Family member looked to ‘take every cent’ out of J.M. Kelly


THE sister of J.M. Kelly Group director John Murphy made a point of "taking every cent" she could out of the company for her expenses in the months before its $50 million collapse in October year, a court has heard.

Barrister Craig Wilkins, acting for liquidator Derrick Vickers of PwC, this week questioned Helen Rewald, the sister of Mr Murphy, about payments in August of leave entitlements, superannuation and other expenses for herself, husband and son from J.M. Kelly Management, the main financial arm of the group.M

Ms Rewald is the daughter of J.M. Kelly Group founder Geoffrey Murphy and was a contract administrator for the group at the time of the liquidation. She is married to Brett Rewald, a manager of J.M. Kelly's Pink Lily Sands business.

Geoff Murphy of J.M Kelly leaves Brisbane Federal court earlier this month. (AAP image, John Gass
Geoff Murphy of J.M Kelly leaves Brisbane Federal court earlier this month. (AAP image, John Gass

Mr Wilkins told the Federal Court that it was no coincidence that the reimbursement occurred just before the collapse alleging Ms Rewald knew the company was going into liquidation.

"Isn't it right that from the end of August last year your desire was to get every cent you could out of JMK Management for your leave entitlements and your husband's and son's," Mr Wilkins said.

Ms Rewald denied she knew the company was about to go into liquidation. She said the cashed out leave entitlements were planned to be used to buy a car.

The court heard that the extra leave entitlements paid out to Ms Rewald and her family members totalled more than $35,000 with the amount rising to almost $70,000 when reimbursement of other expenses were taken into account.

Ms Rewald said the reimbursements were made to a company called RMR Transport, of which her husband was a director.

The court heard Ms Rewald and her husband on occasions paid for company expenses with their own credit cards and later sought reimbursement from the company.

"(We would get) reimbursed, whether it was out of petty cash or leave the docket for the girls to bank," she said. The court also heard that several contributions to the family superannuation fund were made after August 2018. Ms Rewald said she had no idea about the payments.

The hearing continues.