The Decision That Cost Salim Mehajer $100 Million
It's claimed that controversial former Auburn Deputy Mayor Salim Mehajer is almost $100 million dollars in debt.
ASIC documents show that Mehajer's 'Skypoint' high-rise development in Lidcombe, turned into a disaster when he pushed back the sale of the apartments and then defaulted on his loan repayments.
The Daily Telegraph says Mehajer expected the investment to earn him tens of millions of dollars, but when he delayed the unit sales - and, then, his $73.5 million loan repayments - he submitted another development application to add a further four storeys to the original design of five.
Cumberland Council knocked him back and when Mehajer contested that decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court he was rejected again.
At the same time, Mehajer's companies defaulted on the loan from Hong Kong-based hedge fund SC Lowy, as interest and other penalty payments saw the total debt swell to $82 million.
An insider linked to Mehajer claims, 'It was always (assumed that) as soon as John St is sold, he'll be sweet,'
'It was a stupid, stupid move (to default on the debt).'
Mehajer still wants to try and make back some of his losses, with plans to borrow as much as a further $82 million from overseas lenders during a bankruptcy appeal hearing held in April.
Meanwhile, the Office of Local Government figures have revealed that the now dissolved Auburn Council, which included Mehajer - received 397 official complaints in the year leading up to its dissolution: the highest number of any NSW council since at least 2008.
Most of the complaints were for misconduct, maladministration or council governance, while many were aimed directly at Mehajer's infamous wedding in August 2015 that saw him close down an entire street without authorisation.
Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said, 'It is to their discredit Auburn Council and Salim Mehajer hold the unenviable record of being a part of the most complained-about NSW council in recent memory,'
'The NSW Government reforms — including a comprehensive Model Code of Conduct for councillors which is being finalised — will target dodgy behaviour and councillors who abuse their public office for personal or financial gain.'