Former NRL star and rich lister Jarrod McCracken considers appealing his bankruptcy

Former NRL star and rich lister Jarrod McCracken considers appealing his bankruptcy
Former NRL star and rich lister Jarrod McCracken considers appealing his bankruptcy

Former rugby league star and once high-flying Queensland property developer Jarrod McCracken, who appeared on the BRW Young Rich List in 2009 worth an estimated $34 million, is considering appealing a federal magistrate decision to place him in bankruptcy.

McCracken was officially declared bankrupt on September 17, according to the Insolvency and Trustee Services of Australia, the government department that oversees bankruptcies.

“As far as I am concerned I can’t see how anyone could go bankrupt with an unquantifiable order against them,” McCracken told The Australian Financial Review.

McCracken has until Friday next week to make his appeal.

The bankruptcy ruling followed just three days after a Federal Magistrates Court ruled he was liable for a $2 million debt to a Townsville construction company, Phoenix Constructions Pty Ltd, following a six-year legal battle.

In June 2011 the Brisbane Supreme Court awarded damages in favour of Phoenix Constructions in the amount of $1.9 million.

The Townsville Bulletin reported on September 15 that McCracken’s assets had been seized to pay costs in the long-running case over the construction of the Watermark complex on the Townsville waterfront.

McCracken told the paper the judgment would be suspended as soon as an appeal was lodged.

"I'm seeking advice next week," he said.

His financial problems reportedly stemmed from a $6.25 million “handshake” loan made to fellow property developer Harry Kakavas, who says he lost the money gambling in Las Vegas and on bets for the AFL and NRL grand finals.

McCracken told a court hearing that he had borrowed the money from "some people in Sydney who are very heavy" and on-loaned it to Kakavas, the Daily Telegraph reported.

McCracken, who hails from New Zealand and is the son of  former New Zealand rugby league international Ken McCracken, played for the Canterbury Bulldogs, the Parramatta Eels and Wests Tigers before a spear tackle ended his career 12 years ago.

He turned his attention property development in 2001, starting off on the Gold Coast before undertaking a number of redevelopment projects in the Townsville CBD.

He first made the BRW Young Rich List in 2005 with a personal fortune of $15 million. He was aged 35 at the time and made his last appearance in 2009.

BRW reported that McCracken had made a string of “canny property purchases” including the local shopping centre, a hotel and the $30 million Waterside Apartments.

In 2009, when BRW estimated his fortune at $42 million the magazine reported that it had been a rough year for McCracken, after he pleaded guilty to “assaulting an ex-business partner on the Gold Coast on his wedding day after a multimillion-dollar deal went sour”.

McCracken and his wife also faced courts after they directed contractors to clear 13 hectares of waterfront rainforest for a house and horse paddock at their large property holding on the Whitsundays just north of Airlie Beach.

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger

Larry Schlesinger was a property writer at Property Observer

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