As expressions of interest closed on Edens Hotel Australasia the Magnet can reveal explosive information about a company seeking to buy the hotel previously.
Director of Irisha Pty Simon Petzierides has been sued by the Australian Tax Office twice, and two companies of which he was a director have had to be liquidated.
But far from just historical matters, Mr Petzierides will face sentencing in the Victorian County Court early in 2019 after pleading guilty to three counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception of a Commonwealth entity. The matters are more than two years old and carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
The information raises serious questions about the due diligence process undertaken by Bega Valley Shire Council prior to negotiating the sale of the hotel and also about plans for luxury apartments on Albert Terrace, Eden where Irisha owns land.
At the November 29, 2017 council meeting it was agreed that council note the tender assessment information and the further investigation undertaken by the general manager, and delegate the general manager to enter into negotiation with the highest ranked tenderer Irisha Pty Ltd and Rubycove Pty Ltd.
The matter was further endorsed at the January 31 council meeting and at the May 23 meeting there was congratulation as the deal appeared to be done. Councillors spoke effusively about the deal and authorised the general manager and mayor to execute the Contract for Sale and Side Deed.
But on July 30 council announced the sale would not be proceeding after receiving formal advice from its legal representatives that the developers no longer wished to purchase the heritage listed hotel. Council said the sale price had been agreed along with commitments concerning the restoration and use of the site and the development of the laneway in accordance with the side deed.
Director and project manager for Irisha Mr Petzierides said there were differences of opinion about the side deed, what it contained and the sequence of the negotiations. He said the company wanted to sign the contract of sale first and then discuss the side deed.
Someone decided that the documents had to be exchanged at the same time. It wasnt necessary to do that.
The Magnet has asked Bega Valley Shire Council a number of questions in relation to its proposed sale of the Hotel Australasia to Irisha Pty and Rubycove Pty for which council gave the go ahead at a meeting earlier this year.
In particular we asked what due diligence did council do prior to plans to sign with Irisha?
Councils general manager Leanne Barnes said council had carried out due diligence.
Along with business due diligence an independent auditor was engaged, Ms Barnes said.
We asked whether, given the recent request for expressions of interest, council was talking or negotiating with Irisha either directly or indirectly and were told that council was not in negotiation with the company.
Ms Barnes confirmed that council would release all the documents relating to the sale of the hotel at the conclusion of the sale as previously resolved by council.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.