The administrators of George Calombaris’ former restaurant empire have been forced into massive beverage sales to repay a small portion of the staggering $ 22 million to creditors.
The former MasterChef judge’s MAdE Establishments business rose spectacularly in February with just $ 389 in the bank and $ 1.2 million in wages and claims.
Documents this week showed that curator Korda Mentha auctioned nearly 8,000 bottles of alcohol from six of the company’s restaurants online to pay off some of the massive debt.
The auctioned product included one of the world’s most expensive French wines – a $ 20,000 Chateau Mouton Rothschild bottle from the year 2000 – plus a 10-year-old Dom Perignon champagne and up to $ 2 bottles of Peroni beer.
Administrators of George Calombaris’ restaurant empire MAdE Establishments auctioned as many as 8,000 bottles of alcohol from six bars to repay creditors. Above is the former MasterChef star with wife Natalie Tricario
The drink bottles came from the drink cabinets and bars of six of Calombaris’ former restaurants, including the Gazi restaurant in Melbourne (above)
“EVERYTHING MUST BE SOLD!” said an advertisement from the Hymans Auction House.
And most went out in late April and early May – with only a “small amount” of alcohol and other inventory left over, according to an administration report obtained on Monday.
A separate fire sale was held for restaurant equipment from four MAdE locations, ranging from whole bars to stoves and MasterChef-style ice cream mixers.
The two sales made the administrators about $ 333,000, according to the financial report.
The result was revealed in financial statements, just as an up-market Melbourne yogurt chain backed by Calombaris, Yo-Chi, was swept up in a new debt scandal.
Kitchen appliances (above) were also sold at a separate auction in May
A printer that was one of several dozen pieces of backroom equipment sold at auction in May
Yo-Chi’s three outlets were the only locations under the MAdE umbrella to trade as usual after the company was voluntarily run.
On Saturday, the Herald Sun revealed that liquidators have given up on recovering a $ 140,000 intragroup loan from the yogurt business.
“The liquidators concluded that it would not be commercial to continue the outstanding balance of the loan, as Yo-Chi has minimal cash and recoverable assets,” said Daily Mail Australia financial documents.
“In addition, Made Establishment’s claim is an unsecured creditor of Yo-Chi and we are aware of a secured creditor overriding Made Establishment’s claim in any formal insolvency proceedings.”
A chic yogurt chain in Melbourne, Yo-Chi was the only MAdE franchise to continue operating. Liquidators have given up on recovering a loan of $ 140,000 within an enterprise
Calombaris has not commented on the latest developments.
The once-thriving Melbourne empire he founded previously operated 18 locations, including the Press Club, Gazi and the Hellenic Republic.
But his fortune changed in July 2019 when it turned out that the underpaid staff had $ 7.8 million.
Wages were later paid back, but the development destroyed the company’s reputation, and the Calombaris company was hit with a fine of $ 200,000.
The Melbourne-based restaurant empire, founded by Calombaris, once operated 18 locations, including the Press Club, Gazi and the Hellenic Republic (photo)
According to financial records, MAdE owes $ 9 million to Commonwealth Bank alone, the majority of which is unlikely to be repaid. The liquidators have so far raised $ 820,000, which is expected to be forwarded to the bank’s main secured creditor.
Personnel still owe $ 1.32 million in wages and claims that will be recognized by the taxpayer.
When the empire came into administration on February 10, Calombaris said he was “destroyed.”
“It is with great sadness and regret that MAdE Establishment was placed in voluntary administration today,” he wrote on social media.
“For all my team, I really regret that it has come this far. Personally, the past few months have been the most challenging I’ve ever experienced.
“Right now, while personally devastated, I continue to thank my family, friends, the MAdE team, our loyal and regular customers.
“I am so sorry that all our joint efforts have not yielded enough. I am shocked that it has come this far. ‘
Calombaris (photo, center) was a judge and host on MasterChef from 2009 to 2019. The trio have been replaced this year by Melissa Leong, Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allan
KordaMentha announced its appointment as voluntary directors earlier this year.
Craig Shepard and Leanne Chesser of the restructuring of KordaMentha were today named volunteer administrators of 22 companies in the MAdE Establishment Group, the consulting and investment company said in a statement.
“The deal doesn’t include the [smaller offshoot, yoghurt store] Yo-Chi activities that continue to trade. All other locations immediately stopped trading.
“Until the date of their appointment, the employees have received all outstanding wages and pensions.”