FOR a Warwick tradie, the chance of losing $98,000 after a lifetime of work was enough to make him consider taking his own life.
But after a year of begging and harassing St George Springs’ developer MKM Group, he has received all but around $3000 of the money owed to him.
The Daily News first became aware of a string of local contractors out of pocket for work they did on the Yangan Rd site over a year ago.
It was then we started investigating Gold Coast entrepreneur Michael Kljaic, who owns MKM Group, MKM Constructions and other subsidiary companies.
In 2008-9 the MKM Group was involved in a lengthy legal battle after refusing to pay a glazier company for work it did on Mr Kljaic’s luxury Gold Coast home in 2006.
Another of his companies Nigel Readi Constructions has similarly been in a bitter dispute with a plumbing company for a job at Redbank Plains.
Nigel Readi Constructions was put in the hands of liquidators in July and Mr Kljaic’s builder’s licence was suspended, though he appealed that decision in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
It was due for a hearing in September, but Kljaic surrendered his licence on Monday.
This month MKM Constructions was put in the hands of liquidators and last month MKM Group was put into receivership.
Originally the local tradesman, who did $200,000 of work on St George Springs, was happy to be identified in this story but he later asked the Daily News for his name to be kept out after allegedly being contacted by someone from Kljaic’s company regarding the $3000 he is still owed.
During the course of the past 12 months, the tradesman said he was “constantly on” the developer’s case to get his money and contacted the company two or three times a week.
“I was thinking I might have to go out and hang myself,” he said.
Mr Kljaic said he was aware of the tradesman and said he “owed him” for his patience.
But for the tradesman, it’s more important others don’t get burned.
“No one should have to go through that,” he said.
Mr Kljaic initially told the Daily News yesterday he was sorting some “issues” with the bank and once it was settled, in two weeks time, work would start on another 59 lots.
He said he didn’t believe the retail arm or the childcare centre was going to happen and blamed his bank for his failure to pay contractors promptly. He then said he had to sell the land in Warwick but “had an agreement” his company would still do the work there, despite his builder licence issues.
“I’ve suffered more than anyone,” Mr Kljaic said.
He then said he would no longer be the director of any of his companies and while the development at St George Springs was “definitely going ahead,” he would have nothing to do with it.
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