Four companies related to Bella Vista Homes owe almost $270,000 to creditors and, to pay off the debt, liquidators say they are targeting more than a hundred thousand dollars' worth of company assets.
Project Management Limited, Live Wire Limited, Lakes Engineering Limited and Ground Effects Limited were all put into liquidation in November by the largest creditor, the Inland Revenue Department, which is claiming more than $170,000 in unpaid GST, KiwiSaver and PAYE.
The first liquidators' reports show the four companies owe a combined total of $269,993 – with other claims still to be verified.
The list of unsecured creditors includes businesses from Tauranga and around New Zealand.
The liquidators' reports also show the four companies have recorded $187,350 of assets, which include vehicles, equipment, furniture, fittings, related party loans, related party debtors and prepayments.
"That's one of the things we are currently focusing on ...," Rhys Cain, a Christchurch-based insolvency practitioner with the company EY, told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
Cain and his colleague Rees Logan are currently liquidating the four companies, as well as the related entity Bella Vista Homes.
Cain said the assets were recorded in the four companies' Xero accounts at the date of liquidation, and if they were now gone, he and Logan would have to try find out where they went and what the companies were paid for them.
He said he and Logan would also be working their way through some financial transactions that were made between the companies, and Bella Vista.
The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend first revealed in March last year that Bella Vista Homes had made a series of transactions of "a significant value" to other companies connected to Cancian in the months before it went into liquidation.
Those transactions had the effect of reducing the amounts owed by the related companies at a time Bella Vista was insolvent, the liquidators said in a previous report.
Bella Vista Homes went into voluntary liquidation on November 30, 2017, leaving behind unfinished houses and millions of dollars in outstanding debts.
The four related companies were put into liquidation about a year later and the liquidators have now said that Bella Vista's collapse was likely the cause of those insolvencies, along with the money owed to Inland Revenue.
However, Cain and Logan have not yet managed to confirm that with the companies' director, former Bella Vista boss Danny Cancian.
Cancian was the sole director and shareholder of all four related companies, according to the liquidators' reports and the New Zealand Companies Office website.
Cancian said in March last year that he had set up other companies so they could work for Bella Vista Homes, "so I could control the process of what happened on the jobs rather than outside contractors".
The four related companies are said to have provided administrative, electrical, engineering and earth moving services.
The latest liquidators' report for Bella Vista Homes has the company owing more than $4.4 million. Inland Revenue is claiming $679,877 of that.
When Cain and Logan picked up the Bella Vista Homes liquidation from the previous liquidators, they started with an opening cash balance of just $28.03.
They have managed to increase that slightly to $2343.90 over the past six months – thanks mainly to GST refunds and bond refunds.
However, they are still looking to recover more than $2 million from Bella Vista's two former directors, Cancian and Daniel De Martin, as well as the company's former law firm, Tauranga-based Simply Law.
The liquidators wrote to all three parties last year stating their position.
It is understood the liquidators also alleged a breach of the Companies Act under section 76 – "financial assistance by a company in the purchase of its own shares" – and that if the claim is not settled, the next step will be court action.
The section 76 allegation is in relation to the buyout of former director and shareholder De Martin, which took place one year and three months before Bella Vista Homes went into liquidation.
Cain said that in response to the liquidators' letters last year, lawyers representing Cancian, De Martin and Simply Law had asked for more documents and information.
More meaningful discussions were due take place in the coming weeks, he said.
Cain said the response from Simply Law – which has changed ownership since its involvement with Bella Vista – is being driven by its insurance company.
When the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend contacted Cancian for comment, a written statement was supplied by a representative.
It said Cancian was co-operating fully with the liquidators "as has been the case to date".
"The liquidator reports appear to be compliance-template based at this time," the statement said.
"Mr Cancian hopes that the liquidators will consider various avenues to realise funds, it is their task. It is hoped that they will choose the correct path and be successful.
"Due to a number of investigations/legal matters in progress it is at this time therefore otherwise inappropriate to comment further."
The Bay of Plenty Times Weekend also tried to contact De Martin and Simply Law for comment.
Meanwhile, Inland Revenue said in November that it could not comment on individual taxpayer's matters.