Ray Mackereth accused of being an old hand at living off his employees’ entitlements
Two affidavits filed in the Federal Circuit Court claim that both Q News and Klub Kruise have systemically underpaid superannuation to their staff for years, nearly all of whom earned minimum or award wages, while both companies’ sole director Ray Mackereth lived in a mansion at Paddington largely funded by his business interests.
The documents form part of a long running dispute between the former manager of his sex on premises venue that was exclusively for men that have sex with men. Things escalated dramatically in recent weeks in the Federal Circuit Court, with Larcombe filing a raft of witness statements suggesting Mr Mackereth may not be the community do-gooder that he likes to make out and also suggesting he may be a less than effective company director, even a non-compliant one.
In what is emerging as an apparent pattern, David ‘Deeje’ Hancock, the former sales manager then general manager of Q News and also the long-time partner of Mr Larcombe says in his statement Ray Mackereth’s former GM dishes up his dirty dealings, that it was back in 2006 when he dealt with his first staff complaint about unpaid superannuation and that in 2010, the situation had deteriorated so badly that staff insisted that the Australian Tax Office collect this debt.
According to Mr Hancock, Mr Mackereth had allowed Q News to rack up such a debt with employee’s compulsory superannuation, that some employees were still getting paid back well into 2013 despite leaving in 2011.
The delayed payments also prevented employees cashing in on the huge gains post-GFC that superannuation funds enjoyed as the market recovered. Hancock also claims that 60 per cent of the rent paid on the Paddington residence was once being covered by Q News, despite it only occupying a tiny part of Mr Mackereth’s compound, implicating him in potential personal income tax evasion for fringe benefits should this be proven.
Hancock also confesses to “turning a blind eye” with Mr Mackereth’s alleged misleading conduct to advertisers about circulation and distribution points, grossly inflating printing runs to secure advertisers, even at unjustified higher rates.
In his statement, Hancock said that he near the end of his employment changed his silence and he had many “heated” exchanges with Mr Mackereth over the alleged fraud against Q News advertisers and readers. Hancock also confesses his behaviour has brought him great shame that he didn’t do more to stop it.
Also in 2010, documents seen by raymackereth.com show that the ATO was undertaking an investigation in Klub Kruise for unpaid superannuation for those staff, which the ATO also found that it was also behind, meaning both Mr Mackereth’s companies were spending their staff’s retirement savings.
Extraordinarily, within months of getting back to being compliant and no longer behind in compulsory super, Klub Kruise stopped paying it again, forcing employees to again complain and the ATO launching a second investigation. At the time of liquidation, 11 employees were duped out of their retirement funds.
Raymackereth.com has also sighted official company records of Klub Kruise that show they were behind on superannuation, GST and PAYG tax from 2009 by as much as $30,000. At one stage, Klub Kruise had three motor vehicles under finance using the company as security by have a registered charge with ASIC. This suggests Mr Mackereth at one point had two vehicles for his personal use being a Jaguar and a late model Jeep, in addition to the fully financed company commercial ute, despite neither of them being needed for company purposes, according to Mr Larcombe and ASIC records.
Mr Larcombe and Mr Hancock now manage a similar business, being a sex on premises venue for men that have sex with men, in the same location where Klub Kruise was known as Number 29 Cruise Club.
Coming up next: Did the Landlord really not renew the lease for Klub Kruise without reason as Mr Mackereth claims? READ: