Fly after wind-up help

FREMANTLE council has knocked back a request to cover the cost of winding up the Fly by Night Musicians Club.

The club had written to the council asking it to pay liquidation costs and help recoup directors’ debts, but following an informal meeting of councillors, mayor Brad Pettitt said there wasn’t the appetite to put more ratepayers’ funds towards the club.

Dr Pettitt said the council was considering other ways of helping the club, including hosting a fund-raising concert.

“We sympathise with all the hard work the volunteers at the Fly have put in over the years and are in discussions with them about different ways we can help,” he told the Herald.

In a letter to Fly president Steve Wells, Dr Pettitt said council had already waived more than $89,000 in outstanding rent and outgoings, and $20,000 in rates.

While Mr Wells acknowledged the club’s demise had been largely down to management issues, he said directors believed “that the ongoing uncertainty over the Fly’s tenancy at Victoria Hall and the seeming withdrawal of the perceived support from the council in early 2018 have also contributed.”

“The Fly has been advised that the costs associated with the wind-up of Kulcha were funded by the department of culture and the arts,” Mr Wells said.

David Spencer from Business and Insolvency Solutions has been appointed liquidator and the club’s book-keeper has agreed to help out at a “reduced rate”.

“While the offers from the liquidator and accountant represent extremely good value for the professional services to be provided, the costs will need to be borne by the directors in the absence of any external funding,” Mr Wells told the Herald.

“This means that board members will once again be out of pocket, on top of the loans previously made, which will almost certainly be written off during the wind-up.”

Mr Wells notes there are no official government schemes to assist not-for-profits like the Fly with liquidation admin costs, so they must be covered by directors or third parties.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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