High-flying lives as Barbera empire besieged
SOWING watermelons and beans plus long hours in the packing shed have apparently helped a racing car driving son and an Instafamous daughter to lead Kardashian-like lifestyles while their father fends off four liquidators.
Supercar driver Mason Barbera, 21, and model, fitness fanatic and dressage rider Courtney Barbera, 24, are the children of Bundaberg's farming family patriarch Giatano (Guy) Barbera.
Of the 14 companies Guy is a director, Barbera Fresh is in liquidation with alleged debts totalling more than $5.7 million, IPG (Global) owes more than a $1 million, Barbera Properties has debts of more than $1.45 million and Barbera Transport owes more than $800,000.
Earlier this month, Guy replaced Mason as sole director of Barbera Family Farms (now known as A.C. N 605 684 295) amid a $1.1 million lawsuit and a wind-up application.
Courtney was the sole shareholder, and the former director (Feb 2017 - July 2018), of Barbera Farms when it was wound up last week.
Super fit Courtney has more than 42,000 Instagram followers and among all her success she sells a six-week online 'booty' training program for $17 to build your "peach".
Her tens of thousands of Instagram followers were treated to posts showing her having a blast competing in a beauty pageant, running a marathon and travelling and skiing across Europe during our summer.
She was the poster girl for the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Spectacular in Verona, Italy, in December where she placed runner-up in the bikini section.
The competition came after she visited Greece, taking part in the Athens marathon in November, and Germany but before spending Christmas, skiing with the well-heeled in the Swiss Alps.
She posted a photo of herself surveying the scenery from the balcony at the Hotel Le Grand Chalet, Gstaad, in the Swiss Alps with snow-capped mountains as the backdrop.
A six-night stay at the chalet costs about $2000.
One video on Courtney's Instagram account shows her parading through the infinity pool out to the balcony of the Dana Villa and Infinity Suites, Santorini, Greece, last November.
A one-night stay at the suites during peak season can set you back about a $1000 per night.
Courtney posted further photo of her of trees along a boulevard in Geneva in February with the hash tag #milanfashion.
Unlike Courtney, Mason does not so much travel far but fast.
A one-time go-kart fanatic, Mason is now an emerging Supercar driver.
In between screeching tyres and changing gears he is the director of at least 10 companies including the sole director of M & R Farms which operates the family's small crops business.
He is also the director of M Barbera Properties which owns 22ha of farm land.
Their father explained Mason's success and purchases on hard work and running a farm adjacent to the main operation.
"That's a little fart arse farm across the road which he bought from his watermelons and he owes the bank some money. He's allowed to do that," his father Guy told The Courier-Mail.
"He has mortgage, put a deposit down which was his own money from growing watermelons."
Guy said his son "doesn't fund" his motor racing career.
Mason's other directorships include Moo Moo Properties that bought a six-bedroom house with three bathrooms and six lockup garages on 4566sq m for $745,000 in January 2018.
The house was once previously part-owned by his father and other members of the family before being sold in 2008 for $600,000.
Besides Mason's catalogue of companies, Courtney is the director of four herself.
Besides previously being a director of Barbera Farms she was also a former director of M & R Farms (Jan 2017 - July 2017).
Last week Barbera Farms, under the directorship of Matt Maley from New South Wales, was wound up with debts of more than a million dollars.
Guy told The Courier-Mail that his children were hard workers, had nothing to do with, nor were associated, with the liquidations.
He said Mason's success was from selling watermelons and beans while his daughter has worked on the farm since her school days.
"Mason had his own business growing watermelons and beans and doing quite well on his own," Guy said.
"Talk to people who know Mason. He is a very talented kid. He has worked extremely hard. Mason has been very fortunate and he has had some success and you can make a lot of money in this game and lose it very quickly as well unfortunately.
"Courtney has been working on the packing bench … she gets her hands dirty, she's working late."
Guy said he took over directorship of Barbera Family Farms, amid a $1.1 million lawsuit, because Mason was an innocent party when he signed to be a guarantor.
Barbera Farms, which was wound up last week, is continuing with a wind-up application against Barbera Family Farms (now known as A.C. N 605 684 295) which Guy took over from Mason on April 2.
"It had nothing to do with Mason. I'm not taking the fall for him. It's not his debt," Guy said.
"He was trying to help the family out. He does not owe that money."
While Guy has his own battles, Mason and Courtney are not the subjects of any investigation or directors of any company in liquidation.