Craig Gore goes bust UPDATE After emerging from an extended personal bankruptcy 10 years ago this September, Craig Gore built a business empire on the Gold Coast.
His diversified group, which today claims to have more than $1billion worth of projects in progress, includes a website modestly claiming Gore himself is "recognized as one of Australia's leading entrepreneurs".
His interests are spread across property development, financial services, telemarketing, real estate management, wine exports, agribusiness, entertainment, aviation, building materials and civil engineering.
However Mr. Gore now faces the very real threat that much of his work could be blown away once again.
He has still got all the outward trappings of success: the Bentley, the helicopter, two jets, the 21m cruiser and a flash home on Ephraim Island.
Yet even with this conspicuous consumption, the 42-year-old multi-millionaire must be worrying that his fall-and-rise life story has hit another juncture, this time heading south in a process relentlessly accelerated by a souring economy.
He must be wondering if he will go the way of his father, who still looms large 15 years after dying in exile.
Mike Gore developed Australia's first gated community, Sanctuary Cove, in the late 1980s.
However just a few years later, he fled to Canada with debts of $45million and died broke there in 1994.
The memories of what befell his father are likely to be vivid in the mind of Mr. Gore after receivers and managers were appointed to his Atkinson Gore Group and two related entities this month when talks broke down over a default on a $145million debt.
Other creditors are also chasing him and his companies over large sums allegedly owed, including the Australian Taxation Office, which sued him this month in Brisbane Supreme Court for $1.11million in unpaid tax.
Mr. Gore said he expected to meet the ATO tomorrow to resolve the matter.
"World economic conditions are very difficult and I think across the board everybody is trying to do what they can to get cash," Mr. Gore said last week.
"I think we're just a part of that.
"I don't think it's unusual."
Still, a current lawsuit relates to alleged debts dating back to years when the economy was booming.
American air charter firm Executive Jet Management sued the Atkinson Gore Group last month to recover $US44,606 ($A69,870) and another $US10,292 in interest stemming from services provided over three days in May 2005.
The case is being defended.
Despite these financial challenges, Mr. Gore said he was not considering the appointment of administrators to any of his 120 companies - but qualified that comment by saying "at this stage".
He maintains that the group is profitable and generating turnover of hundreds of millions of dollars, although he declined to provide specific figures.
Legal disputes have only arisen over an "insignificant" number of issues relative to turnover, he said.
"We hope to resolve all those matters," Mr. Gore said.
"I mean nobody likes to go to court."
Struggling financier City Pacific avoided court and brought in KordaMentha as receivers after battling to recover the $145million since before Christmas.
That money was tied up in three property projects, including a 900ha site at Canungra on the Gold Coast.
That hinterland property at Saddleback Mountain, part of which had at one time been owned by Mr. Gore's father, was set to include 1500 homes, a golf course and equestrian facilities.
Noting that the three projects were producing no income, Mr. Gore maintained that he had nevertheless offered to buy out the full debt owed to City Pacific's frozen $1billion First Mortgage Fund and said changes to a deed had been made just 48 hours earlier.
City Pacific disputes that account, insisting talks had collapsed earlier and there was no acceptable offer to settle the debt.
However Mr. Gore fired back.
He said he hoped to convene a meeting of fund investors to strip City Pacific of its role as responsible entity, a goal that dovetails with the aims of an irate investors' action group.
City Pacific managing director John Ellis said he was reasonably confident that all or most of the money could be recovered by selling the three properties, although such action might be delayed because of the depressed state of the real estate sector.
No matter how much Mr. Gore worries about the appointment of receivers, both his troubles and the economic downturn have created a cloud over his other projects, such as a planned $750million development at Hope Island.
Yet it seems unlikely that Mr. Gore will return to the days when he sold pots and pans for a telemarketing company or declared bankruptcy with $501,000 in debts and ended up sleeping in his car.
Records from the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia reveal that Mr. Gore was busy planning his comeback even if it contravened his bankruptcy, which started in 1992.
His trustee prolonged the bankruptcy after concluding that Mr. Gore engaged in misleading conduct and continued to manage a corporation despite his banned status. Courier Mail02/12/09 Receivers have been appointed to three major projects associated with Gold Coast developer Atkinson Gore. Loans of $145 million are owing on two completed projects - the Ilanah Aqua units at Hope Island and a unit development at Varsity Lakes, as well as a 900 hectare development at Canungra.
KordaMentha have been appointed as receivers and managers of Atkinson Gore Group Pty Ltd, Atkinson Gore Agricultural Pty Ltd and AGG Treetops Pty Ltd. Mark Korda said the three entities and their three developments were the only properties involved in the receivership.
Atkinson Gore Group was founded in 1996 by Craig Gore, whose father Mike Gore developed Sanctuary Cove, one of the most exclusive addresses on the Gold Coast. Mr. Gore was also heavily involved in V8 Supercars and the Gold Coast IndyCar and Champ Car races, but in 2008 he withdrew his WPS Racing team from the V8 Supercar series and also pulled his Team Australia out of the IndyCar series. Queensland - BrisbaneTimes