Hospitality companies placed in liquidation

Three hospitality companies which were operating bars and clubs in Dunedin have been placed in liquidation, owing Inland Revenue almost $230,000.

The liquidation of Metro Bar (Dunedin) Ltd, 2 Mooses Tavern Ltd and The Church Nightclub Ltd follows months of claims, counterclaims and allegations by creditors and disgruntled employees of being left out of pocket.

The only claims against the companies yesterday were filed by Inland Revenue.

In the High Court of Dunedin yesterday, Associate Judge Robert Osborne heard, via an audio visual link, Inland Revenue's applications to have the companies placed in liquidation.

The judge said all the companies were ''under the same management'', and the applications were all heard at the same time.

The sole director of each company is Ben Hanssen, a former dual-bankrupt. No company representative was present and no legal counsel made submissions on their behalf.

The unpaid debts were Metro Bar (Dunedin) Ltd owing Inland Revenue $141,399, 2 Mooses Tavern Ltd owing $49,140 and The Church Nightclub Ltd owing $36,853 - a total of $227,392.

Associate Judge Osborne noted the Otago Daily Times last year had applied for access to the files of the three companies and confirmed yesterday they could released.

Legal counsel for Inland Revenue David Tasker told the judge articles on the companies' management had appeared in the ODT before Christmas.

Bar co-owner Mr Hanssen, along with another business partner, had interests in Dunedin bars Metro, Monkey Bar, Diamond Lounge/Rumours and the Clarendon Hotel.

In the wake of the closure of Monkey Bar and Diamond Lounge/Rumours in November, then Metro Bar in December, Mr Hanssen denied allegations he left staff out of pocket or used gang members to intimidate rivals.

Companies Office records showed yesterday Mr Hanssen remains a director, and or shareholder of various other companies, including Provincial Hotels Ltd, Globe Hotels Ltd, Greymouth Properties Ltd and Westland Adventures Ltd. He is involved in six separate companies now in liquidation, and has in the past been a director, and or shareholder, in 13 companies which have ceased trading.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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