Trinity Roots liquidated owing taxman $100,000

TRINITY ROOTS: A sound of New Zealand.
TRINITY ROOTS: A sound of New Zealand.

Celebrated Wellington band Trinity Roots' registered trading company has been put into liquidation owing nearly $100,000 to IRD.

Liquidators appointed this month have assumed control of Trinity Roots Ltd's finances, but say it has virtually no assets and any unsecured creditors are unlikely to be repaid.

The company's listed directors are founding members Rio Hemopo and Warren Maxwell. Maxwell also played with Fat Freddy's Drop and is the front man of Little Bushman.

Former members Riki Gooch and Darren Mathiassen are listed as former directors.

The reggae and dub band was formed in 1998 but disbanded in 2005. Its albums True and Home, Land and Sea were critically acclaimed and achieved gold status in New Zealand. The band has reformed and is due to play in Wellington on May 18.

Trinity Roots Ltd was fined $1560 in 2006 for 22 charges of failing to file tax and GST returns over three years. Its lawyer at the time told the court the returns had simply been overlooked.

Liquidator Paul Bartley said yesterday at least part of the current debt – totalling $99,140.59 in unpaid taxes and penalties – was linked to the historic charges.

Trinity Roots' co-manager Ange Kalogeropoulos – Maxwell's partner – said the financial troubles had a long history. The musicians had been "failed" by their previous management.

"It all [harks] back to when they were originally all together. The management they had completely failed them in the end.

"We have literally been trying to make amends of the mess. We've tried so hard and paid so much back but we just can't go any further."

Ms Kalogeropoulos said the tax debt was not the reason the band broke up.

"But after they did break up there were a lot of things that came to light that had been going on that the guys were completely oblivious to.

"In a business sense, they were directors of that company, they were responsible in that regard."

She declined to name the band's previous managers.

Gooch declined to comment yesterday, citing a legal contract that prevented him commenting on his former band.

The liquidator's report calls for any creditors to make claims by June 20.

"The shareholders and directors are accomplished musicians. However, these skills were not complemented with equivalent business application," the report says.

"The shareholders have come to the conclusion it was, and is, time for the company to be liquidated."

Mr Bartley said he would investigate if any assets could be realised and work to establish who was owed money.

He would also examine the activities of the company's shareholders and directors "and see if they've acted appropriately".

"It seems they were relying on other people. This is not uncommon when you take people in the entertainment industry."

The Dominion Post