MaxCap among largest creditors of developer Toplace as claims hit $633m

MaxCap among largest creditors of developer Toplace as claims hit $633m

East Square Mascot. Photo: Toplace.

Around one in every four dollars claimed by creditors against Toplace has been admitted by administrators after proof of debt claims reached more than $633 million for the Sydney developer which, in its demise, leaves at least 20 buildings and 20,000 homeowners in limbo.

The company, founded by Jean Nassif who is currently on the run and wanted by NSW Police over alleged fraud-related offences, held a creditors' meeting last month after it was placed into voluntary administration.

DVT Group partner Suelen McCallum, who alongside her colleague Antony Resnick is an administrator of Toplace, believes this "may well be among one of the largest property administrations in Australia".

A large portion of the proof of debt claims were rejected on various grounds, including $222.7 million claimed by Pennant Investments "because it is a related entity and its claim has not been properly substantiated". An unsecured $159 million claim from Navy Aspiration Opportunity V Limited was also turned down by the administrators.

The administrators at DVT Group were willing to admit claims of $147 million against Toplace, with the largest being real estate debt and equity company MaxCap - a strategic investment partner of Apollo Global Management - which claims $35.3 million from the developer for a loan facility agreement from April 2022 it reached with Toplace, Box Hill Projects, Addison TST, and Jean Nassif as an individual guarantor.

Other larger creditors include Krikis Tayler Architects which is owed $20.5 million, Skyrise Holdings which is owed $11.3 million, and strata plans in Parramatta and Castle Hill that are owed $13.4 million and $14 million respectively. 

Sub-contractors, service providers, engineering companies and numerous individuals also had their claims admitted by the administrators, which are handling the finances, operations and debts of 65 different entities connected to Toplace.

McCallum and Renick noted that it usually takes six weeks for an administration to be completed, but due to the "complexity of this matter and the material amount of assets and liabilities" it was unlikely a result would be achieved in that timeframe.

They advised that there were 30 team members working on the administration, while at the time the number of employees in the Toplace group had been reduced from 40 to 17 to assist in running the company's day-to-day operations.

A copy of the creditors' report also shows a representative of a strata plan in Canterbury in Southwest Sydney, which owns about 21 buildings and is one of the largest admitted creditors with $16.9 million owed, had sought to replace the administrators with Brian Silvia and Geoffrey Granger of Ferrier Silvia.

However, the proposal failed to get enough votes, with 31.9 per cent of votes in terms of value owed in favour of the proposal.

The creditors' report reveals how the developer took the first steps towards administration, with three representatives meeting with now-administrator Resnick and his colleague Riad Tayeh at the offices of ERA Legal to discuss Toplace's affairs on 23 June. 

Four days later, another meeting took place with representatives of PAG, a secured creditor of an associated entity of Toplace.

Around two weeks after the initial meeting, documents pertaining to the administration were emailed to Jean Nassif, who is rumoured to be outside the country, on 7 July. The founder signed and returned the documentation on the same day. 

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