C & S Plumbing liquidation: Boss of collapsed company holidays in US

The boss of a failed plumbing firm that owes $12 million to creditors has copped criticism after appearing to splash his cash on an overseas holiday.

In August, news.com.au revealed that Victorian-based C & S Plumbing Pty Ltd had gone into liquidation with all 70 employees losing their jobs on the spot. More than 100 creditors are owed $12.2 million.

Documents the liquidator submitted to ASIC showed that that in the four months before C & S Plumbing’s demise, the sole director, Shane Arnold, paid himself $101,000.

He also sold the firm’s assets to another company a family member was involved with, while getting the existing plumbing business to complete work for this other company.

Although Mr Arnold has indicated to the liquidator that he is considering filing for bankruptcy, creditors are furious to discover that he has travelled to the other side of the world for a family vacation.

A family member shared a happy snap of the plumbing boss grinning with the iconic Hollywood sign, in Los Angeles over in the US, in the background.

It is particularly galling for staff who have been left without jobs and are owed $2 million while they watch their former boss living large.

The photo, uploaded to Instagram, was posted to coincide with the Magpies AFL grand final.

The Arnold family can be seen sporting black and white colours to support their team.

The account has since been turned onto private.

One person told news.com.au that it was “absolutely outrageous” to see the Instagram story in the wake of C & S Plumbing’s messy demise.

Ryan*, who worked for C & S Plumbing for a number of years, said he is owed about $10,000 in unpaid superannuation by the firm, and also his final week of wages, money he doesn’t expect to get back.

“The frustrating part for me, and 99 per cent of the employees, is that we lost our jobs on the spot, we had to search for new work, and we’re now seeing our old boss living his life, whether it’s on social media, off (holidaying),” Ryan told news.com.au.

“Those are things we can’t do, we might have been unemployed for a month or two months.”

News.com.au contacted Mr Arnold for comment. He did not multiple deadlines to provide a comment which were extended.

C & S Plumbing first went into administration in February before going to liquidation in March, after creditors took the company to court over unpaid debts. The plumber was unable to pay all of them.

Simon Nelson of insolvency firm BPS Recovery and Reconstruction is the appointed liquidator of the Victorian business.

But from late November until the liquidator’s appointment four months later, Mr Arnold “began to receive significantly increased wages”, according to Mr Nelson’s report, submitted to the corporate regulator.

“This was by way of cashing out outstanding annual leave and RDO balance.

“A review of the pay slips of Mr Arnold … indicate (s) that Mr Arnold received the gross amount of approximately $101,000” in that period of time, the report added.

“These payments would appear to be voidable transactions that are recoverable in the liquidation.”

The report also noted that C & S employees worked 261 hours at a subdivision in a block of land for a company called Arnold Land Development. A family member of Mr Arnold is the director of this company, and they are not accused of any wrongdoing.

According to the liquidator, $456,665 worth of work was carried out at the subdivision, comprised of both hours worked and materials used, though this was never paid to C & S Plumbing.

The liquidator’s office issued a demand for the money to be paid back, but as at the date of the report, lodged in May, had not received a response.

Plant and equipment was also sold to Arnold Land Development, which the liquidator said constituted a “voidable transaction” – which means it was sold for less than it should have been due to the circumstances and can therefore be seized by the liquidator.

Mr Arnold has indicated he plans to declare bankruptcy, according to the report lodged with the corporate regulator. “He has advised that he will be required to become bankrupt”, the report read.

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