Sheahan Lock poised to replace William Buck duo

Brendan Copeland and Bob Whitton are resisting attempts to eject them as liquidators of Ridley Capital Holdings.
John Sheahan will be only too happy to replace his rivals from William Buck.

John Sheahan will be only too happy to replace his rivals from William Buck.

The foreign creditor seeking to eject Rob Whitton and Brendan Copeland as liquidators of Ridley Capital Holdings (RCH) has lined up John Sheahan and Ian Lock as their replacements, sources have confirmed.

California-based Corbis Global applied in the NSW Supreme Court to replace the Williams Buck pair due to differences about how the RCH liquidation should proceed.

Corbis, which in November 2015 won judgment against RCH for unpaid fees in the sum $660,826.52c plus legal costs, wants the liquidators to pursue the company’s director, architectural services entrepreneur Joshua Ridley.

As Copeland and Whitton haven’t replied to queries we can’t say they’re not doing just that. Or maybe there’s no funds for the hunt and the Americans are disinclined to cough up, though one would expected Sheahan and Lock to negotiate indemnities and pledges of funds for investigations if the action to install them succeeds.

The Assetless Administration Fund (AAF) grants show Copeland and Whitton have each secured $8,250 to investigate and prepare a supplementary report within what would be the appropriate timeframe given the date of their appointment but there’s nothing to indicate that either grant related to RCH.

Joshua Ridley appointed Copeland and Whitton as liquidators of RCH via a creditors voluntary liquidation on November 12, 2015 and the minutes of the first meeting of creditors shows the director has lodged a proof of debt for $1.6 million.

His US nemesis however has been casting the net to neighbouring waters as it explores ways to recoup its judgment debt plus $500,000 it said it accrued defending a cross claim which RCH supposedly abandoned in November 2015. This has had the effect of inconveniencing Ridley’s business partners in his other venture Ridley & Co, which include former NSW Labor Council heavyweight and property investment tycoon Michael Easson.

Easson told SiN last night that Corbis had served him personally with a subpoena to produce documents “in relation to certain projects relating to the debt owed by Ridley Capital Holdings. This subpoena has since been set aside by the Supreme Court,” he said.

“Other than the subpoena which has been set aside, I have not been made aware of any intention by Corbis to commence proceedings against Ridley & Co nor is it clear to me on what grounds any such proceedings would be validly commenced,” Easson said, adding that if Corbis were to take action against Ridley & Co the proceedings would be “vigorously defended”.

Ridley & Co, which was formed in 2012, is owned by Joshua Ridley, Michael Easson and Easson’s co-founder at EG Funds, Adam Geha. The three are also Ridley & Co’s directors and Ridley and Co’s staff occupy offices on the same floor of Governor Philip Tower as EG Funds. If the courts orders Sheahan and Lock replace the William Buck pair and they are adequately resourced, Josh Ridley’s partners could be excused for anticipating further inconvenience.

The only thing standing between the commencement of the liquidators’ removal application is $45,000 Supreme Court Justice Reg Barrett has ordered be posted as security for costs before the application can be heard. We’ll know if the cheque’s cleared next week when the matter returns for directions.

About the Author

Peter Gosnell
Sydney Insolvency News illuminates the practice of insolvency in Australia's largest city, highlighting the triumphs and failures of Sydney's registered practitioners and the accounting and legal professionals who work with them. SiN is produced by Peter Gosnell, former business editor and senior business reporter at The Daily Telegraph newspaper. During a decade-long career, your correspondent reported on such notable corporate collapses as HIH, One.Tel, Westpoint and Fincorp as well as some of the nation's highest profile bankruptcies and the investigations and prosecutions arising from Australia's most notorious instances of white collar crime.

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