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Noteholders Order Trustee to End Mission Beach Receivership, Return Control to Mayfair 101

MELBOURNE: AUSTRALIA – Mayfair 101 noteholders have ordered the termination of a receivership initiated by a trustee on an unauthorised basis in 2020 to entities that previously held Mayfair’s $200 million plus real estate investment portfolio in Mission Beach.


82 per cent of noteholders by value have given formal instructions to the trustee to remove Mr Said Jahani and Philip Campbell-Wilson as receivers from fifteen trusts, confirming strong stakeholder support for the group and its Managing Director James Mawhinney.


According to the trust deed, the appointment of insolvency practitioners required written directions from a majority of noteholders by way of value, however the trustee appointed receivers in the absence of a single noteholder direction.

James Mawhinney in Washington DC speaking about the impact of misinformation on Mayfair 101's redevelopment of Dunk Island and Mission Beach. Mr Mawhinney has commenced a new initiative in the United States aimed at restoring public trust in information as a result of his personal experience with misinformation which significantly impacted his business, its investments and around 600 stakeholders.


The trusts previously held 130 properties including 100 deposits on properties in the Mission Beach region of Far North Queensland, and the 145ha freehold land on adjacent Dunk Island.


The property trusts were part of Mayfair’s plans to rebuild the Cassowary Coast region into a ‘tourism mecca’ after the investment group bought the real estate portfolio at the bottom of the market in 2019. The project was set to create 10,000 jobs for Far North Queensland and deliver $1.7 billion of GDP growth to the region[1] until it was de-railed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in 2020.


In April 2020 ASIC issued legal proceedings triggering defaults that de-railed the project along with Mayfair’s other private equity investments. The corporate regulator falsely labelled the group a “Ponzi scheme”, Dunk Island a “heap of sand” and falsely alleged Mr Mawhinney had transferred money to the British Virgin Islands. Despite the scandalous nature of the allegations, they were never supported by evidence or proven in court.


In August 2020, a week after ASIC applied to appoint a provisional liquidator to the company, trustee PAG Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd appointed receivers over the fifteen trusts which provided security for the notes. There is no record of noteholders being asked for the authority to appoint receivers.


As a result of the receivership, Mayfair 101 was unable to refinance its real estate portfolio, causing Dunk Island to be repossessed and sold, and default interest to erode equity in the mainland property trusts at a rate of 40.2% per annum. The noteholders have been without principal and interest payments for nearly four years.


Mr Mawhinney said:

“Removing these receivers will assist us to regain control of the remaining real estate assets. It will stop the erosion of value from insolvency practitioner fees and bring us a step closer to our goal of making our noteholders whole.


“This vote shows the steadfast support we have among our noteholders. I thank them for their support and confidence in getting this terrible situation sorted out.”


The real estate portfolio previously held by Mayfair 101 has increased in value by approximately $170 million or 74 per cent, since it was purchased in 2019. The liquidators of the IPO Wealth companies abandoned various allegations against Mr Mawhinney in a settlement  announced in March 2024 and relinquished 80 per cent of IPO Wealth assets previously worth $44 million back to Mayfair. None of the litigants against Mayfair have ever produced evidence of money being transferred to the British Virgin Islands despite the allegations by the liquidators and ASIC in the Federal Court and Supreme Court of Victoria.


All lenders were paid on time and in full prior to ASIC setting upon the group in 2020. 180 lenders who loaned monies to Mayfair prior to ASIC’s involvement were repaid on time, in full, were paid the agreed interest rate, and made money from their commercial relationship with Mayfair. There were no complaints to ASIC or AFCA from any Mayfair lenders when ASIC set upon the business in March 2020.


Mr Mawhinney has called for a Senate inquiry into ASIC’s discriminatory and disproportionate response to Mayfair 101 which has caused harm to 570 innocent Australian lenders who were happy with their commercial relationship with Mayfair 101 prior to ASIC’s involvement.


 [1] In September 2019 Mayfair 101 commissioned AEC to undertake an Economic Impact Assessment.  The report identified that $1.7 billion in Gross Regional Product would be created including 10,526 Full Time Jobs as a result of Mayfair 101’s investment in the region.


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Mark Abernethy: +61 414 310 924


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