Creditor calls on mansion buyer to come forward

Colac’s Russell Paatsch says the previous owners of Balnagowan House owe him more than $70,000.

A Balnagowan House contractor has called on the troubled Colac homestead’s mystery buyer to come forward.

Colac Electrical Contractors’ Russell Paatsch, who worked for Balnagowan’s previous owners, said he was keen to find out who owned the mansion.

The previous owners of the 120-year-old mansion owe contractors more than $300,000 for work on a retirement village on Balnagowan’s grounds in the second half of 2009.

The debt includes $70,000 to Mr Paatsch for underground electrical work.

Mr Paatsch said he sought legal advice about how to recoup the money from the previous owners, the Adelaide-based Community Retirement Group.

“The guy I spoke to here in town went through all the documents and said you have to wait ‘til they resolve their issues and that could take years and you’ll most likely never get paid,” he said.

Three of the five Balnagowan contractors last week told The Colac Herald they had begun legal proceedings with the previous owners.

A letter dated February 26, 2010, from Community Retirement Group’s Michael Fuller told the contractors the group would endeavour to pay the debts.

Mr Fuller’s letter revealed four of Balnagowan’s nine shareholders wanted to sell the property and made an offer to buy out the other shareholders, who were committed to the development.

Mr Paatsch’s previous attempt to recoup payment was an invoice faxed to shareholder Carl Dorsch in July, following a phone call where Mr Dorsch offered “x cents in the dollar” to the contractors.

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