Zion-linked company in disputed debt action

By Mike Barrington, Sandra Conchie

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A disputed debt is behind an application to liquidate a company linked with the Kingdom of Zion lion park in Kamo.

Tauranga business consultant Sam Bailey late last month told the High Court at Tauranga that in July last year he began working as a "troubleshooter" business manager for Earth Crest, which holds the operator's licence for the lion park, and was still owed $15,615 for three-and-half weeks' work.

Mr Bailey applied to liquidate Earth Crest on December 10 last year.

The application was set down for a hearing in the High Court at Tauranga on March 15.

It was adjourned for technical reasons until April 24, when Tauranga lawyer Justin Arnold, appearing for Earth Crest, told Associate Judge Jeremy Doogue the application had been the subject of a disputes tribunal hearing and was opposed on several grounds.

He said Earth Crest was now paying its bills so it was "technically"still solvent and the matter would be best dealt with in the Employment Court.

Mr Bailey urged the judge to deal with his application rather than put it off again given the defendant had 134 working days to file their defence notice and gave it to him only the day before the hearing.

Associate Judge Doogue said clearly there needed to be a defended hearing, which he set down for May 21.

Tauranga accountant Ian Stevenson - who accompanied Mr Bailey to court - directs Zion Wildlife Kingdom along with Tracey McVerry, also of Tauranga.

Before the hearing, Mr Stevenson told the Northern Advocate that Zion Wildlife Kingdom owned the Kingdom of Zion lion park and the chattels in it and had no interest or financial connection with either Earth Crest or Kingdom of Zion.

A Companies Office search showed that Lion Man Craig Busch, then with a Matamata address, ceased a four-year appointment as a director of Earth Crest on February 5 last year.

The Companies Office also disclosed Dean George Abel, of Whangarei, was appointed an Earth Crest director in December last year and ceased being a director on February 8 this year, when Suzanne Eisenhut became that firm's sole director and shareholder.

Kingdom of Zion was incorporated in March last year with Suzanne Eisenhut sole director. This company's registered office, originally set down as the Stevenson Accounting address in Tauranga, was updated in February this year to 124 Gray Rd, Kamo, where the lion park is sited.

Lion park spokesperson Jill Albrow told the Advocate the disputed debt presented no threat to the park's operation.

- Northern Advocate

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