Viryan Collins-Rubie and Eddy Groves.
Viryan Collins-Rubie and Eddy Groves.

Eddy Groves pops up again

He's kept a very low profile since presiding over one of Australia's worst corporate collapses during the GFC.

But, 10 years after his ABC Learning Centres childcare empire crashed in a $2 billion heap, Eddy Groves has popped up again on the Gold Coast, albeit briefly.

Groves and his missus, Viryan Collins-Rubie, put in an appearance at the launch of a golf tournament this week aimed at raising money for her newly-formed charity to support children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Spearheaded by golfing legend Wayne Grady, the Gold Coast Celebrity Pro-Am golf tournament will be the richest such event when it plays out over two days in early April. Prize money of $150,000 is up for grabs at the contest, set to take place at Lakelands Golf Club.

Grady said the sole aim was to raise more than $200,000 for something called Ashton's Place, a foundation set up to provide resources and early intervention for families struggling to cope with the disability.

Records show Ashton's Place was registered last month as a non-profit entity, with Collins-Rubie serving as one of the three directors. It was named after her four-year-old son, who was diagnosed with autism two years ago.

Among those gathered at Rivea restaurant at Broadbeach to hear her emotional talk were Mayor Tom Tate, ex-rugby player Mat Rogers, former ironwoman Hayley Bateup and golf pro Adam Blyth.

City Beat spies tell us Groves happily mingled and chatted with guests, including Grady, who he has known for 20 years.

Asked what he was up to these days, the 52-year-old former-milkman didn't give away much. "Most of my business interests are in Canada….I just try to keep a low profile,'' he said.

Groves, who once drove a Ferrari and owned the Brisbane Bullets basketball team, went bust owing nearly $23 million in 2013 but emerged from personal bankruptcy three years later.

ASIC spent more than eight years and $11 million investigating the ABC disaster with virtually nothing to show for it. Groves was never charged with alleged wrongdoing despite being named adversely by a judge in sentencing remarks for another ABC executive.

PULLING THE PLUG

AS expected, creditors of the Brisbane company which formerly operated Lefty's Old Time Music Hall pulled the plug yesterday and tipped it into liquidation.

Now-defunct Majid Pty Ltd, operated by hospitality identity Jamie Webb, sold the still-trading Caxton Street venue to a former employee before the company came unstuck in late October.

A report to Majid creditors showed that nearly $761,000 was owing to more than 70 unsecured parties, mostly suppliers. They will claw back nothing from the wreckage.

Not surprisingly, the biggest single creditor was the tax man, who was chasing $206,537.

But plenty of small operators have also been burned in the crash, including lots of craft beer makers.

Among them are Black Hops, Bridge Road, Fonzie Abbott, Green Beacon, Moon Dog, Mountain Goat and Your Mates.

Webb, who had a mixed record of success running bars and restaurants since 2010, didn't return City Beat's call seeking comment.

But in an email he likened the effect of ID scanning laws introduced in July last year to someone having to absorb "a pay cut of 25 per cent for no reason that made sense''.

"Unfortunately we really underestimated the detrimental effect the ID scanners had on business in Brisbane….It took us a year and a half to adapt the business to these new laws, which meant cutting jobs, fewer musicians playing and reducing our already limited trading hours,'' Webb said. "I feel I have given Brisbane much in the hospitality world over the past nine years and did a lot to bring Brisbane out of the dark ages culturally.''