Claims trendy beauty bar owes $231K after COVID shut down
A Queensland woman is being chased by her former landlord for more than $200,000 in unpaid rent after one of her trendy salon-bars in a city shopping centre went bust due to COVID-19.
The landlord of The Barracks Shopping Centre on Petrie has slapped salon and bar owner Brooke Christine Jesberg, 38, a mum from Clayfield, with a claim for $231,000 in unpaid rent and other costs in the District Court.
Ms Jesberg ran the salon which had a lavish 1940s New York style fitout and included a fully stocked gin and champagne bar as well as the usual facials, spray tans, brow shaping, waxing and threading, manicures and pedicures.
The claim alleges Ms Jesberg owes the money because she agreed to indemnify her landlord against any losses when her company Brooklyn Beauty Bar - West Pty Ltd (BBBW) signed an eight-year lease over shops 17 and 18, starting in October 2016.
Landlord Fortius Barracks Pty Ltd (Fortius) alleges that the lease was terminated on June 30, 2020, and at that time BBBW owed $151,577 in unpaid rent, promotional fees and other charges.
Fortius also alleges Ms Jesberg, also known under her married name of Brooke Kimber, is liable to pay a further $79,610 in rent from July to August 31, because Fortius has not found a new tenant.
No defence has been filed to the claim and no court date has been set for hearing.
Speaking outside of court Ms Jesberg said she was unaware the claim had been filed against her and she was unable to talk until she spoke to her lawyer.
Speaking outside of court Ms Jesberg's husband Joel Kimber told The Courier Mail that The Barracks salon closed its doors on March 25 due to COVID and was unable to reopen.
The claim states that liquidator Stephen Dixon from corporate undertakers Hamilton Murphy was appointed liquidator of BBBW on May 20.
Mr Dixon noted in his report to creditors that Ms Jesberg blamed the company's collapse on COVID-19 hitting revenues, he agreed but also said the business was crippled by high staff wages.
The other salon of the same name, Brooklyn Beauty Bar on James St in Fortitude Valley is still trading.
It closed for COVID-19 on March 25 but reopened after the shutdown in the middle of May.
Ms Jesberg stood down as a director of Brooklyn Beauty Bar Pty Ltd, the trading name of the James St salon, on March 23 this year, and she was replaced as a director by Mr Kimber.
Mr Dixon told creditors in his August 19 report that The Barracks salon, BBBW, may have been trading whilst insolvent from December last year, and the extent of the insolvent trading may be $161,000.
Mr Dixon wrote that it is possible he could take action for insolvent trading to recover funds from Ms Jesberg but he was doubtful of recovering much money because "there is no evidence that she owns any personal assets".
Mr Dixon also flagged possible action for unfair preference payments.
BBBW has $334,380 in unsecured creditors including about $196,000 owing to the Australian Taxation Office, the rental debt to Fortius and $13,000 to the Queensland office of state revenue.
Originally published as Claims trendy beauty bar owes $231K after COVID shut down