Friday, 27 February 2015

EXCLUSIVE: Dolores Lavin declares bankruptcy

The Wylde Street Potts Point complex housing
Dolores Lavin's cherished home.
FOLLOWING her failure to win a reprieve in the High Court, artistic agent Dolores Lavin has declared bankruptcy in a move unlikely to satisfy ex-bestie Paola Toppi, who has a court judgment and bankruptcy notice ordering that Lavin pay Toppi and her husband Neil Cunningham more than $870,000.

Documents obtained by SiN show Lavin was registered as a bankrupt on the national personal insolvency index on February 19, 2015, a week after the High Court shut the last door on her fight to avoid recovery proceedings Toppi of Machiavelli Ristorante fame commenced in 2011.

Worrells' Aaron Lucan has consented to act as trustee of Lavin's bankrupt estate but given the dealings that have taken place regarding the proprietorship of Lavin's ritzy Wylde Street apartment in Potts Point, it promises to be anything but boring.

On September 13, 2013 a Deed of Change of Trustee was registered. Listed on the deed of change are Lavin, accountant Constantine Savell, Billy Buckle Pty Ltd and The Wylde Family Trust. Effectively the deed empowers Savell as appointor of the trust to appoint Billy Buckle Pty Ltd, replacing Lavin as trustee of the The Wylde Family Trust.

On October 28, 2013 Lavin received notice from the Sherrif's Office advising it would send officers to seize her property and sell it, although it added that such action would not be necessary if she paid $900,183.70c.

December 30, 2013 saw a change in the mortgage registered over the Wylde Street apartment, listing Billy Buckle as mortgagor, replacing Lavin. Westpac is mortgagee, although curiously, the current mortgage is stamped "unregistered".

Late 2013 was when Toppi was ratcheting up the pressure on Lavin, sending copies of the bankruptcy notice to Lavin's staff and even putting one under the windscreen wiper of Lavin's car as she was parking it across the road from the Bourbon on Darlinghurst Road in Kings Cross.

On December 23, 2013 Toppi served a writ for the levy of property advising Lavin that she was entitled to, and intended to sell Lavin's properties, which include the Wylde Street apartment and another on Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst.

Then on June 26, 2014 an application to record a new registered proprietor of the Wylde Street apartment shows that Lavin, who was registered proprietor, appointed Billy Buckle Pty Ltd as the new title holder.

This occurred around the time Lavin won leave to apply to the High Court to attempt to challenge the judgement debt Toppi has won against her. Lavin purchased the apartment for $3.7 million in 2008. In September last year, another apartment in the same block sold for $4.3 million.

Lavin's decision to declare bankruptcy follows a long period of litigation which erupted around 2009 when the former friends - Lavin used to call Toppi 'dollface' and "bwana' and sign off her emails as 'El Presidente' - fell out over their partnership in Luxe Studios. You can read the background at: Bankruptcy notice reactivated as High Court rejects Dolores Lavin's challenge

Lucan will now have to sift through the many changes relating to control of the Wylde Street property and it's likely that Toppi - who must've dropped a bundle on legal fees to get this far - won't be easing up. 

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