THE owners of a Harcourt business which collapsed owing $1 million to employees and creditors have started a new company.
Archies Electrical Contracting was placed into liquidation on December 13, owing more than $1 million.
The business was run by Richard and Daniela Arceri.
Mr Arceri started Castlemaine Split System Installations on December 11 and continues to trade despite the outstanding debt from the former company Archies Electrical Contracting.
Mr Arceri denied he was involved in the new business, which is registered to an address on Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine.
But an advertisement on the door of the property lists the company name and his name and mobile number.
Documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission also show connections between both companies.
He told the Bendigo Advertiser he did not want to talk about the issue despite at least 30 companies being owed up to $144,000 each, which the liquidator says will probably never be returned.
“It’s your reputation on the line and you’re putting misleading information out to be published,” he said.
“Your reputation, your name goes onto the story.”
When repeatedly asked to clarify figures listed with ASIC, Mr Arceri said he was “not telling you anything”.
He said he was himself owed “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from various businesses and would seek advice from lawyers before providing a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser.
One person owed a substantial amount of money said he wasn't happy.
“All the contractors I deal with in the trade game are not very happy at all,” they said.
“There are a couple who got affected pretty hard.
“He’s very hard to deal with.
“It p*** you off that people can do it.”
The person said a recent creditors meeting had been “heated”.
Documents show six Archies employees are owed $68,000 and unsecured creditors are owed $724,000.
Liquidator Nathan Deppeler said in December staff were covered by a federal scheme to protect entitlements but said there was little chance of other owed parties receiving money.
Mr Arceri said he had Archies Electrical for almost 20 years and said “things happen in life”.