Property high-flier bankrupted
One-time Auckland property king Don Ha has been bankrupted.
The order bankrupting Ha and his wife Mohini was made in the Auckland High Court this morning following action brought by KiwiBank and supported by the Bank of New Zealand, Westpac, ANZ National and the Public Trust.
Ha had failed to reach a creditors' compromise in March and his counsel today sought a 30-day adjournment of proceedings to again try to convince creditors to accept a shortfall. Associate Judge John Faire rejected the request.
Bankruptcy marks a complete fall from grace for Ha, who at one time was on the National Business Review Rich List, splashed millions on racehorses and planned to open an academy teaching others how to replicate his success.
The son of Vietnamese refugees, Ha settled in New Zealand in 1980 at the age of nine. In 1994 he began developing property in South Auckland, and the high watermark came in 2007 when he made the Rich List with an estimated fortune of $60m. His wealth allowed him to indulge his horse-racing interests and in 2007 he paid a record $2m for a Zabeel colt at Karaka.
The following year Ha dropped off the Rich List and began a series of ultimately futile court bids to unwind racehorse purchases worth millions of dollars.
Over the past year many of Ha's enterprises were placed into administration by lenders, and earlier this year the developer began winding down the remainder of his empire by appointing liquidator John Gilbert to several of his companies.
Gilbert blamed the global financial crisis for the collapse.
Ha's attempts to profit by teaching others his property investments secrets also floundered because of financial troubles. Last year Ha registered Don Ha Trading Academy. "Get inside the head and heart of Don Ha and find out how to achieve his results and become a millionaire through real estate sales," short-lived advertising for the academy said.
Ha tipped the academy into liquidation in March, and Gilbert's first report into the company's failure said the collapse of related companies had proved a death knell.
- © Fairfax NZ News