Friday 4 November 2011

The real estate agent, his wife and a tale of cosmeceuticals

Jake Rowe and wife Elizabeth
after their examination Photo: SiN Images
McGRATH real estate agent Jake Rowe and his wife Elizabeth might have got a "great deal" when they paid $10,000 for the trademark of a business turning over $1 million a year but does the discount look as good now they've been dragged into a dispute between Bankwest and a bunch of skin care entrepreneurs?

According to his McGrath online profile, Rowe is no slouch in the realty game, having sold over $500 million worth of property during a 20 year career. He holds the price record for a house and land package in Manly and has his residence where his mouth is, living in sought after Bower Street.

Perhaps emboldened by his success in bricks and mortar, Jake and Elizabeth Rowe purchased the trademark to the Indio cosmeceuticals brand from a company called Industry Only, which was at the time in administration. And that appears to have landed them in the middle of a sticky piece of litigation where the phrase "Pheonix Company" is central to a Supreme Court judgement handed down this year. See the original judgement here

Nothing was said during a public examination on Thursday, November 2 to indicate the Rowes have done anything wrong. During the questioning there were several references to meetings either Elizabeth or Jake Rowe had with an accountant, Mr Hector Ekes and their business advisor, Richard Gardiner.

But Jake Rowe clearly wasn't thrilled about being hauled into court to answer the questions put to him by barrister Jack Hynes on behalf of Bankwest, which is the secured creditor in this slippery affair.

"I think it's a great deal," Rowe told Hynes when asked how the Rowes, who had already been repaid $5000 of their $10,000 investment, thought it was working out given they now had to run the cosmecuetical business, instead of simply receiving a royalty in return for licensing the trademark back to the vendor, which is what they originally intended.

"I don't think so at all," Hynes replied. "I think it's a complete sham".

Hynes then asked Rowe whether he'd read Justice Reg Barrett's judgement of May 24, 2011 as part of the due diligence he conducted before deciding to buy the trademark.

"My understanding of the judgement was that your client had no issue with us acquiring the trademark but I have since been continually harassed by your client," Rowe replied.
Barrister Jack Hynes
Photo: SiN Images

The examinations were ultimately stood over and orders made for the production of various documents.

Steve Parbery and Chris Hill from PPB Advisory are the receivers appointed by Bankwest over CPL Australasia, the entity ultimately at the heart of this dispute.

Many of the individuals involved with the CPL Australasia group are mates, or were mates, of Jake Rowe's.

Contact SiN

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