Coast businessman goes broke with $15m in debt

A BUSINESSMAN whose first involvement in Sunshine Coast property development was as a foreman on the original Surfair Hotel in the 1970s, has gone broke with debts totalling more than $15 million.

Maroochydore Central Holdings (MCH) director Terry Ell yesterday said he was under instruction from his legal advisers to make no comment.

The low-profile property developer's projects include Carnaby Street Maroochydore and more recently the $14.5 million The Corporate Centre in Norval Ct.

He was made a life member of the Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce in 2013 in recognition of his contribution to business growth over the past 21 years and had sat on the Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club Board of Governors.

In recent years he has been involved with Global Furnishing, a Kangaroo Wines exporting business to China and attempts to grow the importation of Chinese alternative medicines.

Leda Holdings, a company owned by Mr Ell's billionaire brother Bob Ell, has taken on a $15,397,833 debt associated with its partnership with MCH in Sunshine Coast property development.

However a number of other creditors including former mistress Helen Harries - with whom he is believed to have had a 20-year relationship - is owed $80,721, and Mary Glover, the wife of former Maroochy Shire tourism and economic development manager Les Glover, will be left with just 4.5 cents of each dollar they are owed.

Ms Harries received a judgment against Mr Ell in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court last year but was not paid.

The Glovers said they had invested $250,000 in 2003 with one of Mr Ell's companies, Maroochydore Central Investments, in a Palmwoods pineapple farm.

They were later to discover that the property was not purchased until 2005.

In a statement to police and in a letter to Mr Ell's brother Bob they allege that it was not until 2012 that they discovered the Palmwoods property had been bought not by Maroochydore Central Investments but by Maroochydore Central Holdings.

Central Investments by that stage had been wound up.