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Restaurant owner owes more than $300,000 to landlords and suppliers

A landlord and suppliers are taking legal action against a company behind a trio of three failed Perth restaurants.

Five summons issued against Element WA, the company behind The Trustee, Beaufort Local and Enrique’s School for to Bullfighting.

The plaintiffs are now pursuing $300,000.

These include one summons for $221,322.07 issued by Benjamin and Co which owns the buildings that house Beaufort Street Local and Enrique’s School in Highgate.

Element WA was placed into voluntary administration last week.

The company’s co-director Scott Taylor disputes the amounts in summons documents.

 “That number doesn’t make any sense to me,” Taylor told Perth Now.

Mr Taylor refused to indicate how much his company owes the bank, the Australian Taxation Office or The Trustee landlord Brookfield Place. He described Brookfield as “arrogant” and “truculent”.

“Brookfield I don’t give a f*** about,” Taylor told Perth Now. “The bank I don’t care about. But the local suppliers, if it’s true, that we owe that, everybody will get taken care of.”

Still, the local suppliers aren’t getting much either.

Taylor also disputes the $3747.41 contained in the summons from Red Letter Wines owner Grayson Durham.

“I went in there and tried to get some of the wine back and they wouldn’t give it to me,” Mr Durham told Perth Now. “Then I went back again and (the staff) said, ‘It’s not here. We’ve sold it anyway’.”

He said Taylor had called him and told him he would be paid within a week. So far, he has not seen any money.

Taylor told Perth Now he still intends to pay all his creditors and that he had put the business in administration to protect creditors and staff.

He said the problem was caused by high start-up costs and unreasonable rents.

“For two-and-a-half years, I’ve been jumping up and down, writing it in 100-foot letters in the sky, doing interpretive dance, using f------ crayons and butcher’s paper to try and get my point across to the bank and the landlords, that if they don’t change and understand that the economic conditions have changed and the leases that we signed at the top of the market are no longer appropriate,” Taylor told Perth Now.

Still, he is now planning to open his new venture, The Butcher’s Arms, in the former Chop House site at 200 St Georges Terrace.

“The reason for opening this new place is not so I can just wipe my hand of the old place and shrug my shoulders and go, ‘Oh well’,” he told Perth Now.

“I can’t walk around in this town owing people money. I just can’t do it. I can’t make it appear magically but what I can do is do good business and continue to put business through those creditors that have supported us.”

by Leon Gettler, November 13th 2017