Two former bookkeepers have alleged that gay business identity Ray Mackereth refused to pay their invoices for work performed at Q News and Klub Kruise, according to sworn statements filed in the Federal Circuit Court.
The gay publisher and former gay-sex club boss is being pursued for unpaid entitlements and superannuation of nearly $40,000. The bookkeepers say they are owed collectively just under $5,000 for work performed but never paid with one adding that once she was of no use, Mr Mackereth just ignored her.
Around the same time she was begging to be paid because she was struggling to make ends meet, Mr Mackereth was boasting online about giving money to a gay rugby side.
The bookkeeper also said Mr Mackereth’s was a workplace “bully” and and that his claims of being a stand up bloke in the community are “outrageous”, adding:
“I think it is outrageous that (Mr Mackereth) was claiming being a community supporter when he has owed his staff, suppliers and the ATO so much for so long. Rather the unpaid suppliers, employees and ATO should receive recognition as he has deprived us to laud himself in the community.
In an ever-deepening crisis for the self-styled champion of charitable causes, the bookkeeper that was with him as Klub Kruise collapsed also claims that the sex club was carrying costs for Q News, that Mr Mackereth owns 100 per cent of. Yet Klub Kruise closed owing nearly $200,000 to creditors.
These costs are said to include administration, motor vehicle expenses and Mr Mackereth’s salary, burdening the now failed company with around $100,000 per annum of unnecessary expenses according to the bookkeeper-turned-whistleblower, that if proven could leave him exposed to criminal proceedings or being struck off as a director by ASIC.
Another affidavit claims that Mr Mackereth, while admitting workplace bullying allegations, misled WorkCover Queensland by saying he was “let down” by the bookkeeper for not paying the superannuation, despite him never giving his accounts people access to the bank accounts to perform transactions. Both bookkeepers claim payments for superannuation were usually handled directly by Mr Mackereth and never by them.
As Mr Mackereth filed an amended defence of Mr Larcombe’s claim one week late, (Brenton Larcombe Response to amended claim 21-08-2014) where he continues to deny being “involved” in serious contraventions of the Fair Work Act. However these denials are become increasingly inconsistent, and it now appears he now may be pinning his hopes on a period in late 2011 to March 2012, where he suggests he was out of action for poor health for nearly four months. Even that looks in trouble as both Mr Larcombe and his bookkeeper at the time suggest this claim is nonsense, with both saying he was off work for less than two weeks and otherwise accessible.
Brenton Larcombe is also alleging that after he took just two weeks off work in late May 2012 after nearly ten years of loyal service to Mr Mackereth, he was sacked, despite his illness being work-related. Mr Mackereth also seized the company motor vehicle from Mr Larcombe, which has since been sold.
Despite Mr Mackereth’s amended defence in the Federal Circuit Court that he did not sack Mr Larcombe for his health, evidence tendered suggests otherwise, where it is alleged on 6 July 2012 he wrote the following to WorkCover Queensland:
The business has been financially stressed. Three weeks ago I terminated Brenton’s employment based on legal advice. I accept that this advice was incorrect and retracted this two days later. However I believe that this has further harmed the relationship and as this was done when he was on sick leave for a work related condition.
So while I dispute some of the reasons articulated by Brenton Larcombe in his claim, I accept that I have been at times unreasonable as a manager and for this I have regret.
Mr Mackereth admits Mr Larcombe is owed a substantial amount of money, including long service leave, but is still refusing to pay. He also painted himself as caring to WorkCover Queensland in 2012 where he wrote “I stressed that I would do everything possible to try and ensure that he received his wages but with the added stress of having to pay an extra person to replace him, in all seriousness it looked like the business could fold.”
Mr Mackereth’s claims to WorkCover stand in stark contrast to what he has provided to the Federal Circuit Court, where in that version of events he has sheeted home total blame of his company’s failure on the landlord of Number 29 McLachlan Street for not renewing the lease, despite his business not have the liquidity to meet the business debts when due, according to documents provided by the liquidator.
Mr Larcombe confirmed to RayMackereth.com that he had notified the liquidators of Klub Kruise and ASIC of these explosive allegations in recent days.
The case is next listed for a directions hearing on 24 September in Brisbane. Court records show that Mr Larcombe has filed nearly 1000 pages of sworn evidence from seven different witnesses, while Mr Mackereth is yet to provide anything under oath.
Mr Larcombe is seeking to have part of his case awarded without a full trial and also to freeze some of Mr Mackereth’s assets until the matter is fully dealt with by the court.