The phoenixing of companies for private profit is inspired by the fabulous phoenix bird. According to legend, when this bird's life draws to a close she builds a funeral pyre, commits to the flames and dies on the fiery altar. Out of self-immolation a new phoenix emerges like an eagle with feathers of red and gold.
In modern commerce the phoenix bird is iconic, inspiring businesses burned by debts to rise from the ashes of destruction and continue trading under a different name, leaving their creditors behind.
In a 2018 case before Qld Federal Court - Staatz v Berry - two defendants, aggrieved creditors whose evidence was suppressed, alleged that phoenixing of the company Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd was facilitated by Vincents' liquidator Steven Staatz to divest liability to creditors.
Fourteen creditors requesting joinder as proposed cross-claimants in the Federal Court case, were not allowed to proceed by Judge Derrington. The creditors' cross-claim was suppressed when they warned of phoenixing in process, with land title expected to fly from the liquidated company to a related company continuing the same business of selling dwelling sites on rural properties without development consent.
The company in liquidation owns property that is advertised as part of a proposed land-share development. With marketing by Richard Moate as "Nightcap Realty", the venture is run by sovereignty activists who have "gifted" the land to a "sacred" aboriginal tribe. Aborigines have occupied the property since 2017 and now claim tribal ownership.
In September 2020, a notice from receiver Steven Staatz informed creditors and interested persons who are waiting with hands outstretched to receive a crumb from sale of the property, that the purchaser was unable to complete the sale. An additional deposit of $100,000 was paid and the purchaser is allowed until October 19 to seal the deal.