper once too enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with fast cars, a Minyama mansion and interest in several prominent property development companies.
But by 2010, the tide had turned. His development companies owed money and faced liquidation.
Legal documents show Mr Juniper's debts include more than $22 million to the Bank of Western Australia, more than $48 million to the Bank of Scotland and $144,999 to J.H. and N.J. Roberts.
The Roberts fought a long and expensive legal battle against Mr Juniper after he withdrew his $2.3 million contract of sale on their Mooloolaba property on a technicality after he had lived in it free for two years.
But Mr Roberts, who is 88, did not give up the fight.
He took Mr Juniper back to court and in June was awarded $144,999 for breach of contract, restitution for use and occupation of the property and interest.
This is the amount indicated in the insolvency papers, but the real costs will be Mr Roberts' legal fees, estimated to be a "six-figure sum".
Mr Roberts does not regret the legal action, even though he might never see a cent.
Mr Juniper's $20,000 offer is unlikely to result in any return to creditors once the trustee's fees have been paid.
The trustee, Nick Combis of Vincents Chartered Accountants, advises in the legal documents that Mr Juniper did not disclose any bank accounts and did not appear to have cash on hand should he be declared bankrupt.
Mr Juniper recorded in his Statement of Affairs that he now only owns two vehicles, a 2003 Range Rover and a 2009 Husaberg FE570 motorcycle.
The man who was involved in the management of nine property development companies in the past five years also said he had no real estate holdings to declare.
At least four of the companies, including S and L developments, have ceased trading and have "deficiencies" in their balance sheet.
Mr Juniper's $20,000 offer to creditors is understood to come from a "third party/relative".
If creditors agree to the deal, Mr Juniper will be exempt from paying income contributions or having any of his assets seized.
He will also be immediately released "from all his provable debts".
If creditors decide instead to make him bankrupt, he will not be allowed to direct another company for three years.
ALL ABOUT BANKRUPTCY
- You can voluntarily declare bankruptcy owing any amount.
- But a creditor cannot make you bankrupt unless the debt is $5000 or more.
- The period of bankruptcy is three years and one day from the date that a statement of affairs is filed.
- This period may be extended by an objection entered by the trustee under certain circumstances.
- When you are discharged from bankruptcy you will be released from all your provable debts.
- Creditors cannot recover money from you once declared bankrupt.
- If you wish to travel overseas while bankrupt you have to obtain the written permission of your trustee.