Acrimony between MySupercentre and disgruntled former licensees reached a new low point over the weekend with allegations of looting at the company's headquarters.
Controversial business identity Ross Whitehead, sent a communiquÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â© to a core group of ex-MySupercentre franchise holders Sunday accusing other former licensees of stealing office and warehouse equipment from the business's head office in Hemmant, Queensland.
Whitehead claimed he had contacted police after he arrived at the business early Saturday morning to start "containerising" the company's assets and found a number of ex-licensees in the process of "looting" the company.
Among the booty that Whitehead alleges was taken from the company, he listed computer equipment, power tools, digital photography gear, a deep freezer and a limited edition print of the Brisbane Lions which, he claimed, was a gift from his daughters.
"It's about time everyone took a reality check here. There are a lot of people acting on emotion rather than thinking clearly. I have been accused of ripping off millions, being compared to Osama Bin Laden, hated by all and everybody, and I have to say the display by a number of you during the last 48 hours disgusts me," wrote Whitehead Sunday.
MySupercentre was placed into liquidation September 5 after its creditors, left out of pocket to the tune of $3.1 million, voted against a deed of company arrangement allowing its owner E-Biz Solutions Pty Ltd to trade out of debt.
Under the proposed deed, the company's assets and territorial franchise leases were to be transferred under a new company MyGrocer Pty Ltd which would pay the creditors $1.6 million over 11 months. However, a group of former licensees gave information to authorities in August that they claimed was evidence that the business was a well-orchestrated scam.
The information prompted Queensland Fair Trading Minister Margaret Keech to warn small businesses to be wary of dealing with Whitehead.
However, that doesn't seem to have deterred the bankrupt former founder of Shopfast. In his e-mail Sunday he makes clear his intention to continue operating the MyGrocer business despite the deed of company arrangement's rejection.
"During the last few weeks I have been talking to investors and other partners to assist in going forward, but that is very hard when I suggest we have 15 licensees and vans, technology, and systems ready to go ... then when they find out that the licensees are just tearing the business apart they sit on the fence."
Continuing his impassioned plea, Whitehead, a self-described "avid sailor and ocean racer" used a yachting analogy to assure the licensees that the MyGrocer venture wasn't under water yet. Claiming to be recounting words of wisdom imparted to him by a famous racing yachtsman, he wrote:
-Roscoe, never jump DOWN into a life raft, only CLIMB up".
ZDNet Australia notes that Ross Whitehead's Steinman racing yacht was reported to have been repossessed in 2002 after his online grocery distribution E-Gistics went down the gurgler in 2001.