Staff of the Royal Mail Hotel claim they are owed superannuation and tax has not been taken from their pay, as the historic Sebastopol public house shut its doors on Monday night.
The hotel, run by Royal Mail Hotel (Ballarat) Pty Ltd was court-appointed a liquidator in April this year, with creditors owed $388,112, according to an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) document obtained by The Courier.
The Australian Tax Office is owed $256,000, Royal Mail Nominees $130,000 and Origin Energy $2112, according to the ASIC ‘report as to affairs’ document submitted by John Burns, who is listed as director of the company.
All three are listed as unsecured creditors.
Beneath the listing are the letters ‘Supe’, which has then been scribbled out.
Staff were called to a meeting at 9pm on Monday evening to be told they no longer had employment, said Lisa Radnell, who was the bistro manager at the pub.
Ms Radnell said 11 employees and two managers are now without work, including an 18-year old apprentice chef whose parents said was ‘devastated’ at losing his first job.
A meeting was called in the presence of potential buyers of the business to tell employees the sale could not go ahead because of the outstanding debt, said Ms Radnell.
Ms Radnell said she feared for her superannuation, which she believes may not have been paid. She also believes tax was not taken from her income for working at the Royal Mail, leaving her susceptible to an ATO investigation.
She said a recent decision to give staff a month’s paid leave was described as recompense for accidental underpayment.
Liquidators PPB Advisory provided the following statement to The Courier:
The Company known as Royal Mail Hotel (Ballarat) Pty Ltd previously operated at the premises under a vendor finance agreement with the landlord up until 2015.
The Company ceased trading in or around October 2015 when the landlord took possession of the premises and the Company’s assets situated at the premises as a result of a default under the vendor finance agreement.
We understand the landlord was owed approximately $130,000 at the time.
The Courier has made repeated attempts to contact the licensees of the Royal Mail Hotel for comment.
The current Royal Mail Hotel was constructed in 1924 and is known as the ‘last pub in Sebastopol’ by virtue of its location at the end of Albert Street leading out to Buninyong. It last sold in November 2015 for $1,050,000, and was described at the time as having a ‘new six-year lease commencing from October 2015’.