Illawarra developer StromCorp sued over debts

An Illawarra property developer has been accused of failing to pay several contractors who worked on his housing projects in Bellambi and Wollongong.

Several irate contractors contacted the Mercury, revealing they had been left in the lurch to the tune of about $150,000.

Two contractors have since launched civil action against the developer, StromCorp, headed by Michael Strom.

On Wednesday, two matters involving contractors suing Lifestyle Property Development Pty Ltd, also known as StromCorp, were heard in a Sydney court.

Neither plaintiffs in either case, Illawarra-based SRJ Constructions and SPK Plumbing and Civil, located in Corrimal, nor the defendant, appeared.

The court registrar set both matters down for a directions hearing on May 13.

He also reserved making an order for costs.

The court heard Lifestyle Property Development had filed a cross-claim on February 27 and had since been ordered to provide details of its claim.

The legal proceedings involve work on two projects - a multi-level residential complex in Victoria Street in Wollongong, and a group of townhouses in Brompton Road, Bellambi.

StromCorp's website lists the value of the Wollongong development as $5.9 million, and the Bellambi project as $5.8 million.

The Mercury has been told a group of financial backers has supplied StromCorp's director Michael Strom with the money for the projects.

In 2013, the Mercury reported Mr Strom saying he had secured finance for the projects through First in Finance director Bronko Kozel's role as an associate director with Development Finance Partners.

At the time, the Bellambi project was touted as affordable townhouses, targeted at first home buyers.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union told the Mercury it was asked to "keep an eye" on the projects to ensure contractors did not start work on the sites while others were waiting to be paid.

NSW branch official Mick Lane described the projects as a "mess".

"From my perspective, it's a prime example of a young bloke who has taken on too much with too little by way of experience and capital behind him," he said.

"But it's a mess and it's going to remain so until someone coughs up and the only one who can do that are the financiers.

"Perhaps it's only a matter of a week away, perhaps it's 12 months," Mr Lane said.

Contractor Rob Schramm, of SRJ Constructions, claimed he had been forced to abandon the Bellambi job in November.

"We couldn't stay any longer because if we stayed any longer we were going to go broke," he said.

Mr Schramm claimed he was owed close to $100,000.

Fellow contractor Shaun Kelly, a concreter, said he was owed close to $20,000 for work on the Bellambi project.

"We were meant to be finished in September," he said.

The Mercury left multiple messages on Mr Strom's phone and with his legal representative.

Both failed to respond before the paper's deadline.

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