Two Taranaki couples were left with tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket after construction companies tied to building their new homes went bankrupt midway through the projects.
Martin Hallen Schmitz and her husband Christian Schmitz Hallen had to spend an additional $40,000 to complete their construction at Warea, while Marine and Yannic Derore had to pay $50,000.
They say they don’t want an apology from Laurence Greig, who was the sole shareholder of the two bankrupt companies that left about $500,000 out of pocket to unsecured creditors.
However, they want to warn others to beware of the drama they have endured.
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Their couples’ financial struggles and personal heartbreak all began when Wide Span Sheds Construction Ltd and Ironclad Homes Holdings Ltd went bankrupt late last year.
Wide Span Sheds Construction Ltd (WSSC) went into liquidation in September after Greig took a special resolution as sole shareholder.
The liquidators’ first report explained how Greig said the business had been “adversely affected by the Covid-19 outbreak” which created “unsustainable costs and delays”.
The report named the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) as the sole preferred creditor, owed $40,750 in GST and PAYE.
There are 54 unsecured creditors, including Yannic Derore and other Taranaki-based businesses, with $415,261 in unpaid bills and loans.
Another company linked to Greig, Ironclad Homes Holdings Limited (formerly Ironclad Homes Limited, Ironclad Homes Holdings Limited and Wide Span Sheds Taranaki Limited) went into liquidation last November.
The report said the company was insolvent “partly because it was unexpectedly liable for certain debts of WSSC and partly because of unsustainable construction costs and delays on residual contracts as a result of the Covid lockdowns” .
In the case of Ironclad Homes Holdings Limited, IRD is again the only preferred creditor, but at the time the first report was written it was unclear how much tax was outstanding. Approximately $93,800 was owed to unsecured creditors.
Prior to the appointment of liquidators, Wide Span Sheds Construction and Wide Span Sheds Taranaki were sold to a third party in September 2021.
It is unclear when the liquidators’ final reports for both proceedings will be completed.
Schmitz Hallen said he knew building a house wasn’t going to be easy, but it was his lifelong dream.
Priced off the lifestyle block market in New Plymouth, the couple found a section in Warea that fit their budget, and they signed a contract to build with Greig.
Delays hampered progress, and when Ironclad Homes Holdings Ltd went into liquidation, they were left behind and had to scramble to complete construction.
Ultimately, Schmitz Hallen negotiated with the builder Greig had hired, as well as other tradespeople, to help, with the couple able to move in before Christmas last year.
But they lost $40,000 on top of what they already paid.
Hallen Schmitz questioned Greig’s lack of business acumen, citing his poor communication as one of the factors that caused the mess he left in terms of unpaid invoices to contractors.
The experience had affected his mental and physical health, to the point that he could not work for some time.
In the case of Marine Derore, she and her husband Yannic had spent $50,000 more than expected to complete the work they had assigned to Greig.
He had been contracted to build the outer shell of their Oakura home, but delays delayed the work, which also did not initially match council-approved plans, Derore said.
She believed Greig had “undercut” the job in the first place, in order to secure the job and a stream of income.
The liquidation and stress created by the case had dulled the excitement of living in a brand new home for her.
“It’s really bittersweet, I don’t enjoy it as much as I would like.”
Greig, who lives in Northland, was approached for comment by Thingbut has not yet responded.
However, in a November 8, 2021 letter from Greig to Martin Hallen Schmitz and Christian Schmitz Hallen, he informed them of the liquidation, saying the company was insolvent due to the impact of the Covid-19 lockdowns and a significant increase in supply and labor. costs.
Greig said the decision was “not taken lightly”.
A statement from Wide Span Sheds Ltd CEO Ashley Gale acknowledged she was “saddened” by the closure of Greig’s franchise and unrelated construction business.
“We, together with the Cohesive Group, have endeavored to minimize the impact of all affected customers of Wide Span Sheds Taranaki Ltd who were willing to work with us, and have achieved the best outcome for those customers.”
The Wide Span Sheds Taranaki franchise was now awarded to the Cohesive Group and Gale said the company was “extremely confident” in its ability to grow business in the area.