1493179937663 - Judge refuses developer Dave Henderson permission to operate businesses

Judge refuses developer Dave Henderson permission to operate businesses

Controversial Christchurch businessman Dave Henderson has been refused permission to help operate 12 businesses.

Henderson, who was lately associated with the re-development of Sol Square in central Christchurch, was discharged from his second bankruptcy on January 27 after a lengthy High Court examination last year.

Under the conditions of his discharge, Henderson is prohibited from entering into any personal guarantees and restricted from certain business activities without the permission of the court. The restrictions last for six years.

The businessman, who is appealing the terms of the discharge, sought the High Court’s permission to help run 12 businesses, mostly companies of which his wife was the sole director.

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In a written judgement, Associate Judge Rob Osborne rejected the applications saying Henderson has supplied insufficient material to show the public would be protected from his “unfitness” and shortcomings.

The applications, the judge said, were initially supported by a single affidavit that failed to identify the governance and management structures of the various entities. Neither did the affidavit “identify the particular arrangements which each entity would have in place for his work”.

Judge Osborne said Henderson’s failure to file additional evidence as the court requested meant the various permissions could not be granted.

In relation to one of the 12 entities Judge Osborne said:

“The restrictions imposed in the discharge judgement were restrictions imposed in part because of Mr Henderson’s failings at both governance and executive levels. There is no evidence that the entity for which Mr Henderson would be providing a level of management, support or control has a governance and executive structure that would reasonably ensure supervision of Mr Henderson’s conduct in his designated area by persons of demonstrated competence.”

Judge Osborne said he had similar concerns about the other applications. He was unsatisfied the public and community interests would be protected.

The way in which Henderson had approached the applications added an “extra level of concern”, the judge said.

“The extremely brief content of the present applications does not indicate that, even now, Mr Henderson truly recognises the issues of unfitness raised by his past conduct. The approach and content of his documents suggest he may be in denial.”

It appeared Henderson failed to read the extended parts of the discharge judgement, which dealt with his shortcomings.

In his affidavit, Henderson said he intended to charge for his “services, skills and assistances”, which were in strong demand. He needed the ability to provide prompt responses to “requests for me to conduct commercial activities”, he said.

While he was a bankrupt he was not required to seek approval for the sorts of activities he now had to seek court permission for, he said.

“I had approval from the (Official) Assignee to be involved directly and indirectly with the management of businesses so long as I did not make the final financial decisions.”

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