'Spider web' of trusts unravels as Molenaar is bankrupted

Last updated 05:00 22/02/2014

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Wellington property developer Tony Molenaar has been bankrupted.

He was declared bankrupt by Associate Judge Warwick Smith in the High Court this week on the application of the Johnsonville Property Trust.

The trust said Molenaar owed it $550,000 after failing to meet personal guarantees relating to the sale of an office building in Downer St, Lower Hutt.

Trust lawyer Geoff Thompson said the trust bought the property with a provision that, if required, Molenaar would buy it back.

"He made a number of personal representations and, when he failed to buy it back, they obtained a High Court judgment against him."

Thompson said the trust attempted to negotiate a settlement but, when that failed, it had no option but to proceed with the bankruptcy petition.

Molenaar did not appear in court to oppose the petition.

Speaking after the brief court hearing, Thompson said Molenaar had a "massive spider web of interconnected trusts", but the personal judgment against him cut through all this.

The bankruptcy follows recent forced sales of at least 14 properties that were owned or developed by Molenaar.

These included the EMC2 office block in Willeston St, Wellington, the former Colgate building in Nevis St, Petone, an office block in Bouverie St, Petone, retail and office buildings in Lower Hutt, and industrial properties in Paraparaumu, Plimmerton and Porirua.

Twelve companies controlled by Molenaar were liquidated last year on the petition of Inland Revenue, which claimed it was owed about $2.7 million.

Other secured creditors included BNZ, ANZ Bank, Westpac and Monument Finance.

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