Debt mounts as former bankrupt back in trouble

TESS MCCLURE
Last updated 05:00 16/08/2014
Rob Strickland
Fairfax NZ
PAY UP, ROB: Former bankrupt Chirstchurch businessman Rob strickland is frustrating his creditors and contractors once again.

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A controversial former Christchurch bankrupt appears to be headed for trouble again with debts mounting and a string of contractors left unpaid.

Rob Strickland began Edifice Building (now Edifice Ltd) in 2011, following the collapse of his previous company, Strictly Events.

The Press this week spoke to four Edifice sub-contractors who said they either were owed money by Edifice or had faced significant delays with payment.

They wished to remain anonymous, as they were still trying to recover money from Strickland.

One contractor was owed $30,000.

"That's quite a lot for a small company. And we know he's been here before," he said.

"I'm still hoping he'll pay me, but it doesn't look good, does it?"

He said he would be taking Strickland to court if payment did not eventuate.

Another contractor said he was owed "a lot" of money and was still trying to recover it.

Strickland would not comment on when the contractors could expect to be paid. He said the business was "taking steps to cut back on overhead expenses due to a large downturn in work, cutting costs like office space, staff".

This "has been brought about by the difficult and challenging Christchurch rebuild environment. We are at the early stages in the process and there are still decisions to be made and actions to be taken."

Strickland confirmed that Edifice had sublet its Carmen Rd premises and would be vacating the premises by Monday.

He said the company would complete all its current projects by the end of August.

Strickland came out of bankruptcy in 2007, after a failed publishing venture.

He placed another company, Strictly Events, into voluntary liquidation in November 2010, leaving no assets and 44 creditors more than $84,000 out of pocket.

He began Edifice Building a year later, and gained official accreditation under the Fletcher EQR repair scheme.

Other edifice subcontractors said Strickland had a history of failing to make payments.

Paper Pro owner Tony Greenwood said he recovered the $14,000 owed to him when he hired a lawyer to chase up Strickland this year.

"We told him to pay up in a week or he'd be in court facing bankruptcy."

Another contractor said he faced so many delays in payment that he walked out halfway through the project. At one point he was owed $40,000.

Fletcher spokesman Barry Akers said Edifice had been accredited under the home repair scheme.

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He said Edifice had recently advised Fletcher that they would complete their current workload by August, and would not be taking on any new work under the scheme.

- The Press

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