Company leaves a trail of debts
An Auckland company that has completed roading contracts in Southland in recent years has left a trail of debt totalling tens of thousands of dollars.
Two Southland motels and a supply company spoken to by The Southland Times said Blacktop Construction had used their services while doing roading work in the region in recent years.
Blacktop had paid its bills initially but had got behind in recent months and owed them thousands, they said.
Blacktop managing director Simon Everett, in an emailed response to questions yesterday, said the company was having some issues with paying some creditors but it would be meeting all its commitments.
Rhian Cotter, owner of the Coachman's Inn motel in Invercargill, said Blacktop Construction owed her more than $31,000 after the company's roading crew stayed in her units between November and May.
"They [Blacktop] are leaving a trail of bad debts in their wake and for some business people, such as myself, it's causing extreme anxiety and havoc," she said.
She had now passed her debt onto a debt collector, Ms Cotter said.
"Thirty thousand dollars is a big amount for me to be chasing and chasing and chasing.
"It hurts, I have still got rates and electricity and staff to pay."
She would "have an issue" with the Southland District Council if it gave Blacktop Construction any more work in the region while it owed Southland businesses money, she said.
Another Southland motel owner said they were still owed $9000 by Blacktop after its roading crew stayed in their units in February and March this year.
"They have been with us three years and this is the only year we have had problems.
"They still owe us $9000."
The Southland Times understands Blacktop also owes a Southland supply company thousands of dollars.
A spokesman for the Southland supply company said it was annoying Blacktop had won roading contracts in Southland at the expense of Southland roading companies, and had then not paid its bills to Southland suppliers.
Southland District Council chief executive Dave Adamson said Blacktop Construction had completed two road resealing contracts totalling nearly $10 million for the council in the 2010/11 and 2011/12 years.
The district council had not employed Blacktop for the past 19 months, but Mr Adamson said he understood the company had done a good job and he had no record of any complaints against the company.
When asked if the district council would think twice before considering Blacktop for future contracts in the district, he indicated it would, saying the council took into account business acumen and reputation when awarding contracts.
NZ Transport Agency Otago-Southland highways manager Ian Duncan said in a statement that Blacktop won two reseal contracts for the Southland highway network for 2012-13 worth about $2.9m and carried out the work to the standard expected.
In his emailed response to questions yesterday, Mr Everett said the company was having some issues with paying some creditors.
He apologised and said the company was aware how much it impacted on the lives of people.
A family company of 40 years, Blacktop was doing everything possible to protect its integrity and it thanked Southlanders for welcoming them into their community, he said.
He believed Blacktop had made a contribution by bringing competition and creating opportunities for suppliers outside of the incumbent relationships.
Mr Everett acknowledged the company's communication with some suppliers had been poor but said recent changes to management systems and personnel had been made to ensure the weaknesses were remedied.
"You can rest assured Blacktop will be meeting all commitments and costs with businesses that Blacktop has been engaged with," he said.
The Companies website lists the directors of Blacktop Construction Limited as Petah Jacqueline Dransfield, Benjamin John Everett, Jacqueline Francis Everett and Simon Julian Everett, all of Auckland.
- © Fairfax NZ News