‘Night of madness’ developer’s latest move
A FORMER bankrupt developer once banned from managing corporations and found with a knife and ecstasy in a "night of madness" is dabbling in the heavily regulated nightclub game.
George Cheihk, whose private company bought the Ipswich CBD nightclub property, has also been the target of raids by corruption investigators examining Ipswich City Council and former mayor Paul Pisasale.
Mr Cheihk's company Alchemy (Qld) bought the property for $710,000 last March and the liquor licence is held by Switch Nightclub, owned by another businessman.
The nightclub opened last October, offering VIP booths and playing hip-hop and RNB until 3am. But the owner said the venture was unprofitable and for sale.
Liquor licences are issued if company executives pass "fit and proper person" guidelines.
The criteria includes having no major convictions in the past five years, not having a history of unsuitable behaviour and being responsible with "financial obligations".
Lamborghini-driving Mr Cheihk ran property outfit QLD Group in the 2000s, and his companies donated more than $600,000 to Liberal and Labor politics.
His 35th birthday in 2004 at his Brisbane riverside home featured band Mental As Anything and guests included Pisasale.
The outlandish lifestyle cooled by 2007 with Mr Cheihk bankrupted over a seven-year-old $200,000 debt. He was also banned from managing corporations for two years by the national regulator, partly for failing to pay taxes of businesses he helped manage.
His dealings from 2004, when a company of Mr Cheihk's bought a Pisasale family company's property for $325,000 in a deal Mr Cheihk described as fair value, have attracted the interest of the Crime and Corruption Commission. Investigators last December raided two Cheihk company-owned properties.
In 2009, he was fined $500 after pleading guilty to assault. In what his lawyer described as a "night of madness", the District Court heard Mr Cheihk had bought ecstasy and was found with a knife after wresting it off another customer.
Mr Cheihk's Alchemy (Qld) bought the nightclub venue as trustee for a trust, ultimately owned by another trust located at Mr Cheihk's Brisbane residence.
Switch Nightclub is run by well-reviewed restaurateur Andre Samra, who said the venture started after Mr Cheihk visited his restaurant. Mr Samra said he had spent his money on a fit-out as part of a three-month trial with no lease contract.
"I'm out," he said. "I wish I hadn't got into it. I f---king lost money."
The club was shut, Mr Samra said. He said Mr Cheihk had not managed the club, nor tried putting someone else forward to appear on the liquor licence.
"I'm not ready to be anyone's puppet," he said.
Mr Cheihk said: "You can ring all you like sweetheart but I still have no comment."