ASIC has disqualified former building and construction industry director James O’Donahue, of Doncaster East, Victoria, from managing corporations for two years due to his involvement in numerous failed companies.
Mr O’Donahue was a director of 23 companies within the Steller Group all of which entered into liquidation between 2019 and 2020, including ACN 169 565 673 Pty Ltd, Stellar Cranes Pty Ltd and Stellar Safety Pty Ltd. The Steller Group operated in the building and construction industry.
ASIC found that Mr O’Donahue:
- accepted appointments to act as a director of companies within the Stellar Group in situations where companies were in financial difficulty;
- failed to ensure that Steller Safety complied with its statutory obligations to lodge business activity statements and income tax returns with Australian Taxation Office (ATO); and
- failed to perform adequately his duties as a director of companies within the Stellar Group.
The total amount owed to secured and unsecured creditors across all 23 companies is estimated to be more than $31 million of which approximately $1 million is owed to the ATO.
In making its decision to disqualify Mr O’Donahue, ASIC relied on supplementary reports lodged by the liquidator for A.C.N. 169 565 673, Steller Safety and Steller Cranes, Con Kokkinos of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants. ASIC assisted the liquidator in preparing the reports by providing funding from the Assetless Administration Fund.
Mr O’Donahue is disqualified from managing corporations until 29 March 2024.
Mr O’Donahue has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
A complete list of the companies for which Mr O’Donahue was a director are:
- A.C.N. 169 565 673 Pty Ltd (ACN 169 565 673)
- Steller Cranes Pty Ltd (ACN 620 749 653)
- Steller Safety Pty Ltd (ACN 619 441 913)
- AM PM Highett Pty Limited (ACN 614 730 755)
- Concepts Pitard Pty Ltd (ACN 623 497 192)
- Construction Supply Group Pty Ltd (ACN 627 542 821)
- Fortstone Operations Pty Ltd (ACN 622 645 747)
- Fortstone AMS Pty Ltd (ACN 627 545 582)
- Intergrated Services Hire Pty Ltd (ACN 622 018 419)
- Rapid Bins Pty Ltd (ACN 604 324 067)
- Rellets Trade Hardware Pty Ltd (ACN 622 296 520)
- Steller Building Systems Pty Ltd (ACN 625 944 452)
- Steller Commercial Pty Ltd (ACN 622 623 269)
- Steller Elite Project Management Pty Ltd (ACN 620 529 606)
- Steller Hire Pty Ltd (ACN 621 100 847)
- Steller Lining Pty Ltd (ACN 620 633 641)
- Steller Maintenance Pty Ltd (ACN 617 458 509)
- Steller Paint Pty Ltd (ACN 619 401 268)
- Steller Plus Pty Ltd (ACN 623 440 273)
- Steller Steel Pty Ltd (ACN 626 331 413)
- Steller Traffic Pty Ltd (ACN 620 753 531)
- The Grocer Co Pty Ltd (ACN 622 573 835)
- The Groundsmen Cheltenham Pty Ltd (ACN 617 814 552)
Section 206F of the Corporations Act allows ASIC to disqualify a person from managing corporations for a maximum period of five years if, within a seven-year period, the person was an officer of two or more companies that were wound up and a liquidator provides a reports to ASIC about each company’s inability to pay its debts.
ASIC maintains a banned and disqualified persons register that provides information about people who have been disqualified from:
- involvement in the management of a corporation;
- auditing self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs); or
- practising in the financial services or credit industry.