‘Ethical’ coffee trader owes workers, ATO
AN INNER-CITY coffee company that prides itself on ethical practices has been put in liquidation owing 30 workers and the tax office more than $200,000.
West End's Blackstar Coffee Pty Ltd was put in liquidation on September 30.
The boutique coffee company, which describes itself as "Brisbane's own indie coffee", opened in 2007 and prided itself on "redefining fair trade".
A liquidator's report revealed the company owed 30 workers about $11,504 in superannuation. Money owed to the employees, considered priority creditors, ranges from $47.08 to $1099.38.
Blackstar Coffee is also in debt to the Australian Tax Office for $197,880.
Director Martin Richards, who also owns a separate company called Blackstar Coffee Roasters, could not be reached.
Blackstar Coffee Roasters is now listed as operator of the cafe in Thomas St at West End.
Its beans are used at a handful of cafes across Brisbane.
According to its Facebook page, the company prides itself on supporting coffee co-ops and humanitarian causes across the world. Its coffee grinds are also collected and used on gardening projects in Brisbane.
Liquidator Nikhil Khatri, of Worrells Solvency and Forensic Accountants, said his investigations would probe any link between Mr Richards' companies.
"We have been advised that Blackstar Coffee Pty Ltd has not traded any business since 30 June 2018 and owned minimal assets," he said.
"We will be reviewing the company's trading history during the liquidation."
According to Mr Khatri's report, a 2016 Mitsubishi Triton and 2012 Skoda Fabia, valued at $28,100 and $7500, are Blackstar Coffee's main assets.