Leitch slams rich list tag
FORMER Killarney Abattoir operator Dudley Leitch has said his inclusion on Queensland’s Top 100 rich list – with an estimated personal worth of $81million – is inaccurate and that he is “struggling on”.
The man behind the failed Leitch Pastoral Group, which earlier this year closed the Killarney Abattoir along with its Pittsworth counterpart, yesterday dismissed suggestions he was well in the black despite owing creditors more than $7m.
Mr Leitch came in at number 94 on the Sunday Mail’s rich list published on Sunday, down 14 places and $28m from last year’s list.
More than 200 people lost their jobs when Leitch Pastoral Group collapsed in February, although the Pittsworth meatworks re-opened yesterday under new owners the CHM Alliance.
While local creditors of the failed Leitch companies take on extra debt to stay afloat, Mr Leitch continues to run his farming operations on local properties.
He has previously stated he concentrates on sheep breeding and also vowed to reopen his two beef feedlots.
Rumours abound about strong interest in Killarney Abattoir but marketing agents Elders Real Estate remain tight-lipped.
Mr Leitch told the Daily News he had not seen the rich list as he did not have “spare time to read papers”.
But he said “net personal financial wealth” was “difficult, if not impossible, for commentators to assess”.
“The net worth figure which has been reported is very wrong,” Mr Leitch said.
“My family and I are heavily burdened by debt but we are struggling on, with our loyal farm employees.”
Mr Leitch repeated earlier assertions that the former senior management team beneath him in Leitch Pastoral Group had not kept him adequately informed about the state of the businesses.
Local reaction to the rich list inclusion involved disbelief and anger, with one creditor – who is owed more than $100,000 – saying it was “just bloody unreal”.
“I’ve increased my overdraft to pay bills,” fumed the business operator, who declined to be identified.
“It’s incredible that someone in his position can continue on while so many others are hurting.”
Another said it was a shame some business people were able to set up structures to protect themselves “and not the little man”.
“Why on earth isn’t there some way around being able to access his $81 million to pay out the little people he has sent to the cleaners?” they wondered.
Court action instigated by creditors the Coomrith Cattle Company of Meandarra, the Perrett Cattle Company of Injune at the Amber Downs Feedlot at Wandoan continues.