Tectonic partner alleges money diverted

CHARLES ANDERSON, BLAIR ENSOR AND CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
Steve Hicks
SORRY: Steve Hicks yesterday apologised "for the stress, disappointment and financial loss this has caused them [creditors] and their families."

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A shareholder of a Christchurch building company that went bust, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to homeowners and suppliers, diverted money from the company's account to their credit card, documents suggest.

Steve Hicks is at odds with his Tectonic Construction business partners, brothers Levi and Asher Davey, over who is responsible for the company's downfall.

Police are investigating a complaint Hicks lodged on June 24.

The Press previously reported that Erica McLachlan paid Tectonic Construction more than $220,000 in advances for a land and house package in Kaiapoi's Silverstream development.

However, construction of the house stalled earlier this year and Silverstream Estate said it was never paid for the land.

Another Christchurch company that trades as Tectonic Enterprises Ltd is not related to Tectonic Construction.

Documents obtained by The Press suggest Tectonic Construction had eight or more building contracts under action, with 20 to 30 more contracts in negotiation. It owed about $160,000 to creditors, including Bunnings Warehouse and ITM, Hicks' lawyer Phil Shannon says in a letter to the Davey brothers.

Tens of thousands of dollars of company funds had also been diverted to credit card accounts controlled by the Daveys without Hicks' knowledge or approval, the letter alleges.

Levi Davey is sole director and joint shareholder of another company, Hot Stuff Insulators, which owed almost $80,000 in overdue tax payments in May, according to a letter sent by Inland Revenue.

Hicks, in a complaint to police, said he believed that Davey was using Tectonic's money to prop up Hot Stuff Insulators.

"In summary, there remain serious questions on the part of our client regarding accounting for and expenditure of company funds," a letter included in the complaint from Shannon says.

Hicks said a total of $677,000 had been deposited by homeowners into the company's account and there were four houses unfinished.

"Where has it all gone?" he said in his complaint to police.

Davey said he and his brother paid company money into credit card accounts so the firm could earn air points on them. Davey said Hicks was aware of this and that they shared the company's financial duties.

He denied any wrongdoing. He said he had resigned from the company two weeks ago and blamed the situation on Hicks. He welcomed a police investigation.

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Davey said problems arose when Hicks withdrew $38,000 from the company, which left Tectonic vulnerable to incoming expenses.

"[Hicks] knows how our books run and he was just trying to make excuses for his actions. Of course every cent has been proved and accounted for."

Shannon said the money Hicks withdrew was put in a holding account on trust to meet company debts.

Davey said he was homeless while he looked for a job so he could feed and house his family.

"I am a broken man. I will probably never return to the building industry I have been involved in all my life because of the nightmare my family and I have been through."

Two other landowners besides Erica McLachlan paid tens of thousands to the company in deposits to build houses on their section, but construction never started.

Kent Allison paid Tectonic Construction over $47,000 as a deposit to build a house on a section in Canterbury six months ago. Completion was due mid-May, but Tectonic Construction had not even started work.

- The Press

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